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Blackwater Distilling's Sloop Betty Vodka hitting stores, restaurants Friday

Woodberry Kitchen, Kooper's Tavern are some of the first local restaurants selling Sloop Betty, features writer Jill Rosen reports.

Maryland's first distillery in nearly 40 years has begun to bottle its flagship spirit.

Blackwater Distilling, the company of Eastern Shore natives Christopher and Jonathan Cook, reports that its Sloop Betty vodka is available in the area.

Though widespread distribution is set to start on Friday, the premium wheat vodka can now be found at some Baltimore-area restaurants and retailers.

For instance, they're pouring it at Woodberry Kitchen and Kooper's Tavern.

It's retailing for about $32. It will be available throughout Maryland, DC and Delaware.

The distillers will be donating a portion of proceeds to the scenic Eastern Shore preserve that inspired its name -- the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.

The Cooks have been working on their distilling plan for more than seven years. Though Maryland was once one of the country's top spirits producers, the state has been dry since local producers folded, as rye, the region's signature spirit, fell out of favor.

Photo: Sloop Betty bottles (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun)

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