Did you know Tenth Ward Distilling Company’s whiskey is now 100% Maryland Grown? Not only is it Maryland grown, but the farms and farmers providing grain to the distillery, Amber Fields Malting and Brewing in Keymar and Guy-Dell Farm in Jefferson, are located right here in Frederick County! When asked about Tenth Ward’s recent announcement, Founder and Boss Lady, Monica Pearce said, “I get all the warm and fuzzies when thinking about the raw materials for our whiskeys being 100% locally sourced! I like to use the word sustainable in this case because it means so much more than just to be sustainable to our environment through these practices. It also means we are better able to sustain our business, our community, our farms and more. We are able to affordably source these items in our backyard, cut down on emissions, support local agriculture, create jobs, keep our staff motivated and connected to our region, promote tourism, develop a good quality product, contribute to our economy and the list could go on!”
Amber Fields Malting and Brewing, known as Maryland’s Original Malt House, is owned by fifth-generation dairy farmer, Greg Clabaugh. In 2000, Greg began the research and development of his malting business to diversify the family farm. Through experimentation, Greg became a true innovator in the field. He has grown the same variety of rye for decades, producing it for cattle feed, grain, and now malting the grain for beer and spirits. How did Amber Fields connect with Tenth Ward? Greg met Bret Kimbrough, Tenth Ward’s Head Distiller while shipping his malted rye to another distillery. With the impending retirement of their partner farmer out of West Virginia, Tenth Ward began the search for a new source of grains. Bret connected with Greg and the rest is history. Greg has been able to customize his operations to meet the needs of Tenth Ward, helping the distillery produce a truly unique product. Most distillers do not use malted grain; however, Bret explained that distilling with malted rye gives their spirit a softer, sweeter composition. Also, to be named “Maryland Rye,” the whiskey must contain a minimum blend of 51% rye. Tenth Ward is proud to say that their Maryland Rye is 100% rye from Greg’s farm. Fun fact: Governor Moore just approved legislation designating Maryland Rye Whiskey as the State spirit!
Providing ingredients for distilling is a new endeavor for Lance Guyton, owner of Guy Dell Farms. He is an eighth-generation dairy farmer who had been getting Tenth Ward’s spent grain to feed his cattle. As Monica continued to search for a producer of smoked corn, a potential opportunity presented itself right in front of her. Having an established relationship with Lance, she expressed her need for a partner farmer to grow and smoke corn for her. Lance was up for the challenge and thrilled about the opportunity to diversify his farming operation. Interestingly enough, Lance’s family had a history in the distilling industry, and he was excited to help tie his family back to their roots. Pre-prohibition, his mother’s family owned and operated Ahalt’s Mountain Spring Distillery in Burkittsville. With expertise in welding and fabrication, and research and assistance from experts, Lance utilized resources to build his own smoker. He began smoking corn for Tenth Ward at the start of 2023. Tenth Ward uses his product in their Smoked Bourbon and Smoked Corn Whiskey.
We are proud to see partnerships form across our Homegrown Frederick industries. “The thriving craft beverage industry in Frederick County has helped provide new opportunities for our local farmers, increasing the economic growth of two industries on the local level,” says Katie Stevens, Director of Workforce Development and Ag Business at the Frederick County Office of Economic Development. These collaborations truly make Frederick County’s ag and craft beverage industries a special community to be a part of.
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