by: Amy Ciarametaro
William “Mac” McCormack is throwing out some serious Virginia spirit and elevating the way Richmonders drink one tipple at a time. By a landslide, he carries the largest selection of spirits in the Commonwealth, with 2,300 bottles of spirits at his Big Whisky Grill location in Regency Square. (Not to mention he runs Whisky Grill in the Fan and McCormack’s Irish Pub in the Bottom), quenching the thirst of River City residents and beyond. Mac’s mantra is, “As far as Virginia spirits go, if it’s for sale [through ABC], odds are I carry it.” For this reason, and many more, we selected him to be one of our featured Tastemakers for September #VaSpiritsMonth.
If you’re unfamiliar with Mac’s concept for his three establishments, the fundamental goal is to enlighten and wow guests, especially with whiskey. “Educating our customers as it relates to ‘what’s in the glass’ is a priority for us. And locally sourced spirits have a story that consumers can appreciate,” explains Mac.
Take Mac’s newest addition to his restaurant empire, for instance. Big Whisky Grill was recently named one of the Best Bourbon Bars in America by The Bourbon Review. The publication listed out the 75 best bars in the country by region and also gave a nod to the original Fan location. The restaurant has approximately 1,400 whiskeys listed, which includes over 30 Virginia spirits. Going forward, that menu will likely expand due to a recent regulatory change that will now allow restaurateurs like Mac to purchase spirits directly from Virginia distilleries.
It’s clear Mac has put a lot of work into Big Whisky Grill. The sheer size alone is impressive. It’s based in the old Texas de Brazil space attached to Regency Mall – and Mac personally built a lot of the furniture to outfit the interior. He also upped the ante by bringing on award-winning chef Phillip Denny, formerly of Aziza’s on Main, and Todd Brady from Dixie Chicken for the food and menu offerings.
In addition to operating his three restaurants, Mac also has plans to open his own Virginia distillery, Acme Distillery, in the near future. The #VaSpirits industry welcomes his depth and breadth of knowledge and experience. Stay tuned for more information on Acme Distillery!
*Rapid Fire with Mac McCormack of McCormack’s Big Whisky Grill, McCormack’s Whisky Grill, & McCormack’s Irish Pub*
#VaSpirits: Where were you born?
Mac: Morristown, New Jersey, grew up in Japan primarily.
#VaSpirits: Tell us some tidbits about your daily routine, Mac.
Mac: I work seven days a week. When I have downtime, I enjoy spending it with my four dogs.
#VaSpirits: When you’re not drinking #VaSpirits, what do you enjoy drinking and why?
Mac: Whiskeys of all sorts and craft beers.
#VaSpirits: Tell us something about you that we can’t Google about you (until now)!
Mac: I design and physically build my own restaurants, including the furniture in some cases.
For more information, check out:
McCormack’s Big Whisky Grill website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter
McCormack’s Whisky Grill website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter
McCormack’s Irish Pub / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter
Photo credit: Jay Paul