Meet Maryland’s MISCellaneous Distillery

Road Trip!

MISCellaneous Distillery: Mt. Airy, Maryland

Join us on our Road Trip, visiting Craft Makers across America!

On today’s Road Trip stop we are meeting up with Dan McNeill—owner, founder and distiller of MISCellaneous Distillery in Mt. Airy, Maryland. Follow along as we explore their distillery and delicious spirits.

We had so much fun with Dan and hope whenever anyone in Tippler Nation is nearby they pay him a visit and support MISCellaneous Distillery’s journey by bringing home a few bottles to build out delicious craft home bar of their own!

 

“At MISCellaneous Distillery, we have a passion for distilling that is inspired by the old Maryland craft traditions and new traditions that we and others will shape. Locally sourced and distilled, our true mark of success is creating a spirit that is enjoyed by those who drink what they like, and not what they’re supposed to drink. We take great pride in bringing you the finest award-winning lineup of spirits in the area. Using only the finest, locally-sourced ingredients, we’ve developed a family of hand-crafted spirits with a unique Maryland flair.

We opened our doors at MISCellaneous Distillery in December 2016 with a commitment to creating high quality spirits using local inputs. Since then, we’ve grown into an amazing small team and now offer 10 award-winning spirits that you can find at stores, bars, restaurants, and farmers markets throughout Maryland and DC. And we love our local community, so we work with several local non-profits to help them achieve their missions as well.

MISCellaneous Distillery

https://www.miscdistillery.com/

Highlights

00:08 – Intro & Welcome

00:51 – Intro to MISCellaneous Distillery

01:42 – Tour in the distillery begins

03:08 – Brill’s Batch Bourbon Tasting

04:42 – Poncho, Lefty, and Georgia: The Stills

05:48 – Gregarious Gin Tasting

06:42 – More of the distillery tour

07:28 – Popi’s Finest Rum Tasting (and the history behind it)

09:10 – Distillery tour continues

09:41 – Gertrude’s 100% Rye Whiskey Tasting

10:59 – Closing & Thanks

About Your Hosts

The Crafty Cask celebrates and supports craft alcohol makers through engaging consumer content, events, virtual tastings, and online education. We help craft enthusiasts drink better and craft makers market their brands better to build thriving small businesses that keep #TipplerNation drinking well!

Your hosts for this event, alongside the featured maker, are Suzanne Henricksen, Founder of The Crafty Cask and Evan Rothrock, sommelier, certified cider professional, mixologist, and bespoke wine tour guide.

Read the transcript

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(Upbeat Music)

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Hi I’m Suzanne Henricksen a researcher, and storyteller by trade, and a world explorer,  

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drink local enthusiast by heart. I’m 
traveling the world to celebrate and  

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share the people the process the stories 
and the innovations behind craft alcohol  

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and I can’t wait to share our amazing finds with all of you so let’s get drinking Crafty Cask style

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(Banjo music)

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[Suz] Hello, hello Tippler Nation [Evan] Hey guys!
[Suz] we are here we are at  MISCellaneous Distillery in Mt. Airy, Maryland.  

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[Suz] We are so excited to be here we are going to take a little tour we’re going to do a little taste we’re  

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[Suz] going to learn all about MISCellaneous Distillery really and then we’re going to share it all with all of you!

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(Banjo Music continues)

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[Suz] so how’d you guys get started you’ve 
been around a couple of years right 2000-.  

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[Dan] yeah 2016 we opened uh open our doors at the end of the year. you know for me I wanted to make something  

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[Dan] real physical that was all all mine you know that I could hang my hat on each chair and say I made this  

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[Dan] product and it took a little while to pick up what that was…until I realized I really love, you know rum and really love whiskey

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[Dan] Especially Rye Whiskey

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(Music continues)

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[Dan] so everything is starts here this is an electric steam boiler here that’s our main source of heat  

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[Dan] for ‘Josey Wales’ which is our mash time so ‘Josey Wales’ being the outlaw with the Clint Eastwood movie

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with the movie um- I’m a huge Clint Eastwood fan-
so I had to name at least one piece of equipment after it

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[Dan] and what we do here is we’ll add 
in our raw ingredients in the water  

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[Dan] so for our rums we’re just adding in blackstrap 
molasses with dark brown sugar if you look inside  

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[Dan] we’ve got a great big paddle mixer in there that’s going to mix this all up about 200 RPMs  

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[Dan] and that’s going to get us a nice emulsification- emulsification get that all stirred up and I’ll  

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[Dan] transfer the rum…for fermentation over to one of these and I’ll do open our fermentation for about  

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[Dan] five days. all our whiskies are…for our ryes 100% rye grain everything else added so we don’t do any  

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[Dan] malting without doing any corn by doing barley and then the same idea for our corn whiskey 100% corn  

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[Dan] but for bourbon since I really like rye and bourbon has to be 51% corn, I do 51% corn, and 49% rye

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(indistinguishable)

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[Dan] so this is BRILL’S BATCH BOURBON WHISKY….um, this is the straight version so we have had the straight aging less than 2 years

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[Dan] thats straight only..

