by AJ Dronkers
We met the Tenth Ward Distilling team at the annual Future Harvest CASA Conference for Sustainable Agriculture in January at a session called "Starting a Craft Alcohol Business: What you Need to Know!" -- and decided to swing by their distillery and tasting room in Frederick, MD to see what they were up to.
The number of local small batch distilleries across the Maryland has been nothing short of amazing, and reflects the state's past heritage of being a top U.S. producer of rye whiskey with small shop, mom-and-pop distillers dotted across the state. In fact, Maryland's craft distilling movement has grown to a point where spirit makers have formed a Distillers Guild with now over two dozen members to aid in building a top class distillery movement and help advocate for favorable legislation for their businesses.
Opened in July 2016, the distillery was founded by Monica Pearce and Kyle Pfalzer to primarily focus on whiskey and brandy. For their apple brandy, they source their cider from local McCutcheon's Orchard in Frederick, MD. Their whiskeys and rye are made from grains and malts from Ripon Lodge Farm in West Virginia.
Edible DC: Why did you decide to start a distillery?
10th Ward: We definitely wanted to get into the craft distilling industry, especially as it's been rising on the tails of the craft brewing boom. Kyle started with a love of craft beer, then learned distilling by transitioning into an internship at Copper Fox Distillery. I also had been in the bar and restaurant industry for a long time so it was a smooth transition for me. The rest was just having the willingness to jump off the cliff and go for it!
We are located in what has long been an industrial area of the city called "the 10th Ward", (a long-established industrial area of Frederick), hence our name. It reflects how the city was originally divided up and the names given to each section. Tenth Ward Distilling Company loves everything Frederick and we're committed to sharing the history of our region, including info on famous Frederick bootleggers and historic distillation techniques.
EDC: What are your plans after getting the distillery started?
A: We definitely want to grow, but starting here to make our name. We are marketing on a grass roots scale as we build our customer base locally first in the Frederick area and surrounding communities. I'd love to be supplying most of Frederick by the end of 2017, so we can start to branch our sales further out into DC and Baltimore.
You can visit, sample, and buy Tenth Ward spirits Wednesday-Sunday 12-6 pm for only $5 on your next trip to Frederick, MD.