Wilmington’s first distillery Blue Shark Vodka makes a ‘splash,’ hits local ABC stores

Blue Shark Vodka is New Hanover County's first distillery and is already on shelves at the local ABC stores (Port City Daily/Courtesy Blue Shark Vodka)
Blue Shark Vodka is New Hanover County’s first distillery and is already on shelves at the local ABC stores (Port City Daily/Courtesy Blue Shark Vodka)

WILMINGTON — The blue shark is one of the most docile sharks in the ocean, it is not known for being aggressive towards people so there is no need to fear the ‘bite.’ That’s the reason Wilmington’s first distillery decided to take the name Blue Shark Vodka — there’s no bite, according to company president Brooke Bloomquist.

Blue Shark Vodka just recently hit local ABC shelves and already is making a splash, according to Bloomquist.

The family-run distillery is the first in New Hanover County, and while some might think the brand appeared out of nowhere but it has actually been a brand five years in the making, according to Bloomquist.


While the area has plenty of craft breweries, local distilleries are a new thing for the region which meant there was a pretty big learning curve for everyone involved — including local government.

The process of getting all of the proper permits to allow for distilling in the State of North Carolina is cumbersome and time consuming, but Bloomquist said the local ABC has been one of the brand’s biggest supporters.

“It was a grueling process, to say the least, but by all accounts, New Hanover County ABC has been our biggest supporter,” she said. “They’ve been nothing but supportive.”

The vodka is made in Wilmington at a facility off of Market Street, but the distillery will not be open to the public and there is no tasting room — but customers can expect to see the vodka at their local ABC stores and area bars.

Blue Shark is distilled from corn harvested right here in North Carolina; Bloomquist said their family tries to keep everything as local as possible.

“It’s corn, gluten-free and non-GMO, we use sweet Carolina Corn. Our farmer is Polkton N.C.,” Bloomquist said.

Recently, the company actually acquired a large plot from the farmer, known as Farmer Jeff; the section of the cornfield that will be exclusively used for the vodka.

“We’re very much about keeping it in North Carolina. We did a little video with him [Farmer Jeff] like he said, every dollar you put into the state or your city or your county, you get back 10 times,” she said.

Customers will notice that the bottle itself is unique and adorned with a metal safety seal holding the glass bottle stopper in place; inside each bottle is a hand-blown glass shark, making each bottle different from the next.

“There’s a shark at the bottom of each bottle and each bottle is hand-blown glass, to the point that no shark is the same,” Bloomquist said.

The reception has already been a positive and the liquor has only been on shelves for just over a week but so far, people seem to enjoy the locally crafted spirit, Bloomquist said.

In keeping with the nautical theme of the brand, Blue Shark Vodka is also helping keep the beaches clean and will be hosting its first event on July 7. Starting at 8 a.m., Blue Shark is having its inaugural beach sweep to help clean up Wrightsville beach following the 4th of July holiday.

“As you can imagine, after the 4th of July, it’s the biggest tourist draw to Wrightsville Beach and sadly the amount of trash that is put there [is a lot],” Bloomquist said.

The event will begin at Johnnie Mercers Pier and participants will walk the beach picking up litter until the Blockade Runner Resort. More information can be found online.


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