Feel like raising some spirits this Halloween? Head to Seven Fields on Oct. 31.
Big Spring Spirits, a distillery based in Bellefonte, PA, is opening a tasting room in the former Vines Wine Bar at 526 Northpointe Circle in Seven Fields near Cranberry.
“All ingredients will be locally sourced when possible,” says Kevin Lloyd, the distillery’s co-owner and production manager. “For example, a new addition to our cocktail menu comes from Oil & Vinegar, our new next-door neighbor. We’ll be using their fig cream vinegar to create Marriage of Figarye, which features our 100 percent rye whiskey.”
Lloyd and his friend Paula Cipar opened the original Big Spring Spirits six years ago in Bellefonte, a town three hours east of Pittsburgh.
The Indiana County native graduated from Penn State University with a degree in molecular and cell biology and was co-owner of Exygen Research before getting into the booze business, a field where he can still flex his scientific muscles.
Whiskey was Lloyd’s first experiment, but Big Spring produces vodka, gin, rum and ready-to-drink craft cocktails at its LEED Gold-certified distillery, which uses water from Bellefonte’s famed Big Spring. The natural water source is the recipient of various “Best Tasting Water” awards.
Their products are available at 30 Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores throughout Pennsylvania, including the Waterworks location at 974 Freeport Road.
Over the summer, the company decided to expand its brand in the ‘burgh, where craft distilleries are booming.
“The operative word for the Seven Fields location is franchise,” Lloyd says. “We have previously had good success in the Pittsburgh market. Many of the customers that we meet travel all the way to Bellefonte to sample our spirits and cocktails. Our new location provides us with a much better opportunity to serve those customers.”
The Seven Fields site is hosting a fall festival to coincide with its debut. From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., visitors will enjoy live entertainment, a DJ, pumpkin decorating, costume contests, trunk or treating and other socially distanced activities inside and outdoors at the 3,000-square-foot facility.
Four of the distillery’s bartenders will face off in a cocktail competition to see which signature libation goes on the fall menu. Guests 21 and over will receive four tasting tickets so they can vote for (and potentially name) their favorite beverage.
Big Spring will specialize in unique cocktails with a menu boasting nearly three dozen varieties. The new tasting room, which will hold a soft opening on Oct. 20, has Covid-restricted seating for 60 people indoors and 50 outside. (Post-Covid, seating will be for 120 indoors.)
Other offerings include the Autumn Mule, with whiskey, ginger beer and apple cider, and The Godfather, a mix of either gin or straight rye, lemon, hibiscus, mint syrup and Neshaminy Creek County Line IPA.
Food selections will range from fried calamari, stuffed banana peppers and a charcuterie board to a vegetable platter, house-made hummus and bruschetta.
In addition to their affiliation with Oil & Vinegar, Big Spring partnered with local artisan Erik Thompson on the interior design and hand-crafted furniture. During the grand opening, all proceeds from the sale of the company’s hand sanitizer will go to Gleaners Food Bank in Cranberry Township.
“We will continue to talk and partner with as many local vendors as possible,” Lloyd says.