News Bites: Sons of Liberty Spirits Co. Wins Whiskey Award / New Executive Chef and GM at TRIO Kitchen + Bar / Sons of Liberty Spirits Co. Grand Reopening / RI Food Businesses Featured by NIST MEP / Montauk Distilling Co. Wins at World Spirits Competition

by David Dadekian

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

Sons of Liberty Wins Best Flavored Whiskey in America

Rhode Island’s Sons of Liberty Wins Awards for all 4 Flavored Whiskies at Prestigious 2023 World Whiskies Awards

Sons of Liberty Spirits Co. Flavored Whiskies Awards

Sons of Liberty Spirits Co.’s Coffee Flavored Whiskey, launched just last winter, was named Best American Flavored Whiskey at Whisky Magazine’s 2023 World Whiskies Awards. The local distillery also took home silver medals for both their Honey and Apple Flavored Whiskies, as well as a bronze for their Maple Flavored Whiskey.

Sons of Liberty is no stranger to accolades having now earned more than 120 awards for their products and company since 2012. “We’re really excited that all four flavors received recognition,” said Sons of Liberty’s President and Founder, Mike Reppucci. “It’s one thing to believe your own product is good, but it’s an honor to be awarded by Whisky Magazine.”

Contrary to some other flavored spirits in the market, Sons of Liberty prides itself on using real ingredients to flavor their whiskies, no chemicals or flavor substitutes. The judging panel had this to say about the Coffee Flavored Whiskey: “A coffee lover’s dream, this whiskey boasts a bold, genuine nose. The palate also meets expectations superbly, tasting of cold brew coffee with a shot of whiskey. An excellent representation of the category.”

The flavored whiskey category has grown in recent years due in part to the variety of ways in which consumers can enjoy them. “The Coffee Flavored Whiskey is amazing with just a couple of rocks,” said Sons of Liberty’s Marketing Director, Bryan Ricard. “But, as a big espresso martini fan, this whiskey is a game changer.” The team at Sons of Liberty has numerous cocktail recipe suggestions on their website,, including the Peace Dale Iced Coffee and a Coffee Old Fashioned using the award-winning Coffee Flavored Whiskey.

To find retailers near you (Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts) for any of Sons of Liberty’s flavored whiskies, visit Or, beginning on May 27th, head to the tasting room at 1425 Kingstown Road, South Kingstown, RI. May 27th marks the grand reopening of the tasting room after a three-year hiatus.

TRIO Kitchen + Bar in Narragansett Adds Executive Chef Emerson Bontecou and General Manager Michael Accetta IV to Team

Chef Emerson Bontecou
Executive Chef Emerson Bontecou

TRIO Kitchen + Bar located at 15 Kingstown Road in Narragansett, part of Newport Restaurant Group’s (NRG) award-winning collection of unique restaurants and hospitality venues located throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts, is pleased to announce the additions of Executive Chef Emerson Bontecou and General Manager Michael Accetta IV to its talented team. 

Accetta is a graduate of Narragansett High School and Sacred Heart University. He first began his career in hospitality management in 2008 at a restaurant in New Jersey, prior to joining NRG’s TRIO Kitchen + Bar as a restaurant manager in 2010. From 2012 to 2015, he served as a restaurant manager at NRG’s Boat House Waterfront Dining in Tiverton. Since then, he has held various managerial roles, including at NRG’s 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille in Newport, with Hilton Hotels and Resorts, and with NRG’s Waterman Grille in Providence. A Sacred Heart University graduate, Accetta and his wife Ashlee, and their sons Quint and Grayson, are natives of Narragansett. 

Bontecou previously served as the head chef at The East End, a relaxed bistro with a seasonal American menu, in Providence. He has also held positions as a line cook at New Rivers in Providence, a kitchen supervisor at Pat’s Pastured in East Greenwich, a baker at North Bakery in Providence, and a line cook at Farmstead Inc. in Providence. He is a 2010 graduate of the University of Redlands, from which he holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language & Literature, General. 

“We are so pleased to bring aboard Emerson and Michael to oversee the team at TRIO in Narragansett,” said Corey Barriera, Director of Restaurant Operations, Newport Restaurant Group. “Together, they bring the experience and expertise needed to provide exceptional service and an unforgettable dining experience for all who visit TRIO.”

General Manager Michael Accetta IV
General Manager Michael Accetta IV

Sons of Liberty Spirits Co. Kicks Off Memorial Day Weekend with Grand Reopening Party

Rhode Island’s Sons of Liberty Spirits Co. Opens Doors After 3 Year Hiatus

Sons of Liberty Spirits Co.
Sons of Liberty Spirits Co.

Sons of Liberty Spirits Co., established in 2011, will officially reopen its tasting room doors on Saturday, May 27th (12-7pm) to kick off Memorial Day Weekend. The distillery invites everyone down to see the updated space and celebrate the occasion with live music, a variety of food trucks and a new cocktail menu.

