Behind the Scenes at Baltimore Whiskey (and Brandy and Gin) Company and Prohibition 101

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Part 1 of a CITYPEEK series of Articles on Prohibition, Moonshine & More:

In just four year, the dream of starting the Baltimore Whiskey Company distlillery in their home town of Baltimore, Maryland, has become a reality for Baltimoreans, Max Lents, Ian Newton, and Eli Breitburg-Smith, The troupe of friends found inspiration by their city’s pride and are determined to bring a culture of rye, whiskey and spirits manufacturing back to Maryland.


Since most of us reading were born after 1918, let's get some education-'cliff note' version- prohibition history. Between 1918 and 1933, the United States was legally a dry nation. Prohibition attempted to outlaw the manufacture and distribution of alcoholic and 'intoxicating beverages.' As per Maryland State Archives, "The constitutional enactment of national prohibition in 1920 and its progressive aim of uplifting American society only lasted until 1933. Public opinion evolved in those thirteen years from supporting national prohibition to denouncing the attempt at legislating morals. Prohibition has generally been ridiculed in American history as a failure."

Maryland was distinctive, seen as a pioneer in the temperance movement becoming one of the wettest states in the union.  Maryland’s geography, especially the Chesapeake Bay, and its diverse communities, made it a prime port of call for bootleggers.


Ok, back to the Baltimore Whiskey Company. They are off and running producing brandy, gin and whiskeys. They profess their Baltimore Shot Tower Gin to be the manufacturers of first 'legal' gin made in its state since the end of prohibiton in 1933. The notes are floral and sweet, with jasmine flower on the nose and citrus on the pallet. Unlike its British counterparts, their gin lacks a 'piney' flavor. It is 100% proof. There is also a barrel version of the Baltimore Shot Tower Gin. Both sell for around $35.

For those that don't know its history, the Baltimore Shot Tower is an ode to Chrm City's Shot Tower, formally the Phoenix Shot Tower. The 234' tower was erected in 1928, and until the Washington Monument, was the tallest monument in the USA. Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, laid its cornerstone. It is one of only eleven shot towers remain in existence. (photo:

Green is Gold Apple Brandy is also their local superstar and, is sold exclusively at the company's headquarters. Housed in a Rye barrel for seven months and transferred to a used French Oak Port barrel for the final two months is how Green is Gold Apple Brandy is made. Bottled at 92 proof it retails for around $50.

Charles Street Apple Brandy is distilled from local in a house-fermented apple juice, on Charles St. Apple Brandy is fermented and distilled on peels and pomace, smoked with cherry and oak woods. Inspired in part by the local terroir of apple orchards as well as the lovely, smokey spirit of mescal. The also make an unsmoked version,

And we round out their family of current offerings with their 1904 Ginger Apple brandy liqueur. It is sweeter, macerated with ginger and spices and named after the great fire in Baltimore in 1904.


Whiskey is being distilled in barrels, as we type, and Max explained to me, it should be ready to drink next year, in 2018! I cannot wait.

Patti Neumann is Founder of & an award-winning 21 C website & blog. She is one of the region's top Social Media Publicists and Influencers on food, sips, hospitality & the good life. has its finger on the pulse of what's hot in the world of food, cocktails & travel trends.

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