Maryland Distillers Celebrate Maryland Spirits Month in November

Maryland’s distilling industry takes center stage with the 2023 celebration of Maryland Spirits Month. Commencing on Nov. 1, this month-long affair is a tribute to the vibrant world of Maryland’s craft distilleries, raising awareness about the industry’s invaluable contributions to the state.

“Maryland Spirits Month is a toast to our rich historical heritage, a vibrant community of makers, and a celebration of the remarkable growth of this industry and its supporters,” said Kelly Dudeck, the executive director of the Maryland Distillers Guild. “Maryland Spirits Month is a journey covering time, innovation, and the shared passion for crafting the finest spirits, making Maryland shine.”
Rye Whiskey in Maryland

One of the highlights of this year’s celebration is the recognition by the 2023 session of Maryland’s General Assembly, which declared Maryland Rye Whiskey the state’s official spirit. Over one-third of Maryland’s distilleries are renowned for their production of this iconic whiskey.

Maryland Spirits Month is filled with exciting events, including the Rye Revival, a multi-day celebration that kicks off with the 2023 Maryland Rye Whiskey Symposium on Friday, November 10 in Baltimore. This conference-style event welcomes the public, whiskey enthusiasts, rye whiskey producers, and professionals from the whiskey retail and wholesale industries to explore the rich heritage and cultural impact of rye in craft spirits.

Following the symposium, the public is invited to attend the inaugural Friday Night Rye: Grand Whiskey Tasting, featuring rye whiskeys and bourbons from ten Maryland distilleries and three renowned guest distilleries, including Catoctin Creek, George Dickel, and Whistlepig Whiskey.

Over the weekend of Saturday, November 11, and Sunday, November 12, Maryland’s distilleries roll out the welcome mat for the public, presenting a rare opportunity to partake in local distillery events. One highlight of Saturday’s agenda is the annual Penny’s Proof celebration at Sagamore Spirit, while distilleries across Baltimore and the state offer a diverse range of captivating events throughout the weekend. Enthusiasts are encouraged to embark on a journey through Maryland’s distilleries, exploring their acclaimed locally crafted rums, aromatic gins, unique liqueurs such as absinthe, and an enticing selection of canned, ready-to-drink cocktail products.

The Impact of Maryland’s Distilling Industry

According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Maryland’s distilling industry contributes more than $2.3 billion to the state’s economy. Additionally, the industry directly supports nearly 25,000 jobs throughout the state. These contributions face challenges during the upcoming session of the General Assembly. Current legislation allowing distilleries to ship and deliver their products to Maryland residents, or to sell more than three 750 ml bottles to visitors, is set to expire on June 3, 2024. This contraction of distillers’ options would negatively impact more than 70% of the state’s distilleries.

Maryland is home to 46 active distilling licenses, with distilleries producing world-class spirits across the state, from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore. A testament to the industry’s diversity, ten women-owned distilleries are among the state’s thriving distillers. The inclusion of minority business owners in the distillery and spirits brand ownership landscape exceeds that of the state’s brewing and winemaking industries.

As part of Maryland Spirits Month, many distilleries offer immersive guest experiences, including distillery tours and opportunities to savor local spirits in tasting rooms and cocktail lounges. Maryland’s finely crafted distilled spirits can be found at retailers throughout the state.

For those eager to join the celebration, please visit or download the MD Craft Beverages App, available for free on the Apple and Google Play stores, to locate and track your visits to Maryland distilleries.

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