Ghost Coast Distillery and Service Brewing hosted an Indian Street Block Party on Sept. 1 to benefit the Rape Crisis Center of the Coastal Empire and Georgia Craft Brewers Guild.
Predicting a wicked evening thunderstorm, I arrive at Ghost Coast Distillery early and find a jubilant Chris Sywassink celebrating Senate Bill 85 or his version, aka “Libation Liberation,” a new Georgia law that allows distillers and brewers to sell their liquor and beer by the drink and for their guests to purchase and go!
Pausing the Charlotte, N.C., native a minute longer, I am thrilled to announce that we can expect the Ghost Coast Distillery manager to sport pink hair and full pink beard in preparation for his Real Men Wear Pink American Cancer Society campaign. With his mom in remission and five family members and co-workers affected, Chris tells me he could not be more proud to kick off a month of hot pink hair for a cause so close to his heart.
With tents set up to check people in and cover Leopold’s Ice Cream cart, I ease over to taste-test a passion fruit ice cream and mint lime sorbet Savannah natives Sarah Walters and Brandi LeTulle are handing out. I ask their catering manager Kathy Grove if she has plans for tomorrow night — we have now seen each other two nights in a row!
Speaking of sweet, Ben & Jerry’s Chad Scribner meets “photos, bikes and movie lover” Alicia Briscoe, medical student Jessica Gendernalik and 200 Club’s tireless planner Karen Sawers, as I introduce myself to her husband Bob.
Next, the always vivacious Crystal Higgins and her gracious husband Dick insist that I meet Chaz Ortiz, the good-looking owner of Chazito’s — not realizing that if it’s a man who cooks, I already know him and totally plan on robbing him of a few of his Cuban empanadas later.
With a quick pic of the good friends, I head over to meet rare Nikon D3X user Michael Hrizuk. Sporting silver streaked black hair up in a man bun, the Noble Mouse camera man is “capturing, documenting and archiving” tonight’s event as he points out his fellow Mouse men — Hal Thomas and Kevin Thompson.
As clouds and winds gather, I take a spot closer to the front and hug “single and not” friends Josh Gannam and Alaina Ford. Single Josh of Savannah Wine Cellar and “five-star cheese plate maker” tells me how “not single” Alaina loves handling her security camera clients at SC Datacom while laughing at their crazy adventures at Picnic in the Park.
After congratulating Jessica Pope and Trae Gurley on their spiffy Buck & Doe bowties that feature everything from a golden unicorn and a beehive to a buck, I see Andre Noujaim scouting the growing crowd. Admiring the former Shoe Be DO owner’s uber fit physique, I admit that I passed his New Orleans Chartres Street location and could not bring myself and my “flip-slops” to enter the high-end fashion store!
With a quick pic of Andre with the Westin’s Julian Mata, I trot up the stairs and enter the Ghost Coast Distillery cool oasis, where the best bartender in the South, Sydney Lance, is slinging drinks so fast he can’t pose for a pic with Brandon Brenden. Yes, I spelled that correctly!
While I wait for the pic, I spot Jeff and Michelle Hobart, wave at Jimmy Orzada and friends Julie and Steve Pence while convincing cute Cory Reuter and Savannah native Amanda Redding to pose with Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department’s Sgt. Brad Beddow.
Sneaking out of the photo op is Amanda’s husband Rick of Reefer Express. I stop, rack my brain and remember that his company does container repair for Georgia Ports Authority before quizzing the Savannah local on his saltwater fishing passion.
With a big hug from Savannah Golf Club’s newest member Caleb Harkleroad, his roomie, Old Savannah Tour’s Stephen Plunk, and political enthusiast James Hall, I bring mucho talented Travis Coles over and insist that he tell the guys about his upcoming role in “Jesus Christ Superstar” at Savannah State University’s Kennedy Center. (P.S. Travis, congrats on your real estate exam scores!)
Finally! The lady of the hour has arrived. Rape Crisis Center’s Executive Director Kesha Gibson Carter makes a beeline over to her team — Jasmine Miller, Nadirah Brown, Shaniqua Harmon and Linda Roberts. With a table, banner and her team ready to greet the crowds, I insist that the ladies pose for me while getting an update on Kesha’s advocacy and prevention education organization for victims and survivors. With a reported 21 rapes in August and five this week, Kesha and her dedicated team are determined to educate citizens. I shouldn’t be surprised that the RCC crew is here on a Friday night.
As more people flock inside to miss the downpour, Chris wraps my camera in a trash bag and I peek out down the street at Service Brewing to see hundreds of people braving the weather to celebrate a Friday night while raising money for these worthy nonprofits. Cups up for tonight’s “Libation Liberation” and Rape Crisis Center, their brilliant leader and her fierce troop!
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