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[Dan] so this is actually named after May, my wife’s, grandmother…
[Suz] I was wondering

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(Chatter and laughter)

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[Dan] so well the funny thing was there’s not like  

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[Dan] you know my grandmother was a drinker, my great grandfather lived in Cuba yeah

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[Suz] Sure! Yeah, the stories fit!

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[Dan] with brittle and- we’re celebrating 
her 90th birthday July 4th so  

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[Evan] Oh cool!

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[Dan] you know she’s still with us for a long 
time I was actually like hesitant to put  

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[Dan] her photo on the bottle because the other two have already passed and so there was a little like..  [Suz] sure..

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[Dan] and might tempted fate but anyway she’s she’s still alive she’s and he put the labels out um

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[Suz] and its kind, for her to be alive and like witness this, and be like ‘oh my god its bourbon!’

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[Dan] We saw her a couple months ago, she was like ecstatic, she had a bottle of this sitting on her like credenza whenever, there was like light shining right at it

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[Dan] its like…it’s a photo of her! You know? (laughter)
[Suz] that’s cool!

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[Dan] so 51% corn, 49% Rye

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[Dan] it’s all made the same way you know with the stones and everything but it really just barely means that definition for bourbon, right?

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[Dan] Poncho and Lefty are kind of our finishing stills so basically all our recipes do a double top installation  

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[Suz] it looks like we have something happening in this one-
[Dan] Georgia is our vodka and gin still
[Suz] okay

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[Dan] so we are currently making a vodka, this is off of our uh, rum-run. All of our vodka and gin is molasses based.

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[Suz] I read that! Yeah thats fascinating. There isn’t a lot of great molasses based vodka or gin out there

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[Dan] it’s more expensive

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[Dan] so usually you’re using one of 
those cheapest style of your formula  

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[Suz] right
[Dan] but I really like the flavor of this, it’s a  
unique process
[Suz] and you’re already using molasses

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[Suz] Throughout that whole process for rum and everything, yeah cool

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[Dan] so this is running, we’re going to 
collect about four and a half gallons  

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[Dan] at 95% that’ll be our vodka put it back in the pot the next day  

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[Dan] run it again but this time we’ll 
actually use the gin gasket at the top  

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[Dan] and do a vapor fusion six botanicals in our gin, juniper, pink peppercorn, lemon peel, orange peel, grapefruit peel, (unknown). And that’s it

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[Dan] so that’s a it’s a light contemporary style gin
[Suz] yeah the grapefruit and pink peppercorn sound kinda fun

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(Upbeat music)

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[Suz] the gin is great too..
[Dan] now the gin, the same idea, we got the vodka and then you just add the vapor infusion

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[Dan] with these…sticks..
[Suz] it’s pretty light on the juniper

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[Suz] rose maybe…things that are really like heavy Juniper flavor are not my jam um I actually have been playing around a lot  

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[Suz] more aquavit than gin lately because I love the idea of the botanicals that Juniper is not  

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[Suz] like my favorite, favorite um 
whereas the caraway is kind of fun

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[Suz] Yeah but I like that yours is much more citrusy, and bright and kind of light than like ‘Christmas Tree’

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[Dan] that was the plan you know? It’s the- you still get Juniper, especially on the nose, the Juniper comes

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[Dan] through on that, and it comes bit in the mouth but you know, for the palette  

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[Dan] but for the most part that palette was 
really dominated by the citrus which is what I wanted

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(Music continues)

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[Suz] I haven’t seen is before this kind of yeah yeah yeah so these operate like plates you were saying?

