Welcome to Frederick Behind Bars. For those of you wondering, yes, frederickbeer.com had been the home to Frederick Beer Week. Currently, it is being repurposed to tell the stories of craft beer and brewing . Those stories can’t be told without acknowledging all aspects of the industry – the tap rooms, the liquor stores, and the customers – and not just the breweries and the brewers. But I want this site to be more than that.
Yes, it will be about the craft beer industry, and the focus will be on Maryland, but this e-zine will neither be exclusive to Maryland, nor to just the beer industry. I will be attempting to explore the region’s entire craft beverage industry – distilleries, wineries, cideries, and mead makers from all over Maryland as well as parts of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia will find their way to this web page. Hell, I might even dip my toe into Delaware’s scene from time to time.
For those of you who follow this page, it will start out very Frederick-centric, and the main focus will always be this area, but there are many of these makers in our neighboring states and counties who make in-roads into Frederick, and many people here who travel, when circumstances allow, to those places. We travel, we visit breweries, wineries, distilleries, and more in our neighboring communities. As such, their stories are relevant to our stories, and even part of our stories.
Many of these other breweries have connections back to Frederick, or have in some way been part of Frederick’s story. Gear House (in Pennsylvania) has collaborated on beers with Frederick brewers, and their founder once brewed professionally here in Frederick. In Virginia, Harpers Ferry Brewing Company’s brewer once brewed at Flying Dog, as did the brewer at Vanish. The list is extensive. There are brewers all over Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia who once worked at Flying Dog, Frey’s, Milkhouse, Brewer’s Alley, and Barley & Hops.
Guinness, Waredaca, Antietam, Upper Stem, Beltway, and Four Score are just a handful of places that have connections and roots in Frederick.
But it’s not just about the beer. We live in extraordinary times, and craft beverage consumers – distilleries in particular – are rising to the occasion. Like brewers shifting their business models during prohibition to the production of ice cream, sodas, and medicine, many small spirits producers have shifted at least of portion of their production of hand sanitizers in order compensate for decreased revenues during the quarantine.
Many states have designated these beverage producers as “essential,” allowing them to stay open, however, without the benefit of tap room sales – a significant portion of income for these companies. The states have relaxed regulations, allowing for the long dreaded and demonized delivery of alcohol in order to compensate (more on this in May’s editor’s letter). It’s a new world for all of these businesses, and it’s likely to be some time before we return to any semblance of normal.
The news here will sometimes be hard, sometimes it will be puff, but I’m hopefully you will find all of it informative. Join me twice a month – the 15th and 30th – on my little sojourn through the craft beverage industry.
In the meantime, stay safe and stay healthy.
Prost, The Brewddhist.