Blackwater Distilling™, Inc. (“Blackwater”), Maryland’s oldest craft distillery, today announced that the company has been awarded a total of $170,000 in loans and grants from Queen Anne’s County.
In the first phase, Blackwater has received a $100,000 low-interest loan from the Queen Anne’s County Revolving Loan Fund to fund its production expansion. Separately, the Queen Anne’s County Economic Development Incentive Fund Commission has awarded the distillery a $70,000 conditional loan/grant, which will also be used to fund expansion in capacity and product lines and improve the experience for visitors to the distillery. The grant was part of a competitive process that began with twenty applications representing requests for $40.1 million in funding and will be used for equipment purchases and improvements to the retail experience.
“This funding represents a broader recognition that craft distilleries are bringing jobs, growth, and tourism dollars to the areas in which they reside, often supporting upstream agricultural producers in the process,” said CEO Christopher Cook. “Everything in this business is capital intensive, and expanding using cash flow alone can be difficult. Blackwater remains committed to growing in Queen Anne’s County and employing area residents, and this grant shows an understanding on the part of the county that we can best do that when provided the opportunity to expand quickly.”
Blackwater will use the funds to finance capital improvements that will allow the company to more than double its production capacity, improve product consistency, and expand into additional product lines, as well as improve the experience for visitors to the distillery.
“The Economic Development Incentive Fund Commission was established to create economic development programs and initiatives to foster new development, while at the same time investing in the futures of existing businesses in the county,” said Jamie Gilbert, director of the Queen Anne’s County Department of Economic Development. “We’ve seen Blackwater Distilling grow over the past four-plus years and view the business as a tremendous asset to our community. We’re thrilled that Blackwater has made a long-term commitment to the county and fully expect its role in economic growth and job creation to expand in the coming years.”
Blackwater has produced its award-winning Sloop Betty Handcrafted Vodka at its Stevensville distillery for more than four years. The company recently released its second major product, Picaroon Maryland Rum, which is fermented, distilled, and bottled in Stevensville from raw cane sugar. Blackwater expects the grant money will bring it closer to its goal of producing whiskey from local grain sourced from Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Blackwater Distilling is located at 184 Log Canoe Circle in Stevensville, MD. The distillery is open regularly for tours and tastings. Please visit www.blackwaterdistilling.com for the latest hours and to book a tour.