Welcome to Blackwater Distilling
Maryland’s distilling roots run deep. Prior to Prohibition, Maryland proudly produced what was widely regarded to be the nation’s finest whiskey, a distinct style called Maryland Rye. During the 13 years of Prohibition, Maryland’s enterprising farmers continued to turn their plentiful harvests into high-proof “swamp lightning” in stills hidden among the coves, inlets, and marshes of the Chesapeake, and oystermen and crabbers smuggled the “good stuff” up and down the Bay, evading Federal Revenue agents and the Coast Guard and finding safe haven among the close-lipped communities that lined the tidewater.
But rarely did they face harassment from local authorities. Maryland, the only state never to enact a Prohibition enforcement law, was known as the “wettest state” during Prohibition. It was during this time that Maryland figures such as Governor Albert Richie and author and Baltimore Sunpapers columnist H.L. Mencken rose to national fame for their vehement opposition to what they viewed as an egregious overreach of Federal authority, and rumrunners like Pete “King James” Kelly rose to infamy.
At Blackwater Distilling, Maryland’s first fully-licensed beverage alcohol distillery since 1972, we celebrate this brash, enterprising, and fiercely independent spirit by crafting distinctive spirits that stand apart from the crowd, using organic and local ingredients to the extent possible.
Our first product is Sloop Betty vodka, which blends spirits from organic wheat and sugar cane for a dangerously smooth and complex vodka. Sloop Betty has won three Gold Medals, including "Best Vodka in Show" at the 2012 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition, and a 94-point rating in The Tasting Panel Magazine. For Sloop Betty's counterpart, Sloop Betty Honey, we blend raw, unpasteurized honey from Maryland's Eastern Shore with Sloop Betty to create a sippable vodka that can be enjoyed on the rocks or used to sweeten cocktails.
Later this summer, we'll be doing our part to make Maryland synonymous with rye whiskey again, and be on the lookout for our white rum as well!
Tour the Distillery!
Open Friday-Sunday 12-6pm
Come see how Sloop Betty vodka, Sloop Betty Honey, and our other products are made! Blackwater Distilling is open Friday through Sunday from 12pm to 6pm for free tours and tastings. You'll learn about the science and art of fermentation, distillation, and barrel aging (of our rye whiskey and rum!), and you'll get to taste the full range of Blackwater Distilling products. You'll also learn about infusing fruits, herbs, and spices into our vodka and white rye to make your own naturally flavored vodkas and moonshines! We've even got Ball jars, ingredients, and recipes!