In 1862, a year into the American Civil War, the first two ships to be clad in a force field of iron engaged in the waters just off the Port of Newport News in Virginia. The small USS Monitor and the heavily armed CSS Virginia attempted to destroy the other’s mighty cladding. After hours of close-range action, neither ship had sunk. Their story, however, went down in history. Today, in an historic warehouse within view of the old battle site, that 154-year-old story still engages us. Ironclad Distillery Co. is Newport News, Virginia’s first and only operating distillery. Owned and operated by the King family since 2015, Ironclad makes only small batch bourbon whiskey. From grain to bottle. One batch at a time. All under one roof.
Here at Ironclad, we make our Bourbon from local Virginia corn, wheat and rye, along with malted barley, and age it in new, American oak charred barrels. It is characterized by the brackish air from Virginia’s James River, balanced with the sweet caramelized oak sap from small barrels. Each batch is double distilled in six 26-gallon stainless steel stills and generally aged for two summers. The result? A sweet opening and a dry spice pop that’s ideal in a glass on its own and works great in cocktails.
In our family, we believe there is such a thing as a “bourbon gene.” It runs in our blood alcohol level. Generations have enjoyed it, so we thought it was time to put our name on our own. That’s why we founded Ironclad with a single aim, as simple as it is ambitious: To create the finest small bourbon available – like Grandma would have liked. Each day we come in and make the best whiskey we know how. That’s it. Nothing else. So, no moonshine, no vodka, no gin. There are others who have a greater passion and know-how for those. We’re here to craft a bourbon that’ll make everyone who is a carrier of the “bourbon gene” proud.
124 23rd St, Newport News, VA 23607
HOURS: Wednesday - Saturday: 12pm - 6pm; Free tours every half hour on Saturday