WILDWOOD ? A new business on Spicer Avenue guarantees to not only give visitors a taste of history but it also promises to raise the spirits of this seaside city. With a tasting room and two on-site stills, Lazy Eye Distillery has brought the concept of craft libations to a new level.
Since the 2014 passage of a law that allows craft distilleries only four have opened throughout New Jersey. The recently opened 1,500 square foot Wildwood facility is the only one of its kind in Cape May County. Bringing a craft distillery to Wildwood was part of the plans for owners Nick and Carol Kadkalas, of Northfield.
?Wildwood played an enormous role during Prohibition,? said Carol Kadkalas, ?and unfortunately it does not get enough credit for it. There is a lot of history here.?
The couple noted the warm reception they have received since they opened the Lazy Eye in late June.
?We are thrilled that Carol and Nick have chosen Wildwood to launch their craft distillery,? said Mayor Ernie Troiano. ?They have taken what was a rundown garage and turned it into a world-class distillery and tasting room. By bringing a craft distillery to the city they are acknowledging Wildwood?s past while looking forward to the future. Businesses such as the Lazy Eye Distillery are bringing a new, upscale energy to Wildwood.?
Becoming part of the Wildwood business community is a priority for the Kadkalases. They hope to soon partner with local hotels and motels by offering discounted tours and tastings.
The distillery is open every day except Tuesday for tastings and tours. According to Nick Kadkalas, the $10 cost of a tour includes a half-shot taste of each of the three liquors made in the Wildwood stills.
While most vodkas are made from corn or potatoes, Lazy Eye uses grapes as the basis for the mash used to distill their vodka at the Spicer Avenue facility. Each bottle is made in small batches on-site, where each step, from the making of the mash to the fermentation and distillation processes to the bottling is completed under the watchful eye of Kadkalas family.
?We have our regular vodka, our citrus vodka and our Greek spirit, Rakii, which is the first-ever to be produced legally in the United States,? Carol Kadkalas said. Mixed cocktails are available along with individual bottles of vodka.
For those wondering where the name ?Lazy Eye? came from, both Carol and Nick Kadkalas are almost mum. According to the pair, the name was decided upon by them and their two sons.
?Everyone asks,? noted Carol Kadkalas referring to the distillery?s name. ?There are little hints on the bottle,? said her husband. ?It?s a mystique.?