Maryland’s distilling history dates back as early as the 1500s, when colonists first began producing rum and whiskey. Over the next few hundred years, the number of distilleries surged, solidifying Maryland’s place as a leader in the nation’s spirits industry. Prior to Prohibition, Maryland was the third largest producer of rye whiskey, with over 100 brands on the market.
The 13 years of Prohibition hurt the entire industry, but Maryland gained its reputation as the “Free State” by refusing to pass any legislation enforcing Prohibition. Not surprisingly, distilling rebounded following the repeal of the 18th Amendment, with distilleries increasing production to satisfy demand of the distinctive & renowned spirit unique to our state: Maryland Rye Whiskey. However, the boom was relatively short-lived, and after WWII a combination of economic changes and decreased demand led to the shuttering of one distillery after another, eventually bringing to a close this highly prosperous era.
Since 2008, new distilleries are opening in Maryland at a record rate, reviving old traditions and developing new, unique spirits that reflect the ever-changing landscape of distilling. Each distillery has its own story: from producers focused on locally-grown, farm-to-bottle spirits, to those experimenting with extremely rare ingredients and exotic recipes. From rums & whiskeys to vodka, gin, brandy, grappa and more, Maryland is becoming a mecca for spirits enthusiasts.
Members of the Maryland Distillers Guild are a community of craft producers, dedicated to developing quality spirits and delivering a dynamic experience for visitors. We invite you to tour our distilleries, learn about our distilling processes, and sample locally-crafted spirits. Cheers to a rich heritage and spirited future!
Maryland Distillers Guild Leadership
- President: Brian Treacy, Sagamore Spirit
- Vice President: Monica Pearce, Tenth Ward Distilling Company
- Treasurer: Crystal Rivera, Puerto Rico Distillery
- Secretary: Braeden Bumpers, McClintock Distilling
If you have questions about the industry, or would like to join the Guild, visit our membership page.