By: Lynne O’Meara, Southern Maryland Restaurants
Did you know Charles County has a distillery? This answer is now, yes! BlueDyer Distilling Co. is tucked away in an industrial space in Waldorf and it is a place you need to visit! Ryan Vierheller and Walker Dunbar opened and sold their first bottle of rum in the summer of 2016. I met them shortly after they opened. I was fascinated with their production methods and even three years later, I still love to take their distillery tour!
Distilling is a part of Ryan’s heritage…here is the history as posted on the BlueDyer website:
“The first “BlueDyer” was active in grain farming, milling, and distilling in southern, Pennsylvania as early as 1720. Seven generations later our founder’s great grandfather and grandfather revived the BlueDyer moniker during their days of active bootlegging based out of Stafford County, Virginia. Our founder, Ryan, 11 generations from the original BlueDyer, founded BlueDyer Distilling Co. in order to produce high quality distilled spirits in the tradition of craftsmanship passed down from generation to generation. BlueDyer Distilling Co. is dedicated to paying homage to the time tested methods of distilling as taught to our founder by his grandfather.”
The actual still from the bootlegging days are on display at the distillery. That history has resulted in exceptional hand-made spirits! And I really mean hand-made! Ryan, with help from his son, complete every step of the process at the distillery. Starting with fermenting, then filtering, distilling, barreling, proofing, and bottling…it is all done there! Ryan believes in using quality ingredients to produce a quality product. When you visit the distillery, you get to see and taste the results! While Ryan is busy inside the distillery, Walker is the outside guy. He is doing a great job getting BlueDyer products into liquor stores, bars, and restaurants.
Ryan and Walker first started distilling Rum (which is now called Gold Rum). After that came Whiskey, Gin, Dark Rum and Barrel Gin (in whiskey barrels). They also have a Port-Finished Whiskey that is a limited-release, once a year. BlueDyer is the only distillery in the U.S. working with cherrywood, which is charred and hung in charred oak barrels to make their Bourbon-Mash Whiskey. While the gin sits for three months, some of the spirits age for one to two years and they are worth waiting for!
The recent legislature has allowed the distillery to have the status of a tavern. They now serve elevated, amazing cocktails using BlueDyer spirits. The recent addition of Beverage Director Dan Marlowe (since November 2018) has been a great move! Dan is a professional mixologist who creates the most interesting, delicious cocktails. I told him I like fruity, sweet drinks and he created a Gin Sour that was fabulous! I also had a Hurricane that was perfect! I’m going back for a Lavender Martini! I watched him mix, smoke, shake and pour creations for distillery patrons. He really is a cocktail genius! Dan says, “Come see us!”
I went on a Wednesday night, which is Game Night. There were groups of people sitting at the long wooden tables and the bar playing board games, sipping craft cocktails, eating food truck fare (delicious wings/fries from Smoker’s Delight), socializing, and enjoying themselves. I plan on going back soon!
Ryan told me, “On-site cocktail service is allowing us to expand.” After distilling for three years, he’s excited to share this new opportunity for patrons to enjoy the fruits (so to speak) of their labors. Another new development to look forward to is the addition of their own food truck. Partnering with a restaurant, this will allow them to always have food available during their operating hours. Yum…I can’t wait!
BlueDyer Distilling is located at 52 Industrial Park Drive, Unit #15, Waldorf, MD. Their hours are Tuesday-Friday 5pm-10pm and Saturday-Sunday 2pm-10pm. Check out their Website and their Facebook page.