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[Dan’ Exactly they’re just like plates so the 
idea here is that with the bubble caps um  

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[Dan] what you’ll have this is called the ‘Floodinator’ so you’re running cold water through here  

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[Dan] uh basically flooding you know the vapor back into liquid form and it floods these  

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[Dan] two plates so then as that vapor comes up from the pot you know vapor comes up from the pot  

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[Dan] you have a barrier of liquid at the top of these bubble caps so it’s going to come out  

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[Dan] of that vapor form back into the liquid as that vapor form back into it but every time  

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[Dan] it does it use the heavier properties like water behind and the alcohol becomes pure, and pure as it comes through it  

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(Music continues)

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[Dan] so now this is the barrel age version of our rum this is POPI’S FINEST RUM and as you see on the  

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[Dan] bottle this is my great grandfather from Cuba he was born in the states but then moved to Cuba at  

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[Dan] two years of age and lived there until he was in prison in ’59 when Diesta fell and Castro came in  

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[Dan] so he was in prison for about 5 years before they finally released him and then he moved to Puerto  

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[Dan] Rico and live the rest of his life there
[Suz] well I think Popi would be proud that’s that’s nice  

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[Dan] so this is you know been in uh one of those 30 gallon barrels this batch of 650 days we’re now  

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[Dan] even surpassing that you know over 2 years and it just kind of develops this wonderful  

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[Dan] full body flavor again you know keeping it at 50% mostly for the idea of if you want to drink  

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[Dan] this neat [Suz] you can
[Dan] you can but you can also we trust that everybody in the United States has a  

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[Dan] safe reliable source of fresh drinking water so they can proof down to whatever their suiting is  

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[Dan] so the higher I leave it the more you can play with it
[Suz] yeah it’s funny when we do a lot of our  

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[Suz] whiskey tastings we’re constantly kind of trying to teach people that because a lot of people will  

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[Suz] be tasting some of these things you know like Balconies Rye or something that’s like really  

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[Suz] up there and they’re just like it’s ‘woo! it’s too much for me!’ and we’re like ‘okay but that’s intentional actually’  

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[Suz] it’s putting like flexibility in 
your hands that’s not like whoops the distiller  

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[Suz] messed up and they’re making a really hot you know spirit it’s like they’re leaving it hot  

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[Suz] because A: it shows up better in cocktails um and B: now you get to play mad scientist at home  

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[suz] and sometimes you might want it a little hotter and other times you might want it smooth sipping  

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(Music continues)

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[Suz] what are you using these smaller five gallon barrels for?
[Dan] that’s how we started off on all our  

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[Dan] barrel programs so whether it was the bourbon or the rye or the rum we start off with fives ten to  

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[Suz] fifteens and we’re slowly phasing those out focus fully into things [Suz] cool
[Dan] so everything started off  

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[Dan] on that but then we age for less time right 5, 6 months
[Suz] learn a little faster and figure out  

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[Suz] what you want what you like
[Dan] and have truly aged products you know rather than kind of the semi age

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(Music Continues)

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[Dan] so this is barrel aged for 2 years in 
a 30 gallon uh White American Oak  

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[Dan] malt free. um Gertrude was my grandmother on the mother’s side he was also a Rye drinker out in  

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[Dan] Nebraska so we decided that she’s the right person to make this spirit after I used to always go out  

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[Dan] and visit her and shes drinking her Rye and water each night so it’s the same thing but

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[Dan] this was what I was going for, when I knew I was gonna open a distillery, I knew Gertrude was what I wanted to capture

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(indistinguishable chatter)

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[Evan] You said you don’t do, any malting varieties at all just straight rye?

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[Dan] straight rye.

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[Suz] one type of rye?

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[Dan] one type.

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[Dan] and all the grains for all the whiskeys, they’re all milled (indistinguishable)1800s. So we do this so that we don’t heat up the grains

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[Dan] it just kind of nicely breaks apart rather than a rolling mill or hanglin mill thats just heating it up, so we keep a lot more of the oils, keep a lot of that profile in there

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(Music continues)

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[Suz] Tippler Nation we found a treat 
with MISCellaneous Distillery  

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so um we just tasted through their 
entire lineup of 10 spirits and  

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not a bad one in the bunch and in fact amazing 
across the board we just we’re figuring out  

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what we’re gonna take with us um what we’re gonna 
bring back for our giveaways where you can win  

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some of MISCellaneous Distilleries delicious 
spirits as well as some of our other favorites  

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from breweries and cider houses and wineries 
and distilleries around the way so cheers  

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from MISCellaneous Distillery in Maryland and we 
will see you at our next stop soon bye y’all

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(Outro Music plays)

Until next time… Drink craft and drink the world. Cheers!

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