(Sept. 21, 2018) Pickles Pub is famous for its Pickle Shot, which is now available locally for purchase in a bottle, and soon to be available statewide.
Justin and Brittney Acita took over Pickles Pub on Eighth Street in Ocean City, a little over four years ago and with it the coveted Pickle Shot recipe.
With that, they then made it their own by searching out the best flavored pickle brine. After trying a variety of brines they settled on what they agreed was their favorite.
“We don’t give out the recipe because it’s our trademarked secret,” Brittney Acita said.
Customers come into Pickles Pub just to purchase the Pickle Shot, she added.
“It’s usually the first thing the vast majority of people come in here order,” she said.
They have customers tell them all the time that they try recreating the Pickle Shot at home, but it doesn’t taste the same.
Since the shot has been so popular they decided to bottle it. It was a process, but seeing the feedback and demand for the product already, it was all worth it, Justin Acita said.
When making the Pickle Shot concoction to bottle, Brittney said the hard part for her was not being able to taste the product because she is pregnant with the couple’s third child.
They went through nine batches to get the recipe perfect. They used the same brine as the pub does, but switched to a higher quality small batch vodka.
The Pickle Shot bottles are currently available at Pickles Pub on Eighth Street, 8th Street Liquors, Anthony’s Beer and Wine on 33rd Street, West O Bottle Shop, Berlin Beer, Wine and Liquor, 45th Street Taphouse, Hammerheads Bar & Grill and Backshore Brewery, both on the Boardwalk at 10th Street, and Hooper’s Crab House in West Ocean City.
“We will be branching out to the rest of Maryland in the coming weeks and hope to have multi-state distribution by next year,” Justin Acita said. “Our future plans for the Pickle Shot are to take Maryland this year, eventually expanding outwards to surrounding states and hopefully eventually nationwide.
“We’re currently in talks with some distributors and are very optimistic about the success of the brand,” he continued. “We’ve had inquiries from all over the United States especially after a quick segment was aired on Baltimore WJZ Channel 13 news and in newspapers all over the country.”
The Pickle Shot bottle was first launched on Aug. 23 and it took off faster than the couple ever anticipated.
“We’re approaching the sale of our 100th case and have barely even had time to solicit any accounts,” Justin Acita said. “We have increased production and we’re now better prepared to take it to the next level. We have a few plans for brand expansion in the future [so] stay tuned to see what’s next.”
The liquor store and the Iron Octopus, which is Pickles Pub’s whiskey bar, are new additions to the establishment.
“The liquor store came with Pickles,” Brittney Acita said. “But last winter, we expanded. We are all the way down to the end of the block.
“We expanded by putting a ‘beer cave’ – a walk-in cooler where people can pick their favorite 30 packs [in the liquor store],” she added.
The concept behind the whiskey bar is a small prohibition themed speakeasy, offering a variety of whiskeys from the basics all the way up to the sought-after 12-year Van Winkle.
“Our thoughts were people can try before they buy a pricier bottle to make sure it’s what they are looking for,” Justin Acita said. “Also it’s a pretty cool little hideaway to escape the crowds.”
The Acitas have done everything from cooking, bussing, hosting, barbacking, bartending and managing in the restaurant business. Owning a bar had always been a dream for both of them and when the opportunity presented itself, it just seemed like it was fate.
“Pickles has always been one of our favorite bars in town, not to mention it’s one of the first places I took Brittney on a date,” Justin Acita said.
Pickles Pub, located at 706 Philadelphia Avenue, is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. For more information, call 410-289-4891 or visit www.picklesoc.com. Follow the Pickle Shot bottle process journey on Facebook or Instagram @TheOrignalPickleShot.
“We couldn’t be more thankful for all the positive feedback and support that everyone has given us already,” Justin Acita said. “Special shout out to Danny Robinson from Hoop Tea for helping guide us through this crazy process.”