If you have ever vacationed in Ocean City, MD you have heard about Seacrets.
Seacrets is often described as the "Disney World of bars": it is a fully immersive experience complete with sand covering every square inch of the ground, palm trees swaying in the breeze, and reggae music wafting from every direction. It is most well known for having bar seating out in the water with wait staff serving you tropical refreshments not just on the bay, but in it.
Erected in 2016, Seacrets Distillery is the first distillery built in Worcester County since the end of Prohibition in 1933. Seacrets first rented space in Delaware to get their sea legs before building their own $5 million facility on site. They now produce Spiced & Gold Rums, sweet White & Coconut Rums, Lemon Drop Vodka, Orange and Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka, Gin, and traditional Bourbon and American Whiskies.
The distillery opened its doors at 11:00am and we just made it for the first tour. After getting our ID's verified and paying the $10.00 fee for the tasting we were handed our time cards and prompted to use the time clock before getting started. After pulling the big machine lever, we finally had a moment to look around. The entryway to the distillery was so beautiful it was striking, with great, wooden doors rescued from a 1920's era building and board-lined floors. We were unable to take it all in before we were whisked into the elevator.
Once in the elevator, a relic that Seacrets salvaged from an old building in Chicago, we looked in every direction to admire the walls. There was an original tin roof, original elevator doors (now on display as the side walls), restored and updated button panels, and a working "UP/DOWN" sign illuminated above our heads.
During our tour, we learned that Seacrets Spiced Rum even won a victory over Captain Morgan in a national competition last year and that they will be expanding the distillery by 30 feet to accommodate their new stills, in an effort to keep up with the demand. The bar's location being on the same property, they showed us where their empty liquor bottles come to be sanitized and refilled to eliminate waste.
During prohibition, there were two popular ways you could acquire alcohol. The first required knowing a location of and codeword to a speakeasy, though this was risky as it was inherently illegal for both servers and thirsty customers. The second involved getting a prescription from your doctor. While some patients did have a perceived medicinal need for distilled spirits like bourbon and brandy, most of these prescriptions were bogus. Physicians and pharmacists mostly did this to make a quick buck. To access the tasting room, we had to enter through the pharmacy, shimmy into the telephone booth, and get the password for the speakeasy. Once inside, we were able to trade our time card (with our tasting selections on the back) for our "medicinal" alcohol.
I tried their Lemon Drop Vodka, Orange Vodka and award-winning Spiced Rum. The lemon vodka was absolutely delicious and tasted like limoncello, the orange vodka was good enough (though not my favorite), and the spiced rum was out of this world. It had so much flavor, and can only described it as tasting like "Christmas" to me. We even bought a bottle on our exit through the gift shop!
Behind the bar was Rob Tinus, Seacrets Construction Manager and excellent surfer. Rob graciously answered all of our questions about the building and even showed us where they found a mummified rat in a 1920's era railing he had shipped in from Chicago. He hopes to be in liquor stores along the eastern seaboard in the next 20-24 months.
Before bringing us back down the elevator, he presented us each with our medicinal alcohol prescription, complete with our full names printed on them (pulled from our license verification). As someone that appreciates attention to detail and an incredible user experience, this was IT. From start to finish, we were immersed in the prohibition illusion that Seacrets Distilling Co. recreates and truly enjoyed every detail poured into the space.