Thursday, May 7, 2015

Lost Ark Distilling to Open in Howard County This Fall

Lost Ark Distilling has announced plans to open the first craft distillery in Howard County by September 2015. They recently signed a lease on space in the same office park as Jailbreak Brewing on Route 1.

The owners were making home-brew beer but decided when they began exploring business opportunities that the craft beer market has become too crowded (though Jailbreak Brewing seems to be thriving!).

Production is expected to include 2500-3000 cases of rum and whiskey, with tastings later in the year.

About Lost Ark
Hoping to tie their new venture to Maryland's history, the owners chose to name the distillery after one of the two ships (The Ark and The Dove) that brought the first settlers to Maryland in 1634 including the first Governor of Maryland, Leonard Calvert (the second son of Lord Baltimore).

(In a bit of poetic license, it was The Dove and not The Ark that was lost on a return trip to England laden with timber and furs.)

They plan to source as many of the ingredients locally within Maryland as possible, including corn and grains grown on Maryland farms.

The Lost Ark Products
Lost Ark wants to begin with rum and corn whiskey that require less aging, and then add rye whiskey and bourbon as those products mature.

Historically, Maryland was known for its rye whiskey and Whiskey Bottom Road takes its name from a place where rye whiskey from a Laurel distillery was loaded onto trains for shipment.

The still-nascent Maryland distilling industry has hopes that one day there will be a Whiskey Trail through Maryland, with the state reclaiming its heritage as one of the top whiskey producers in the nation.

Other Ventures
In addition to Jailbreak, Manor Hill Brewing has also begun production using crops grown on the Marriner family's Ellicott City farm in Howard County.

Initially the beer will only be available in the family's Victoria Gastro Pub on Snowden River Parkway in Columbia until production increases from an initial run of 2000 barrels per year to full capacity at 15,000 barrels.

As an aside, the Marriners intend to open a second restaurant next year called Food Plenty in Clarksville, near the intersection of MD-32 and MD-108.

On the distillery front, Lost Ark won't have the field clear to itself in Maryland, though the state's distillers are taking a very collegial, mutually-supportive approach. In the largest venture Kevin Plank, the owner of Under Armour, plans to open Sagamore Spirit Distillery in Port Covington with an initial focus on a rye whiskey.

Sagamore Spirit intends to launch in time for the 2016 Preakness.


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