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Springfield Manor Winery and Distillery
by
Terry Sullivan

Springfield Manor DistillerySummary: Along the beautiful drive on Route 15 north of Frederick, Maryland, lies a 100-acre estate, now the site of an 18th century manor house, winery and distillery. A large portfolio of spirits will please many spirit enthusiasts.

Prior to Prohibition, Maryland was the third leading state in whiskey production trailing Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Rum was the first spirit distilled in Maryland in the 1600s; however, the spirit industry did not survive, mostly due to Prohibition during the 1920s and early 1930s. Recently the spirits industry has awakened as entrepreneurs like John and Amie St. Angelo are opening craft distilleries. The Springfield Manor Distillery is the first distillery to open in Frederick County, Maryland.

Springfield Manor DistilleryJohn and Amie purchased the farm along a beautiful, rural stretch of Route 15 in 2004. Now the 100-acre property includes a manor house dating back to 1765, a winery, distillery, tasting rooms and event center. In 2004, the couple planned to subdivide a portion of the property for building lots. Unfortunately when the real estate market drastically fell, they abandoned this plan. It was suggested that John and Amie turn the property into a wine country inn. They decided to start a winery. Since craft distilling laws were favorable, they decided to open a distillery in 2011.

Distillery

Springfield Manor DistilleryWe met John on our visit to the winery and distillery and he showed us the distilling area. Prominent in the distilling area is a gleaming copper and stainless steel Arnold Holstein still, manufactured in Germany. The steam fired still includes a pot and two columns. John hired a teacher to teach him how to distill using his equipment at the distillery. At the time of our visit, John was preparing to distill a molasses mixture and make rum. Barrels, stacked in the room, are used to age different spirits.

John is proud of using local products. The corn used to make spirits are farmed on the property by the family. They also have a field of lavender that is used in the botanicals for making gin. Fruits used in brandy production are sourced locally. When proofing down spirits (adding water to lower the alcohol), John uses the limestone water from wells on the property.

Springfield Manor DistillerySpirits Tasting

The distillery tasting room is in a separate area adjacent to the winery tasting room. Two tables display the portfolio of spirits. These include fruit brandies, grappa, lavender gin, rye whiskey, white corn whiskey, caramel corn whiskey, bourbon and four rums. We tasted three of the distilled spirits.

Apple brandy was a light gold color with 40% alcohol (80 proof). It had an apple aroma and taste. The spirit had a smooth mouthfeel with heat on the finish.

The Bourbon was a gold color with 40% alcohol (80 proof). There was a corn aroma and taste. The mouthfeel was very smooth and there was just a hint of heat on the finish.

Springfield Manor DistillerySpringfield Manor DistilleryThe Lavender Gin was a clear color with 45% alcohol (90 proof). It had a very strong lavender aroma and taste with hints of juniper. This spirit was the silkiest in the mouth with no heat on the finish. Lavender and juniper were noted on the aftertaste.

John also provides a gentle spirits education. While tasting the spirits, another visitor stated that he did not know the difference between a whiskey and a bourbon He thought that bourbon could only be produced in Kentucky. The visitor left with a bit more knowledge about spirits.

Springfield Manor Distillery showcases what craft distilleries can achieve in Maryland. Visitors can spend time outside on the expansive deck, enjoying the setting and the day. John wants people to know that, “Springfield Manor is a happy place to be, especially on a beautiful day.”

Springfield Manor Winery & Distillery
11836 Auburn Rd,
Thurmont, Maryland 21788

GPS: N39º 33.509’ W77º 26.093’

 

Article written October 2016


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Copyright: Terry and Kathy Sullivan 2016