Updated: Jul 6, 2020
In 1872, Captain Benjamin Briggs was at the helm of the Mary Celeste, a large brigantine shipping vessel. The task at hand would have been simple for such an experienced seaman: he was to take some industrial alcohol from New York and bring it to Italy. Something happened, though. Exactly what remains a mystery to this day. Found empty and floating in the middle of the Atlantic, the Mary Celeste shared no word of what had happened to Captain Briggs, his wife, his daughter, and his crew. She was a ghost ship, for all intents and purposes. In the years since, she has become the ghost ship of New England lore.
Everyone in Marion knows this story. We embrace it as a part of our local heritage. Inspiring a wide range of media, everything from feature films to episodes of Smithsonian, the tale of the Mary Celeste, still mystifying and captivating all these decades later, is worth holding onto. We want to do something creative, though, something that pays homage to Captain Briggs while also serving Marion, the town that he called home.
This brings us to Mary Celeste Whiskey and Wine Library, which we believe will fit into Marion perfectly. An idyllic town like something out a Norman Rockwell painting, a true gem of Americana, this little hamlet situated close to New Bedford and Cape Cod is ripe for something new, exciting, and innovative. Between the thriving community here and the seasonal influxes of visitors, we are confident that we can build Mary Celeste Whiskey and Wine Library into a destination just as alluring as the story that is its namesake.
More Than a Bar
The Mary Celeste Whiskey and Wine Library will stand for more than just a good time. Our founder, Mike Achilles, is a Certified Whiskey Ambassador, and he is embracing the ethos “drink less, drink better” at Mary Celeste. We are going to stock one of New England’s largest collection of whiskeys and brown spirits, amassing more than 1,000 bottles in our catalog.
Pioneering a hybrid whiskey bar experience, The Mary Celeste is going to offer all customers a whiskey education alongside their spirits. This is the “dining as an experience” concept that has become extremely popular in many major cities, attracting large portions of people who would stay in otherwise, foregoing the run-of-the-mill restaurant experience if that is all that is available. We have taken a different approach to our restaurant in an effort to excite and thrill.
There will be more than whiskey on the menu at Mary Celeste, of course. You can pair your drink with a light appetizer or a dessert, choosing from our extensive selection that includes Baked Brie with Walnut Bourbon, a Cheddar Gouda Cheese Plate, Chocolate Whiskey Souffle, and Whiskey Cranachan.
Long-term, we are going to develop The Mary Celeste into a meeting place of sorts. We will host weekly tastings and periodic seminars, emphasizing The Mary Celeste as a place of learning and fun. Both our founder and industry experts will oversee these events, covering a variety of topics, such as the distilling process, “whiskey vs. whisky,” and the story of Captain Briggs himself.
Work to Date
The town of Marion has already granted a liquor license to The Mary Celeste, pending our final occupancy permit, and we have surveyed local businesses and residents to gauge enthusiasm for the project. We are currently working to construct the framing, shelves, bar, and ADA ramp, in addition to managing light structural repairs. Finding the perfect space for it – a two-story building featuring up-to-date fire, plumbing, and electrical equipment – we have also won approval to convert the building, previously a beloved bookstore, into a restaurant
What Comes Next
This is a business that makes sense for the area, the location central along the Cape and close to Routes 195, 495, and 25. There is no other such whiskey bar or restaurant within twenty miles along the South Coast, and we are doing something that no other local restaurants or businesses are doing. Most importantly, people are excited to see us open. The Mary Celeste is going to become a landmark in Marion immediately, drawing locals, seasonal visitors, and whiskey aficionados alike. In order to open though we are looking to raise some additional capital to cover the additional costs of construction.
If you would like to support The Mary Celeste by investing in us, please visit