Old Line Spirits
Taste the history of whiskey making in Baltimore

Old Line Spirits

Old Line Spirits was started by two Navy buddies who left corporate jobs to create something from the ground up. They reconnected as neighbors in Baltimore and in 2017, Arch Watkins and Mark McLaughlin launched their whiskey and rum distillery, Old Line Spirits, in Baltimore’s Highlandtown neighborhood.
Meet Arch Watkins & Mark McLaughlin

Why did you choose this particular place for your distillery?
AW: We knew we wanted to have an urban distillery here in the city… because we’re big fans of Baltimore. We… really love the smallness of Baltimore, the charming aspects, the high quality of life, the neighborhood feel. Highlandtown has a really nice mix of industrial, residential, commercial zones… and it’s very close to the Inner Harbor and the Interstate.

 

Where do you tell out-of-towners to visit after they leave the distillery?
AW: When out-of-town visitors come to Old Line and they’re looking for a place to go afterwards, we recommend our friends up the street at Monument City Brewing but of course there’s Fell’s Point, Canton, Federal Hill, and the Inner Harbor which are all very tourist-friendly.

I’m surprised by the amount of people we see from Philadelphia, D.C., New Jersey, New York. People just come down for the day looking for something to do particularly on game days, if there’s a football game or baseball game. They’ll come to the distillery, try some spirits and have a cocktail and off they go to watch the game.

What is the experience like for visitors here at the distillery?
MM: On Saturdays we do tours from noon to 6 p.m. every hour. We take people through about a 30-minute tour of how we make the whiskey and blend the rum and then it ends up with about a 20-minute tasting. And then… there’s our bar, the Ready Room, which is a nod to our naval aviation past. When people come in here for tours they can stay and have a drink there.

This interview has been condensed; portions of it have been edited for clarity.