Distillery owner proposes August event in downtown Hagerstown

·2 min read

Cort Meinelschmidt had downtown Hagerstown on his mind Wednesday when met with the Board of License Commissioners — also known as the Liquor Board — to discuss a couple of projects.

Meinelschmidt, proprietor of Meinelschmidt Distillery at 54 S. Potomac St., wants to expand an event that last summer was called "Watches, Whiskey and Wine."

This year, he told the board, he'd like to host other distilleries for a tasting event in the mezzanine space above Potomac Walk — an open area between the distillery and Bulls & Bears restaurant.

The event features makers of microbrand watches, who will be set up on the ground floor, he said. Tables for whiskey tasting would be upstairs.

Microbrand watches are usually produced by independent watchmakers. "These were watch brands throughout the country that came here to Washington County for the watch show," Meinelschmidt said.

During last year's show, he said, the distillery was open for tours "and it was a phenomenal event. I think we had 240 people through the weekend show up to buy watches and taste whiskey, and it was a phenomenal event."

He hadn't known microbrand watches were "such a popular thing," he said. "We had people coming from Indiana, New England; we had two Swiss watch brands come in."

The watch show portion is hosted by Hagerstown-based Hager Watches and Maryland Watch Works. And while most of the watches were priced from $200 to $300, one sold last year for $14,000.

"I've never seen so many Porsches in the parking deck in my life," Meinelschmidt said.

But last year, Meinelschmidt Distillery was the lone purveyor of whiskey. This year, Meinelschmidt wants to invite other Maryland spirits brands to join in.

He'll need to apply for day-event liquor licenses for the two-day event, set for Aug. 6-7, according to board administrator Vaun Miles-Swain. And each of the vendors participating will need an off-site sales permit.

Meinelschmidt's second proposal is still being developed, but involves opening a permanent venue for a weekend beer garden in downtown Hagerstown. Beer and wine would be the only alcohol sold, he said, and food trucks could rotate through.

He'd also have a stage for outdoor music, he said.

If he goes forward, he'd apply for a separate license for the venture, he told the board.

"Well, at this point I would say we heard (the idea)," said board Chairman Robert J. Buczkowski. "We'll leave it at that for now."

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Mail: Meinelschmidt Distillery owner proposes expanding Hagerstown event