County Seat Spirits, an Allentown distillery that has occupied part of Allentown Economic Development Corporation’s Bridgeworks Enterprise Center since 2015, now has its sights set on Easton. The distillery recently announced its plans to open a cocktail bar and tasting room at the Simon Silk Mill, a renovated former textile manufacturing plant that in recent years has become a bustling hub of residential and commercial tenants.
The distillery, the first modern one to be opened in Lehigh County, is owned and operated by Anthony Brichta, a lawyer and Lehigh graduate, and his uncle John Rowe, a retired air traffic controller from LVIA. The new tasting room joins the likes of Eight Oaks of New Tripoli and Triple Sun of Emmaus, both of whom branched out from their original locations to open satellite tasting rooms.
Brichta pointed to Simon Silk Mill’s other tenants, among them Separatist Beer Project, Boser Geist Brewing Company, Easton Wine Project, Tucker Silk Mill, and Owowcow Creamery, as part of the decision to expand their footprint. “We chose the Simon Silk Mill as County Seat Spirits’ first additional location because we are excited about the community of businesses that is being built in Easton and wanted to be a part of preserving and revitalizing the Silk Mill,” said Brichta. “We started County Seat in a historic manufacturing facility at the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center in Allentown and are proud to be expanding to another historic property in the Lehigh Valley.”
The new location, near the main entrance to the silk mill complex, is nearly 2000 square feet and will feature a 33-foot long bar with 14 seats. There will be additional seating throughout the main space, outside seating on the patio, and bistro seating along the outside of the building. Brick walls and exposed steel beams offer a rustic and industrial feel, one that nods to the building’s heritage as an industrial manufacturing site, while new skylight windows allow ample natural light to fill the space. The tasting room’s focus will primarily be on cocktails created using County Seat flagship products like Hidden Copper Bourbon, Sand Island White Rum, Lock Keeper Gin, and Class 8 Vodka being mixed to create specialty drinks.
Ryan Everett, who will be managing the Easton location, said they’ll be creating interesting offerings so customers can “experience both spirits and cocktails in new ways,” adding they aim to “take normal cocktails and make them better.” Some cited examples include twists on classics like the gin and tonic and the Old Fashioned. Everett added, “We want to be thought of as one of the top cocktail bars in the Lehigh Valley. When people ask where to get a good drink, I want that to be us.” Christopher Granger, who will join Everett behind the shaker as a bartender, added, “We want to have conversations between the distillers, the bartenders, and the customers so they’re getting that super experience from beginning to end.” Everett said he’s been in the Easton area for nearly five years, and is excited to be a part of the community and to give back to an area that has been very welcoming.
County Seat also plans on having draft cocktails as well as Pennsylvania beer, cider, and mead to supplement their bar program and small plates for food options featuring meats and cheeses from S. Clyde Weaver, Baringer’s Meats, and Karl’s Poultry. Bottles of County Seat’s products, merchandise, and drink kits will be available for purchase. County Seat will start by opening Thursday through Sunday and eventually expand to include Tuesday and Wednesday hours. Brichta said he hopes to have the tasting room complete and open to the public by early May.