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People often say they will always remember where they were when John F. Kennedy was shot, when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up, and when the planes hit the Twin Towers.  It's very safe to say that folks around Maryland and Howard County, specifically, will always remember where they were when the floodwaters hit Ellicott City's beloved Main Street district.

It was the evening of July 30, a swingin’ Saturday night where people had come to eat, drink, and be merry at many of the popular bars, taverns, and restaurants that have made that area of the Baltimore suburb such a popular destination for people young and old.  But six inches of rain in two hours changed everything. The ensuing flash flood caused severe damage in the historic district, particularly along Main Street.  Many businesses, sidewalks, vehicles, and more were destroyed by the rushing waters, including the town's landmark clock.  Two people lost their lives.

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Posted by on in October 2016 Editions

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From a distance, the tale of the Scotch whisky business has been much the same for some time: single malts keep climbing, up about 50 percent in the last five years, while blended volumes continue to sag, now accounting for only about 80 percent of the category here in the States.

But what’s beneath the macro data points? Like with all spirit categories, there are trends and issues on the horizon poised to impact the Scotch whisky business.

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Posted by on in October 2016 Editions

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Saké is hot! Perhaps not literally. While hot saké is still popular, much of the growth in the U.S. is in premium styles, typically consumed chilled. More than a third of Japan’s saké production comes to the U.S. these days, and that doesn’t even account for the majority of saké Americans are drinking (over 70% of which is domestic).

While most drinkers still probably have their saké experience at a sushi restaurant, saké is also finding a place in retail shops and Western restaurants, just as other Japanese ingredients like wasabi are finding new homes. Wine and beer importers are taking note, so saké is moving beyond specialist Japanese importers, who have traditionally focused on Japanese outlets. Wine and spirits importers have added saké to their books and are bringing it to all sorts of accounts. The recently signed Trans-Partnership agreement will also make it that much easier for sake to find it’s way here.

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Linganore Winecellars in Mt. Airy, Maryland, one of the oldest wineries on the East Coast, and in their second generation of wine making is celebrating its 40th anniversary with the start of the 2016 harvest from their 75-acre estate vineyard.  Committed to making excellent wines, dry and sweet, grape, fruit and artisanal wines, the celebration will kick off in late September at the winery.  Events are also planned for October, November and December 2016 (details at bottom). 

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Started in 1971 as a hobby in hope of a dream, Jack and Lucille Aellen purchased the 230 acre farm and planted a few acres of vines on its rolling hills.  Wine making was a hobby then, having German-Swiss roots on Jack’s side and Italian roots on Lucille’s.  In 1974, Lucille’s father gifted the Aellen’s with his hand press and two hand-crank crushers, which the family used to open the winery in 1976.  Understanding that one-size-did-not-fit-all when it comes to taste in wine, Jack strove to produce many different (30+) wines, becoming a pioneer in the industry, denoted by the Maryland Wine Association’s “Jack Aellen Cup” for Fruit wines and Meade.  That tradition continues to this day, with the winery producing 38 different types of wine in 2016. 

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Posted by on in October 2016 Editions

Throughout history, there have been many famous Belles.  Belle Watling was the original hooker with a heart of gold in "Gone With the Wind."  The Memphis Belle was one of the great flying fortresses of World War II.  And 'twas Belle who captured the heart of the man-turned-monster in "Beauty and the Beast."

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Well, there's a new Belle about to make history.  Local beverage history, that is.  Old Dominion Spirits' Belle Vodka has already taken Virginia by storm.  Next on its list?  Maryland and Washington, D.C.  Billy Reilly, the company's vice president of sales and marketing, has the lowdown.  When he started with Warrenton-based Old Dominion back in February, founder and President Townsend Lundsford and his partners had Belle in 40 ABC stores and about 20 bars, restaurants, and other venues.

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