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A Visit to Outer Banks Distilling - Kill Devil Rum


Two brewers and two bartenders had a dream to bring back the tradition of rum on the Outer Banks... And that dream became a reality in the Spring of 2015 when Outer Banks Distilling, also known as Kill Devil Rum, became the first craft distillery on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Located in a restored downtown Manteo building built in the 1940's, the owners repurposed all the original wood to build the bar top in the tasting room, the [[{"fid":"8748","view_mode":"default","type":"media","attributes":{"height":"720","width":"960","style":"float: left; width: 452px; height: 339px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]doors, etc, which gives the space a really cool feel. The distillery is the perfect day trip from Corolla, especially in the off season when there are fewer people on the road. It takes a little over an hour to get to Manteo from Corolla - it's a perfect drive down the beach!

Outer Banks Distilling offers tours of the distillery, and they sell a variety of their bottled rum and great branded merchandise on-site. A bottle of Kill Devil Rum, a set of glasses, or a hat and t-shirt would make a great holiday gift for Outer Banks-loving or rum-loving friends and family, especially if you're looking to shop local!

The four partners, Adam Ball, Kelly Bray, Matt Newsome, and Scott Smith, have a special thing going with this small-batch rum distillery. They source everything (labels, bottles, molasses, caps, boxes) domestically, and they try to get most everything from as close to home as possible. And they send all of their ‘waste’ to the Elizabethan Gardens (just down the road from them) to use as plant fertilizer, which is pretty great.

Being long-time beer brewers, they noticed the similarities and differences between beer and rum. Just like beer, rum lends itself to an incredible variety of flavors that can be produced - white, gold, spiced, etc. The Kill Devil Rum foursome took several distilling classes, including one put on by the makers of their still, and they trained themselves and their palettes to understand the complexity of rum. They didn’t want to distill just another rum for daiquiris, but a quality product you can sip and enjoy. But of course, their rum makes for great cocktails too!

For those curious about the name, Kill Devil is another name for rum, coined by pirates back in the day. Mostly because it was ‘strong enough to kill the devil’. And three of the [[{"fid":"8751","view_mode":"default","type":"media","attributes":{"height":"720","width":"960","style":"float: right; width: 451px; height: 338px;","alt":"Outer Banks Distilling Hats","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]four Outer Banks Distilling partners are Kill Devil Hills residents, so the name Kill Devil Rum seemed quite fitting. It was important to the four partners that they incorporated Outer Banks history and folklore to create a local product that locals and visitors would appreciate - and we think they did just that!
Outer Banks Distilling is just finishing up a seasonal/experimental batch of rum that will be on shelves around the end of October – it’s a Pecan Honey Rum made from NC pecans and local honey. We were lucky enough to get a taste of this recently on a tour – it will be an awesome fall beverage!

Distillery Tours

  • Tuesday - Sunday at 1pm and 3pm
  • $5, must be at least 21 years old
  • Call 252 423-3011 Tues - Sat 9-5 to reserve your tour time
  • Located at 510 Budleigh Street, downtown Manteo NC
  • More info at

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