You probably hear a lot of talk about shopping local and eating local, but how about drinking local? Yes, we’ve got great locally owned retail shops here in the greater Annapolis area — trust me, it’s easy to spend a lot of money at some of these amazing stores. And we’ve got great locally-owned restaurants — you could eat at a new place every day and never let your palate get bored.
But today, let’s take a chance to brag about how great the local wine and beer scene is here in Annapolis. We have some great local wineries and breweries that produce excellent products you’re going to want to enjoy for your next happy hour.
Why Drinking Local Is Great
It’s somewhat surprising that “Drink Local” as an ideology doesn’t get as much hype as “Shop Local” and “Eat Local.” After all, drinking local has many of the same benefits. Here’s why it’s always great to be part of a community that drinks local:
- First and foremost, the product is always going to be unique to your area. The beer created at a local brewery or the wine at a local winery will be made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and the process is likely given more attention by an entrepreneur who calls your community home. You can expect this business owner to take their product seriously and even tailor it to reflect the local culture. For example, here in Annapolis, it’s not unusual to find a brewery making beer that pairs perfectly with Old Bay-seasoned crabs. Drinking local is a celebration of local culture.
- Secondly, you’ll probably get a chance to meet those beer brewers or winemakers on your visit to their brewery or winery. If they have the availability, and if it’s safe to tour their facility, they might even give you an up-close-and-personal perspective on how their product is created. This is not only entertaining — it gives you a better appreciation the next time you take a sip. Plus, it’s always great to know the entrepreneurs you are supporting with your patronage.
- Wineries and breweries are good business for your local economy. Like other locally owned businesses, they contribute to the tax base and provide jobs for your fellow community members. But in the case of wineries and breweries, they’re probably making it possible for sophisticated, trained experts in the industry to find employment right here in Annapolis. Somebody who knows a lot about wine (and who wants to find a job putting that knowledge to good use) can get a job right here instead of relocating out to Napa, California. It’s great to know we’re able to keep that expertise here!
- Drinking local tends to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Because the product is made using local ingredients and is sold by local retailers (sometimes even on site at the winery or brewery’s associated restaurant), there isn’t as much transportation or packaging as there would be with a national label. And because the owners of the business live right here in the area, they have an interest in treating the ecosystem well. They’re not going to tear up forested areas to build a vineyard if they know it’s going to cause a bunch of stormwater runoff that might hurt the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
- Drinking local is also an excuse to enjoy other aspects of local culture. Maybe your favorite brewery holds live music every week, so you can stop by to enjoy a drink while listening to a talented local artist. Or your favorite winery might have a menu built to pair perfectly with its wines.
- Feeling a little introverted? Visiting a brewery or winery is a great way to meet new people while bonding over a shared interest in your beverage of choice. In fact, because breweries and wineries are as appealing to locals as they are to tourists, you’ll get the chance to bond with locals and tourists alike.
Places to Check Out
If you want to explore the drink scene around the Annapolis area, here are a few great places to get you started. Make a point of researching each one ahead of time so you know whether they have any special events planned, what kind of food is served, what kind of food you’re allowed to bring with you (picnic lunches, anyone?), and whether kids or pets are welcome.
Great Frogs Winery
This operating grapes farm and winery offers tastings by appointment, plus there’s food for sale.
3218 Harness Creek Road
Wine Cellars of Annapolis
Consider this your one-stop shop for fine wine, beer, and liquor — plus it also operates Grapes Wine Bar.
1410 Forest Drive,
This nano-brewery and restaurant offers great beers made on premises.
418 Fourth Street
Crooked Crab Brewing Company
8251 Telegraph Road
Beer lovers can check out this brewery and taproom that frequently hosts food trucks.