‘Uncle Waithley’s’ ginger beer honors granddad and St. Vincent’s past
Patrons of Manhattan’s 67 Orange Street bar depend on the Harlem waterhole being awash with alcoholic beverages and unique drink recipes. But the customers expect something extra from owner Karl Franz Williams’ establishment, which is also awash in history — from its “Orange Street” address to the “Uncle Waithley’s Vincy Brew” carbonated ginger beer brand, inspired by his ginger-farming grandfather in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The 67 Orange Street name — for his uptown establishment at 2082 Frederick Douglass Blvd. — comes from the last known address of a 19th-century tavern in the then-notorious Five Points section of lower Manhattan that was thought to be “one of the first black-owned and operated bars in New York City,” according to Williams, who also touts the historical significance of “Uncle Waithley’s ginger beer.
The bottled beverage is now available in more than 40 bars and restaurants in the tristate area. It’s a flavorful mixer that adds great ginger zest to cocktails, and “zero-proof” nonalcoholic mixed drinks.
To further the exposure of the savory drink, Williams’ Uncle Waithley’s Beverage Company, with the help of dozens of StartEngine.com investors, has raised more than $200,000 in a capital funding effort that ends soon.
Thoughtful of the ginger beer-making tradition of his late 100-year-old health-conscious granddad, William’s makes Uncle Waithley’s ginger brew, using “a proprietary process that is unique in the industry.”
“We grind and press fresh Peruvian organic ginger and then age our ginger beer using our ‘Vintage Fermentation’ process for richness and maturation. We balance the added sugar with fresh-squeezed lime juice, turmeric, and mineral water infused with natural salts to enhance our flavors,” said the veteran restaurateur and mixologist.
After becoming popular in Whole Foods Market Harlem, Uncle Waithley’s is now available at Whole Foods locations around the city, and on Amazon.com. And Uncle Waithley’s will be coming to St. Vincent and the Grenadines through an agreement with the island’s Vintages Bequia upscale retail outlet. For more information and investment opportunities, visit www.unclewaithleys.com.
Karl Franz is “Vincy” and is the owner and founder of 67 Orange Street, the oldest cocktail bar in Harlem and one of the oldest cocktail bars in NYC.
A sought-after speaker and advisor on all things mixology, Karl has positioned himself as a business building powerhouse, innovation vanguard, and Harlem hero.
He also founded Anchor spa in New Haven, CT and developed the cocktail programs for many other bars and spirit companies.
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