News Bites: Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Wins Award / Truck Stop to benefit the RI Community Food Bank Fundraising / Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Grants

by David Dadekian
Published: Updated:

Current news releases—Eat Drink RI is not the source for these items—please follow any links for more information.

Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Wins Gold at World Whiskies Awards

The Rhode Island Distillery Earned Gold For Its Limited Release Maple Finished Bourbon Whiskey

Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Co. Maple Finished Bourbon Whiskey

Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits took home a Gold medal in the American Flavored Whiskey category for their limited-edition Maple Finished Bourbon Whiskey. This continues Sons of Liberty’s title as New England’s most awarded distillery and marks the 9th award received from the prestigious Whisky Magazine’s World Whiskies Awards since 2014.
Sons of Liberty’s Maple Finished Bourbon Whiskey was a limited release in the Fall of 2017, but there are plans to do another, larger release in the future. Starting with their standard Bourbon Whiskey, distilled from 100% Rhode Island grown corn and aged in new American Oak barrels, they finish the whiskey for an additional 10 months in barrels that were used to age maple syrup.

“Finishing the whiskey this way, instead of just adding maple syrup, allowed us to incorporate a subtle maple flavor that did not ruin the integrity of the whiskey, rather just enhanced its overall complexity,” said Sons of Liberty founder Mike Reppucci.

Single Barrel Cellar (Wakefield, MA) focuses on the production of small batch barrel-aged artisanal goods. One of their products, a barrel aged maple syrup, was aged in Sons of Liberty’s ex-Bourbon barrels. When complete, Sons of Liberty takes those barrels back to use in finishing their Bourbon Whiskey. Brad Coyle, Single Barrel Cellar co-founder said of the whiskey, “We were blown away with how smooth and clean the whiskey turned out. We really liked how the maple didn’t overpower the whiskey but complemented it. We were extremely honored to be part of creating an award-winning whiskey with Sons of Liberty.”

Sons of Liberty continues to distribute their standard offerings, most notably their Uprising and Battle Cry Single Malts, but their limited release products have been garnering increasing recognition. “We like to play,” said Reppucci. “It’s fun to introduce new iterations and styles of products and see how the market responds to them. It’s a great test to see if we should make a limited product more widely available.”

Truck Stop Benefit Raises $150,000 for RI Community Food Bank

More than 600 people attended the event featuring gourmet tastings from 23 local food trucks.

Eat Drink RI Festival 2018 Truck Stop, photo by David Dadekian
Eat Drink RI Festival 2018 Truck Stop, photo by David Dadekian

Last Friday ‘s Truck Stop event at the Rhode Island Food Bank raised more than $150,000 to support the Food Bank’s ongoing efforts to feed hungry Rhode Islanders.

“We are so thankful to our generous sponsors and guests who helped us raise funds to feed our neighbors in need of food assistance across the state,” said Food Bank CEO Andrew Schiff. “Every year, the community comes together in an amazing way to support this event.” 

For the sixth year, the Food Bank’s event featured gourmet food trucks as part of the weekend’s Eat Drink RI Festival which showcases local chefs, restaurants and food entrepreneurs. 

More than 600 guests attended including Governor Gina Raimondo with First Gentleman Andy Moffit and Senator Jack Reed. 

Participating vendors included:  Bon Me, Citizen Wing, Ellie’s Bakery, Food 4 Good, Friskie Fries, Fugo, Gastros, Gilded Tomato, Gotta Q, Hometown Poké, Incred-A-Bowl, Like No Udder, Mijos Tacos, Ming’s Asian Street Food, Noble Knots, Open Season, Portu-Galo, Presto Strange O, Red’s, RI Community Food Bank Community Kitchen, Rhody Roots, Rocket Fine Street Food and Sarcastic Sweets. Beverages were provided by Jonathan Edwards Winery, Revival Brewing Company, and Yacht Club Soda. Live music was performed by Superchief Trio. 

Once again the event was sponsored by Stop & Shop along with IGT, Collette, Washington Trust, Webster Bank and many other generous donors.

For more information on the Food Bank, visit

Raimondo, DEM, Partners Announce Over $210,000 In Grants to Local Food Businesses

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), along with its partners, today awarded over $210,000 to 21 local food businesses as part of its annual Agriculture “Ag” Day celebration at the State House.  The awards, funded under the Local Agriculture & Seafood Act (LASA) grant program, help new and existing small businesses and food initiatives prosper in Rhode Island.