Originally closed due to COVID-19 in March of 2020, Sons of Liberty remained closed to produce and distribute hand sanitizer for the local community as well as the state’s emergency services. “That was a time of uncertainty for everyone,” said Sons of Liberty’s President and Founder, Mike Reppucci. “So many people and businesses really stepped up during those first few months and we’re truly grateful we were able to be a small part of that.” The team at Sons of Liberty organized multiple community giveaways where anyone in need could drive up and take home spray bottles of hand sanitizer. They were also able to donate hundreds of gallon-size containers to local police departments, fire departments, other government agencies and many others in need.

Aside from two special events in 2022, the tasting room has remained closed due to expanded production. The space where guests could once enjoy an old fashioned or whiskey flight was taken over by production equipment and needed storage. “There just wasn’t enough room at the time, but we’re ready to rock now. It’s been way too long. We really hope everyone loves the new space,” Reppucci stated excitedly. The team says that while they’ve made many noticeable improvements to the tasting room, it will very much be a similar environment to what guests previously enjoyed.

The reopening party will feature multiple food truck options from PVD Food Truck Events and live music performances by Brian James Soul Jazz 1-4pm followed by BT Allstars Quintet 4:30-7pm. A new cocktail menu will feature craft cocktails on draft comprised of some Sons of Liberty classics. Also available to enjoy will be chair 2 light beer and two new product lines developed by Mike Reppucci; Lani Sangrias and Bar on Board (B.o.B) low abv cocktails.

The event is free to attend including parking on-site and free shuttle parking at Peace Dale Elementary School – 109 Kersey Rd, Wakefield, RI 02879. No tickets or reservations required. The event is family friendly, but service animals only. For more information, visit the event page or call (401) 284-4006.

After the grand reopening on May 27th, regular tasting room hours will begin on Thursday, June 1st. Thursdays and Fridays 5-9pm, Saturdays 2-9pm and Sundays 11am-6pm.

Rhode Island Food Business Ecosystem Featured as “Heroes” Video Produced by National Institute of Standards & Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership

Latest installment of “Heroes of American Manufacturing” series celebrates RI dog treat maker BUPPY PETS®, culinary incubator Hope & Main, and Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center Polaris MEP

Buppy Pets

Three Rhode Island businesses have been featured in the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) video series, in an episode that spotlights the state’s food business ecosystem. Culinary incubator Hope & Main and MEP Center Polaris MEP share their story of working collaboratively to support dog treat manufacturing business BUPPY PETS as it scaled production.

The “Heroes of American Manufacturing” video series celebrates the small and medium-sized manufacturers succeeding in the U.S. with the help of their local MEP Centers. 

Rhode Island takes its first turn in the national spotlight in the latest video in the series. “The hero of this story is actually a trio of partners,” said Matt Watson, Polaris MEP Center Director. “It reflects the unique way Rhode Island helps its food and beverage businesses succeed, with private and public partners all working together to lift up manufacturers.”

Viewers will be introduced to BUPPY PETS (, launched by Warwick resident Lauren Ruggiero to offer 4-ingredient sharable treats inspired by snacks people love. The entrepreneur joined the business incubation program at Hope & Main (, a Warren, RI, non-profit which jumpstarts early-stage food manufacturers. 

Hope & Main partners with Providence-based Polaris MEP ( to support their members with training on efficient production, continuous improvement and beyond. After Ruggiero was connected to Polaris MEP project manager Nathan Bonds, she said the company was able to reduce costs and increase productivity.

Lisa Raiola, President and Founder of Hope & Main, said that the video captures the spirit of how the incubator and Polaris MEP work together to develop and scale food businesses. “The Buppy Pets story is a powerful way to illustrate our shared mission of a thriving and diverse food economy in Rhode Island.”The video is currently featured on the NIST website at

Montauk Distilling Co. Wins Prestigious Silver and Bronze Status at San Francisco World Spirits Competition

Company Also Expands Distribution to Rhode Island and New Jersey

Montauk Distilling Co., a leading producer of premium spirits, today announced it is expanding into Rhode Island with McLaughlin & Moran, Inc., and New Jersey with Shore Point Distributors. The expansion marks a significant milestone for the company as it continues to grow its presence in the United States.

Montauk Distilling Co. has seen significant growth in recent years. The company has received numerous product accolades, including winning Silver and Bronze Medals at the 2023 San Francisco World Spirits Competition for its 71st Regiment Gin and 108 Tunney Cask Strength Bourbon. Montauk also won a Double Gold status at the 2020 SIP Awards for the Bellamy Spiced Rum and multiple SIP Awards in 2019, including Double Gold status for the 71st Regiment Gin, Gold for Black Sail Rum, and the Consumer Choice Award for 71st Regiment Gin, which honors brands that demonstrate the ultimate in quality year after year.

“We are thrilled to bring our premium spirits to customers in both Rhode Island and New Jersey and are honored to have won recognition at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition,” said Tom Joyce, CEO and co-founder of Montauk Distilling Co. “Our team has worked hard to create high-quality products that we know people will enjoy, and we’re excited to share them with a new audience.”

With the expansion, customers in Rhode Island and New Jersey will now have access to Montauk Distilling Co.’s full range of award-winning spirits, including its signature Black Sail Rum, Bellamy Spiced Rum, Tunney Bourbon, Modico Vodka, 71st Regiment Gin and more.

To learn more about Montauk Distilling Co. and its range of premium spirits, visit

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