After considerable construction delays at a North Laurel location, the owners of Lost Ark Distilling Company have announced they are moving their operation to Columbia.
The company originally planned to open in a facility off Washington Boulevard, according to co-owners and business partners Brad Blackwell and Andy Debenham, who both signed a lease agreement in March 2015.
However, as construction was pushed, Blackwell said the location was "no longer viable," leading the owners down a different path.
Permit applications at the Columbia location on 9570 Berger Road have been submitted to the county and construction will begin within the next few days, lasting about six weeks.
Lost Ark Distilling Co. of Maryland is set to be the first artisan to distill rums and whiskeys unique to Howard County and will be using corn and grain grown locally.
By Patti Restivo
May 07, 2015 | 7:00 AM
"I've been doing a lot of reading lately and Columbia is really up and coming," Blackwell said. "There's so much money being poured into Columbia and I feel like it's going to be the next big suburb outside Baltimore and D.C. I think the type of people who are in Columbia really fits to our ideals and customers."
Lost Ark specializes in distilling their own whiskeys, rums and specialty liqueurs, Blackwell said, as well as seasonal products.
Three products in the works include Lady Anne white rum, Terra Mariae spiced rum and 1634 corn whiskey. Blackwell and Debenham also plan to age Maryland style rye whiskey and bourbon in barrels.
Everything revolves around Maryland, Blackwell said.
"Our name comes from the original settlers of Maryland who came over from England on two ships, the Ark and the Dove," he said. "The idea behind what we wanted to do at Lost Ark was that everything needed to be handcrafted and artisan crafted and made by us. We didn't want to import anything or have it made somewhere else."
While corn and wheat grains come from Howard County, Blackwell said barley will be grown and transported from Carroll County, with molasses used from Domino Sugar in Baltimore.
"All of our whiskeys will be made with Maryland-grown grains," Blackwell said. "The first whiskey we're going to release is a corn whiskey and it'll be 100 percent Maryland-grown grain and 90 percent of those grains will actually be grown right here in Howard County."
Nearly 40 Manor Lane residents are urging Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and the County Council to address "a number of violations" by Manor Hill Brewing in Ellicott City, despite the owner's repeated assurances that its in compliance with the farm brewery permit rules and regulations.
Lost Ark Distilling will join the county's brewing companies Jailbreak Brewing Company, nearly Lost Ark's former site on Washington Boulevard, Manor Hill Brewing on Manor Lane in Ellicott City and Frisco Taphouse and Brewery on Dobbin Road in Columbia, and is scheduled to open this fall.
Blackwell said the business also hopes to receive a state license in the future to allow their product sales at restaurants, bars and liquor stores.
"That's what we plan to do at first so we can build out, show our face and let everyone know that we want to build that personal relationship," he said. "We're super excited about it. We're right off of Snowden River Parkway, so it's a high-traffic area. It makes a great destination."