DrinkMaryland is in three locations this year. Photo: North Beach, Md.

Cheers! DrinkMaryland Makers Festival Expands to 3 Bay-Region Spots

If you’ve noticed a lot more breweries, cideries, and distilleries popping up in the Chesapeake Bay area, you’re not imagining things. With more locally-made beverages available than ever before, wouldn’t it be great to sample a large group of them in one place?

The Maryland Wineries Association is putting on three events in three different Bay towns for folks to sip samples. DrinkMaryland is an open-air market and happy hour event: think a farmers market but for drinking.

At the events in Centreville, North Beach, and Gaithersburg (read on for details), you can learn about the local craft beverage industry from the wineries, breweries, and distilleries themselves, organizers say, and buy bottles and cans of your favorites to take home.

How was the idea for DrinkMaryland conceived? In 2016, more than 20 Centreville Main Street volunteers developed an idea for a signature event with a working title of Maryland-Made, hoping to attract people to Queen Anne’s County, Md.

“We were looking for an event to showcase our small, historic town and bring visitors who may not have visited before,” says Carol D’Agostino, Centreville Main Street Manager. The intent of the event was also to shine a light on Maryland’s makers such as artisans, authors, and musicians as well as wineries, breweries, and distillers. In 2017, that vision became a reality when the Town of Centreville was invited to collaborate on a similar event on the other side of the Bay Bridge in North Beach, Calvert County. The two towns joined forces with the Maryland Wineries Association to present the first Drink Maryland event. This year the Maryland Makers event is back, with stops in Centreville, North Beach, and the newest addition of Gaithersburg.

First up this summer is Centreville, to be held on June 18, 12-5 p.m.

Gathering in Courthouse Square, Lawyers Row, and Broadway, visitors can sip and shop for Maryland-made artisan crafts like leather goods, handmade jewelry, fashion accessories, and coastal art. Wine Coach Laurie Foster, the main stage master of ceremonies, will lead a tasting with some of her own favorite Maryland-made wine and spirits. J. Coursey Willis and the Stone Authors and the Justin Taylor Band provide the day’s entertainment. 

More than 10 Maryland Makers will be on hand, including Centreville’s own Bull and Goat Brewery and Old Courthouse Distillery, Queen Anne’s County’s Cult Classic, and Lyon Distillery from St. Michaels in nearby Talbot County. Visit DrinkMaryland: Centreville to purchase a tasting pass and for more information on Drink Maryland Centreville.

The following Saturday in North Beach, southern Maryland gets their chance to sample locally made drinks, food, and handmade gifts. On June 25, 12-5 p.m. at 5th and Bay Avenue, the self-described jewel of the Chesapeake hosts the second DrinkMaryland event.

“There’s sure to be a drink for everyone!” organizers say. The list of more than ten Makers already signed up includes Baltimore’s Philosophy Winery, the first African American woman-owned winery in the state; Gypsy Brewing, veteran-owned and “brewing great beer in Calvert County”, the Urban and Olney Wineries and Tenth Ward Distillery.

On Bay Avenue in an open-air market setting within view of the Chesapeake, guests can shop for creations like decorative glassware, specialty food products and tasty soulful flavors from Myra’s Taste of New Orleans. Dog Pound Pedigree provides the live music. Organizers advise us to check back often for more additions to the day’s lineup of artisans and entertainment.

Go to DrinkMaryland: North Beach to purchase a tasting pass and for more information on DrinkMaryland North Beach.

Finally, there will be a last-chance DrinkMaryland event held in September in Gaithersburg, Md. This Montgomery County market will be on Sept. 9, 4-8 p.m. at the Gaithersburg Community Museum.

New to the DrinkMaryland participating towns, Gaithersburg will feature Maryland makers like Loveton Farms Distillery of Middle River, the Tenth Ward Distilleries from Baltimore and Twin Valley of Rockville. Additions to the  list of artisans, musicians, and food trucks are coming soon.

Visit DrinkMaryland: Gaithersburg Tickets for more information.

This summer’s DrinkMaryland events present an opportunity to take a day trip, explore the region, to buy local and support Maryland Makers. Cheers to that.

-Niambi Davis