There are now more than 300 craft beverage makers in Maryland, from small teams to large operations, and the number is continuously growing. Most of them benefit economically from on-site visits and sales.
A new, free app makes it easy for craft beverage fans to keep track of all the state’s options. It’s called the Maryland Craft Beverages app, and it’s available on the Apple and Google Play stores.
“It is a guide to all of Maryland’s craft beverage producers that offer a guest experience. The app features trails and passports,” said Jim Bauckman, at Annapolis-based Grow & Fortify, a consulting firm that works with agricultural businesses and that helped develop the app.
“The whole goal is for you to be able to keep a running list of all of the breweries, wineries and distilleries you have visited. You can track the products that you’ve tasted. And you can actually be rewarded for visiting some of our members by participating in the passport programs,” he said.
The app also collects useful data about consumer trends regarding location traffic and preferences.
The app replaces an annual map that was previously produced jointly for the Brewers Association of Maryland, the Maryland Distillers Guild and the Maryland Wineries Association, because in recent years the map would be outdated and excludes operations that opened after it was printed.
The app was funded in part with a U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service grant.
Maryland’s craft beverage industry includes traditional beer breweries and vineyards, as well as spirits distilleries, and more recently those that make fermented hard cider.
There are also producers of mead, considered by some to be the world’s oldest known kind of alcoholic beverage.
“It is basically a wine that is made from honey. You use honey as your fermentable extract. We have several mead makers here in the state that are exploring more traditional still meads, as well as sparkling and carbonated meads, exploring this historic beverage in a way that is innovative and enticing,” Baukman said.
Grow & Fortify has links to the free download for the Maryland Craft Beverages app online.