“Agriculture Day shines a bright light on Rhode Island’s vibrant food scene and rich agricultural and fishing heritage,” said Governor Gina Raimondo. “Today’s Local Agriculture and Seafood Act grants will help nurture new food ventures and grow our state’s green economy.  I congratulate all grant recipients and look forward to celebrating the success of these outstanding initiatives.” 

Now in its fifth year, LASA has provided over $1.1 million – through grants up to $20,000 – to support growth of Rhode Island’s local food economy.  The state’s food scene is often cited as an area of economic strength ripe for innovation and growth. Already, the local food industry supports 60,000 jobs, and the state’s green industries account for more than 15,000 jobs and contribute $2.5 billion to the economy annually.   

“I’m thrilled to award these grants to help farmers, fishers and food businesses start or expand their operations in Rhode Island,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “Our state has a vibrant food scene and rich agricultural and fishing heritage, and I look forward to the initiatives and businesses this latest grant round will help inspire.”      

“The LASA program has inspired Rhode Island’s agriculture and seafood businesses to innovate and grow,” said Nessa Richman, Network Director for the RI Food Policy Council. “Results from the first comprehensive evaluation of the program show impacts in terms of new product, new markets, increased sales, jobs created, and more that exceed expectations. Funds like this are a key part of the infrastructure for a local food economy.” 

The 2018 LASA grant awards include: 

African Alliance of RI, Providence/Johnston, $15,140: 

To support community garden/farm efforts though purchase of equipment/supplies and a part-time farm manager

Carl Berg, Little Compton, $5,500:

To improve aquaculture production and markets for Sakonnet-grown shellfish

Ester & Joel Bishop, Tiverton, $7,000:

To purchase a mobile processing unit for poultry

Blackstone Bees, LLC, Smithfield, $10,000:

To create a new, sizeable apiary

Deep Roots Farm, Chepachet, $5,794:

To purchase two grain bins to hold chicken and pig feed, bulk feeders, and equipment to move grain around the farm

Eating with the Ecosystem, Statewide, $12,000:

To support outreach and marketing of local seafood

Garman Farm, Newport, $6,150:

To construct a wood-framed shed for equipment storage/wash-and-pack line

Herb & Forage LLC, North Kingstown, $8,086:

To construct a facility for safe washing and storage

Hope’s Harvest RI, Statewide, $9,000:

To support farmer participation in farm gleaning project

Robert F.D. Payne, Exeter, $18,200:

To provide seed money for the South County Sustainable Tool Library

Rachel Playe, Providence, $12,825:

To build a drying shed for medicinal herbs

Rhode Island Land Access Work Group, Statewide, $18,000:

To support the organization’s farm succession school and farm match program, and produce three RI farm “success stories”

Joel Russell, Hopkinton, $7,000:

For contracted labor to design and install a public water system on the farm property

Sanctuary Herbs of Providence, Providence, $6,500:

For purchase of a tea-bagging machine to help further develop market for local tea in Rhode Island while working with refugee farmers

Skinny Dip Farm, Little Compton, $9,982:

To purchase a walk-in cooler, thermometer, and hydrometer

Sweet Pea Farm, Charlestown, $6,115:

To construct a wash station and a walk-in cooler

Urban Greens Food Co-op, Providence, $19,500:

To support development of kitchen to help increase capacity for processing and use of local ingredients

Samantha Vallone & William Morin, Chepachet, $6,025:

To construct a wash-and-pack station and expand cold storage capacity

Westbay Community Action/Westbay Farm, Warwick, $12,200:

To build a root cellar to expand capacity of community farm

Nathaniel Wood & Adam Graffunder, Johnston, $6,940:

For purchase of farming equipment to increase the efficiency of the no-till, bio-intensive farming operation at Snake Den Farm

Young Farmer Network, Statewide, $11,140:

To support education programming and network development for young farmers in Rhode Island

In partnership with the Rhode Island Food Policy Council, LASA is funded by the state with generous support from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, the Henry P. Kendall Foundation, and the Rhode Island Foundation. In addition to the above grant awards, $20,000 is directed to DEM and the Rhode Island Seafood Marketing Collaborative to support the state’s local seafood campaign, RI Seafood.  Local seafood is poised to spur the next wave of food-based economic growth.  Last year, more than 100 million pounds of seafood arrived at a local port, with an export value over $1 billion.

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