Atlantic City will soon boast its first ever legal distillery, thanks to brothers Eric and Mark Ganter. The Little Water Distillery may not be the first to ever produce spirits in the city, but it will be the first to do so with federal and state licenses.
The distillery, which began life as a family daydream after Eric and Mark’s dad received a still for his birthday in 2013, will launch an American whisky dubbed WHITECAP around December 15, just in time for those of us who failed to do all our holiday shopping this past weekend. The whisky is the result of a collaboration with a distillery in the Appalachian mountains that the Ganter brothers struck up a friendship with during their multi-year process to launch their Atlantic City site. The name is a play on the white caps of the mountains and the Atlantic ocean, Eric Ganter explained.
The whisky – soon to be followed by Atlantic City-made rum – will be on sale in stores and bars in the area. It will also be available on site at Little Water, which is on Lexington Ave between Delaware and Maryland Aves in the North Inlet section of the city. Little Water will be opening soon for tours and tastings – check their Facebook page and website for details – and visitors will be able to check out a little slice of Atlantic City history, as well as learning more about craft distilling. When the site was being renovated to accommodate the brewery, a whole collection of prohibition-era glass bottles were uncovered. The bottles likely originated in the Tumble Inn that previously existed on the site, the brothers discovered during the zoning process. The original brick wall of the inn is the backdrop to the tasting area at the new distillery.
Although deciding on the building took time, it was not hard to decide to be in Atlantic City, said Mark Ganter. There is “a pent up desire to have things like this come in and sort of regenerate and reset what the economy can be,” he said. “It’s far from just a gaming town. It has so much more to offer.”
The brothers grew up in South Jersey and wanted to acknowledge the area with the name of the distillery – a nod to Absecon* Island – and their first line of rums will be named Liberty and Prosperity, in an acknowledgement of New Jersey’s motto.
You can watch our interview with Eric and Mark here:
You can learn more about WHITECAP from our interview here:
* Absecon is said to derive from a Lenape word meeting “little water.”