As part of our #BuyLocalMD series this holiday season, the Maryland Department of Commerce hopes to inspire you to explore the small businesses in your own community.
Get into the holiday spirit with help from our local breweries, wineries, and more. Here's a toast to our favorite picks throughout Maryland.
Lost Ark Distilling Company
Based and bottled in Howard County, Lost Ark's goal is to have you taste the spirit of Maryland with each and every sip. Named after the story of the first Maryland settlers, the company creates artisan-crafted spirits using as many locally-grown ingredients as possible.
The distillery even names its spirits after staples in Maryland's history, including Anne Arundel – the wife of Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore. Tip: The Terra Mariae Spiced Rum features hints of vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and is perfect for any Christmas gathering.
Known as an American farmhouse cidery, MillStone prides itself on being traditional, handmade, and delicious. Since 2011, MillStone's single barrel fermenting method has created more than 1,500 batches of rustic cider, with no additives or filtering along the way. Visit the restored grist mill Friday through Sunday for tastings, or catch MillStone at local farmers markets until the end of December.
Scorpion Brewing Co.
Calvert County's Scorpion Brewing Co. opened in October 2014 after running a successful Kickstarter campaign. The microbrewery stays true to its local heritage by naming the business after a fleet of ships that battled the British during the War of 1812. Visit on December 16 and bring your presents – the Calvert Marine Museum will be on hand to wrap gifts while you sample the brewery's selection.
Dove Valley Vineyard and Winery
Built with the dream to create a family-legacy, Dove Valley is the first vineyard and winery in Cecil County. The business rests upon a 100 acre family farm in Rising Sun, where multiple generations of Hepbron family members hold the same passion close to their hearts. It looks like all their hard work is paying off – the winery has won a multitude of awards since 2009. Check out their accomplishments here.
Located in Western Maryland along the West Virginia border is Cushwa Brewing, which gets its name from the basin within the C&O Canal. The Cushwa team's goal is to not only produce a stellar product, but also have a major positive impact in the community. We are sure the town of Williamsport is loving their presence.
Founded by Fell's Point resident Danny Robinson, Hoop Tea is an adult iced tea manufactured in Ocean City. The tea – which is almost entirely organic – is brewed with tea leaves, purified water, organic cane sugar, herbs, fruit, and an old fermenting process is used to create the alcohol.
Robinson considers Hoop Tea a healthier alternative for the alcohol industry, with a focus on wellness and sustainability. The beverage is sold in environmentally-friendly pouches and currently available in bars and liquor stores throughout Maryland and the surrounding states. Find a seller near you. Tip: Pair the peach tea lemonade with your holiday meal.
Charm City Meadworks
The only meadery in Baltimore City, the founding of Charm City Meadworks was a joint effort between two Chesapeake Bay protectors and avid beer aficionados. Now co-owners, James Boicourt and Andrew Geffken turned their mead-making hobby into a full-time business adventure. This honey and water combination is taking Charm City by storm. Did you know that mead is the oldest alcoholic beverage in history?
Real Ale Revival
Built in a former bowling alley along the Chesapeake Bay, Real Ale Revival may be small but it certainly has a huge following. Proudly brewed in Cambridge, RAR offers 12 taps that are always changing. The brewery's products are sold in various stores throughout Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. Find a store near you.
The Urban Winery
Based in Silver Spring, The Urban Winery is a one-of-a-kind destination. It's known as the first winery in the region to be located in an urban environment, and, it's the closest winery to Washington, D.C. The winery also offers a "make your own wine" experience—the only one offered in the entire Mid Atlantic region. We can't think of a better personalized gift for the holidays!