On The Town

DuClaw Brewing Expands its Operations

The state's third-largest brewery moves a bit closer to Baltimore.

As far as Maryland breweries go, DuClaw Brewing Company might be considered the underdog. Its beer aren’t as widely available around the country as some other nearby brew titans and it has a penchant for off-the-wall releases (like chipotle peppers, or creating Colossus, a beer with a whopping 17.3-percent ABV).

But now DuClaw—which was founded in 1996 and is currently the state’s third-largest brewery—is rising up the ranks, as it’s moved from a small facility in its Bel Air hometown to a 600,000-square-foot facility in Rosedale. The new space is about six-times larger than its original and features a custom-engineered brewing system from Germany to go with the new digs. 

“One guy can manage multiple 60-barrel batches of beer at time,” owner Dave Benfield said, while leading a tour of the brewery. “Everything is automated, computerized, and touch screen.”

Mimicking the brewery’s move into a bigger space, the company itself has been growing. DuClaw’s current capacity is 30,000 barrels compared to where it started at just 1,000. And now the beer is available in five states: Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. Benfield says DuClaw will be in North Carolina in about a month. 

To date, the brewing company has opened four restaurants, created 35 beers (with other variations and blends), and says, by far, its most popular is the Sweet Baby Jesus, a chocolate peanut butter porter that accounts for about half of DuClaw’s sales.

Coming off the bottling line while we toured was the X8 Spiced Winter Warmer with flavors of molasses, maple syrup, and ginger spices. The X8 will hit Baltimore shelves and taps around the second week of December.

“A lot of breweries come out with series or related lines,” Benfield said. “But we look at each beer as completely unique and individual. We don’t want our creativity to have any bounds.”

This innovation is evident everywhere in DuClaw’s brewery—from the hundreds of oak barrels aging one-off releases, down to its bottle caps that proclaim: “Craft be cherished. Rules be damned.”

While the tasting room is far from being complete, DuClaw’s new facility is now open for private tours and tastings by appointment only and can be nailed down by calling 443-559-9900.