St. Michaels medal­ing

Eastern Shore Brew­ing takes home seven awards from craft beer show

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By CON­NIE CONNOLLY cconnolly@ches­

ST. MICHAELS — You could say Adrian “Ace” Moritz is a “hoppy” man.

That’s be­cause Moritz and his wife Lori, own­ers of Eastern Shore Brew­ing in St. Michaels, won more awards than any other com­pet­ing brewer at the 2017 Mar yland Craft Beer Com­pe­ti­tion.

Be­sides the sec­ond-place best in show award in the form of a heavy, “straight-up wrestling belt,” Moritz said, the old­est Eastern Shore brew­ery won two gold and four bronze medals in six cat­e­gories at the Sept. 9 com­pe­ti­tion in Upper Marl­boro.

“It’s al­ways fun win­ning an award. For us, it’s the ic­ing on the cake,” Moritz said. “We’re not in this for the awards. It’s to brew a good prod­uct and make peo­ple happy and make a cou­ple of dol­lars, too.”

“We cleaned up,” Moritz said, laugh­ing. “We’ll be hum­ble if peo­ple ask us, but were we in here do­ing cart­wheels? Yeah, of course we were.”

“The awards are fun. It’s ac­co­lades, it’s pat-on-the­back stuff,” Moritz said. “But for us, it’s the ca­ma­raderie, too. For a lot of those events, you’re hang­ing out with your friends, every­one’s brew­ing re­ally good beer, and it’s fun to watch it all go down and see who’s get­ting the awards.”

“Evo­lu­tion (in Sal­is­bury) got the gold for the best in show, so you know it’s nice: We got the gold and sil­ver on the Shore,” Moritz said. “It’s not like any­one is say­ing, ‘Oh darn, they got the gold and we didn’t.’ It was ‘All right, Evo­lu­tion, good job.’”

“It’s a lit­tle bit of brag­ging rights, but there are an aw­ful lot of good beers that don’t end up in the com­pe­ti­tion,” Moritz said.

“It’s awe­some” to win the awards, brew­mas­ter Zach Mi­lash said. “I was pretty as­ton­ished.”

Mi­lash has been with the com­pany for seven years, “just af­ter I turned 21,” he said.

“This has been, by far, our best showing we’ve had in the com­pe­ti­tion, and it was just amaz­ing,” Mi­lash said. “We’ve been work­ing our (butts) off. It’s been two, two-and-a-half years try­ing to make this hap­pen, so to get a lit­tle bit of val­i­da­tion is very ex­cit­ing for us.”

“The com­pe­ti­tion in the state is very tough,” Mi­lash said. “There’s a lot of brew­eries mak­ing some ex­tremely good beers, and it’s al­ways a mov­ing tar­get be­cause every­one is al­ways get­ting bet­ter. So any year we win an award, I’m thrilled about it.

To be a brewer, “you have to like to clean,” Moritz said, yelling to Mi­lash in the of­fice. “What is it, Zach — 75 per­cent clean­ing and 25 per­cent brew­ing?”

“More like 99 per­cent clean­ing,” Mi­lash said.

“And you’re us­ing yeast and all these lit­tle mi­cro­scopic or­gan­isms and stuff,” Moritz added. “You gotta make sure they’re happy, their en­vi­ron­ment is what they like. We call them our min­ions. We go in there, and they’re bub­bling away — there’s 10 mil­lion of our min­ions in that tank do­ing our bid­ding.”

The in­de­pen­dently owned, fam­ily busi­ness is the old­est craft brew­ery on the Eastern Shore. Moritz said more than 45 dif­fer­ent styles of beer have been brewed on site over the years, win­ning more than 25 awards in nine years.

Moritz and Mi­lash credit the 2010 Wa­ter­fowl Fes­ti­val for in­spir­ing their hunt­ingth­emed beers. Their porter named Duck Duck Goose still is brewed as a fall-win­ter sea­sonal beer.

On Oct. 19, the brew­ery launched its first canned beers. River City Can­ning rolled into town with its mo­bile can­ning line and set up shop for the day in the brew­ery at 605 S. Tal­bot St.

“It was big stuff for us,” Moritz said. “We canned 10,000 that day, and 90 per­cent were sold prior to be­ing canned. They will be avail­able from Cam­bridge to Kent Is­land, all through Anne Arun­del County and Wash­ing­ton, D.C., as well.”

The suc­cess of the brew­ery has at­tracted the at­ten­tion of in­vestors.

“I’ve been ap­proached by nu­mer­ous in­vestors to re­ally ex­pand it, but we like not hav­ing in­vestors. We like how we’re fi­nan­cially sit­u­ated,” Moritz said. “We like be­ing in­de­pen­dent and mak­ing our own de­ci­sions.”

“For Zach to come up with an idea for a beer and be­ing able to pro­pose it to my­self and Lori, and for us to able to make a de­ci­sion right there is eas­ier than mak­ing a pro­posal to a litany of in­vestors,” Moritz said. “We can make changes re­ally quickly. We can in­vest back into the com­pany the way we see fit.”

“Grow­ing the way we grow is a good base for us,” Moritz said. “We love St. Michaels. I love the school sys­tem here. I love the com­mu­nity.”

The fu­ture of the com­pany al­ready is on the mind of 11-year-old Joyce­lyn Moritz.

Moritz said dur­ing his daugh­ter’s fifth-grade grad­u­a­tion ceremony at St. Michaels Ele­men­tary School, she an­nounced to the au­di­ence, “I’m go­ing to run Eastern Shore Brew­ing, my mommy and daddy’s busi­ness. I will in­herit it.”

“We call her the ‘hops heiress,’” Moritz said, laugh­ing yet again.


Eastern Shore Brew­ing co-owner Adrian “Ace” Moritz dis­plays the sil­ver “best in show” belt the St. Michaels craft brew­ery won re­cently at the Mary­land Craft Beer Com­pe­ti­tion.


Still ju­bi­lant af­ter win­ning six awards at the 2017 Mary­land Craft Beer Com­pe­ti­tion, Eastern Shore Brew­ing co-owner Adrian “Ace” Moritz, left, and brew­mas­ter Zach Mi­lash pose in front of the fer­menters that pro­duce their craft beers in St. Michaels.

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