Our pages and website have been overflowing with alcohol this week. We’ve done recent stories on the Union Mills Homestead getting ready for the Maryland Microbrewery Festival, the opening of one new brewery with several others planning to open soon and a preview of the 36th annual Maryland Wine Festival, which takes place at the Carroll County Farm Museum.
We are always going to be in favor of supporting local businesses as well as events that attract locals and visitors alike to enjoy and spend money in our county. We just urge everyone to remember the good times that can and will undoubtedly be had at these festivals and establishments can be undone by a drunken driving arrest or, far worse, a tragic accident involving an impaired driver.
The Wine Festival is, of course, a tradition and annually one of the biggest events hosted in Carroll. In the past, with good weather, as many as 20,000 attendees have turned out to sample wine from Maryland wineries while listening to live bands and enjoying food trucks and crafts. It is set for Sept. 21-22, beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday. More than 20 wineries from across the state are committed, including Dragonfly Vineyard and Winery, Elk Run Vineyard and Winery, Linganore Winecellars and Loew Vineyards, all from Mount Airy. There are several levels of ticketing, including an Explorer Pass that gives access to additional (more unique) wines and a blind tasting as well as designated driver passes.
The Microbrewery Festival, in its 14th year after being rained out in 2018, will be held during Carroll County Beer Week, on Sept. 28, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the grounds of the Homestead. Non-sampling tickets are available. As with its wine counterpart, this festival features live music, crafts and food vendors, as well as homebrewing demonstrations by the Midnight Homebrewers’ League and a cornhole tournament. The main draw, however, is the craft beer and a record 20 brewers are expected this year. Brewery Fire in Taneytown, Johanssons Brewing Company in Westminster, Pub Dog Brewing Company in Westminster and Ruhlman Brewery in Hampstead will be among the 20.
Those are the four breweries currently in operation in Carroll County, with Brewery Fire joining the list just last Friday when it opened its doors and saw quite the initial turnout. But Brewery Fire won’t be the last to open with three other new breweries planning to open taproom locations in the next few months. They are 1623 Brewing Company, which now plans to open in Eldersburg by late October, as well as Flood Zone in Union Bridge and Pipe the Side in Hampstead, both of which could be open by year’s end. Not surprisingly, the new breweries are welcomed by the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s good for tourism, for business, for the community ... a great place to gather," Chamber President Mike McMullin told us.
We agree and we encourage everyone to patronize local businesses as well as the two major events coming up within Carroll County’s borders over the next two weeks. Just do so responsibly.
Those planning to drink should be planning ahead to ensure getting home safely. Perhaps walking is an option. If not, be sure to have a designated driver. As we’ve written in this space before, do something nice like splitting the cost of the designated driver admission to one of the festivals or buy the driver something tasty to eat because that will be far cheaper than the cost of getting a DUI.