1748: Annapolis rules on rum. 2015: Annapolis may actually brew it.

Before the U.S. was a country, rum flowed through the Port of Annapolis supplying the colonies with foreign spirits because colonists couldn’t make their own. Nearly 270 years later, the town is about to supply the country with rum again. This time, from its own distillery. 

Avid sailor Dan Bowman is bringing the booze business to Annapolis in the form of Skipjack Distilleries. He’s going through the permitting process now to open in a warehouse/business area at 1817 Georgia Avenue.

Skipjack Distilleries building
Site of Skipjack Distilleries. The lease was signed in early April 2015 for this site on Georgia Avenue in Annapolis. (Photo courtesy Skipjack Distilleries)

Dan has been an IT security guy since 1987 and started home brewing on the side. He also races yachts. Now he’s combined his two side-gigs to become principal owner of Skipjack Distilleries specializing in rum, whiskey and gin.

Shantee Woodards with the Capital Gazette reports Dan has signed the lease and is awaiting federal approval for running a distillery.

Skipjack Distillery will start with 1,900-square-feet of production space that will include a tasting room, according to Sarah Meehan with the Baltimore Business Journal. She reports Skipjack will begin with rum, then add whiskey next year.

The barrels are ready at Skipjack Distilleries as they await federal approval. (Photo courtesy Skipjack Distilleries)
The barrels are ready at Skipjack Distilleries as they await federal approval. (Photo courtesy Skipjack Distilleries)

The company is starting off at the micro level with a 300-gallon still. That translates to one barrel of rum per run, or around 100 to 200 of the 750 ml.-size bottles, depending on the alcohol content of the run.

Skipjack will be joining a small club in Maryland:

  • Blackwater Distilling logoIn 2008, Blackwater Distilling became Maryland’s first big batch distillery since Pikesville Rye out of Baltimore closed in 1972.It’s known for Sloop Betty vodka.


  • Lyon Distrilling Company logoLyon Distilling out of St. Michaels opened in 2012 and makes small-batch rum, corn whiskey and rye whiskey, but rum is their specialty.


  • Twin Valley Distillers logoTwin Valley Distillers in Montgomery County (a Washington, DC suburb) opened in 2014 making bourbon, rum and vodka, billing itself as Maryland’s first bourbon.


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