City of Kinston announces plans for distillery to come to Atlantic Avenue

KINSTON, N.C (WNCT) – A planned vodka distillery could help make Kinston one of the hottest destinations in the region.

The city announced plans earlier Friday for the distillery to come to Atlantic Avenue, right across from Rhem Street. That’s only about a 10-minute walk to Mother Earth Brewing and Chef and the Farmer.

If you live in Kinton, you probably drove past the old power plant. It’s somewhat of an eye sore with dozens of broken windows. Community members said they are glad to see the old building put to use instead of being torn down.

“It’s definitely going to bring a lot more nightlife into the town,” said R.J. Smith, of Mother Earth Brewing Company.

Many community members said any business heading into Kinston is good news.

“It’s going to be a destination and it’s bringing more and more things to Kinston to really make it a premiere destination, not just to come live, but to visit as well,” said Jacques Passailaigue, a community member.

Issac Hunter Distillery, based in Raleigh, may expand to the old power plant on Atlantic Avenue. From broken windows to holes in the floors, it needs a ton of work.

“It’s been vacant since the late-1970’s. To have a business, any business looking to relocate here at the edge of our arts and cultural district and on our river walk is really key,” added City Manager Tony Sears.

The goal is for people to use the riverwalk, a walkway connecting downtown with other parts of the city. Sears hopes people will eat at downtown restaurants, like Chef and the Farmer. Then, he hopes they would walk to the distillery, creating a fun nightlife.

“This gives you an anchor that off the downtown, which has a lot of development. And it gives you a bookend and allows for infield development, which is what every city wants,” said Sears.

The company released a statement saying it’s ready to bring out the character of the old building and provide a new social gathering destination.

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