|Baltimore around 1910 (Maryland Archive)|
Sagamore Spirit, one of the Plank Industries, seems like a quirky move by Kevin Plank, with its farm architecture taken from his 530 acre Baltimore County farm planted on Baltimore's industrial waterfront by architects of Ayer Saint Gross. The Baltimore firm with its offices overlooking the Domino Sugar operations is Baltimore's waterfront expert, it
“There is no article made in Baltimore that has done more to spread the fame of the city as a commercial center than has Hunter Baltimore Rye.” (1912 publication quoted by Jacques Kelly)When ASG designed Plank's distillery the bigger Plan for Port Covington had not been publicly hatched yet and the distillery was designed as a solitaire. At the initial design presentation to UDARP in March of 2015 the Sagamore representative stated no knowledge about the overall plans for Port Covington. UDARP members considered the farm theme "manufactured" and Planning Director Stosur found that "too many stories [were] being told here". Now, after the full plan is known, one can be sure that the distillery with its 120' old style water tank will eventually stick out as whimsical amidst the glass towers of Under Armour's new headquarters and the dense surrounding city envisioned to emerge from the old industrial Port Covington railyard. But that may be a good thing, given that new towns usually suffer from a certain kind of blandness that comes from everything being new and of the same vintage and mindset. The architecture manages to blend clean, modern details with the rural vernacular of the buildings.
|The Sagamore Farm well-house from 1907|
Whiskey with its own Baltimore story fascinated Plank who was not at hand at the opening and had the stories told by Sagamore Spirit founding partner Bill McDermond. Plank is trying to tie his global Under Armour brand to memorable local roots and generate a narrative of local production.
The distillery is not a toy project. It already provides 50 jobs (without the restaurant which will open in June), its four grain silos hold 40,000 pounds of
|Silos, barns and water-tower on the waterfront |
Two of the three initial projects that now dot the Port Covington waterfront are early indicators of Plank's ambitions for making stuff in Baltimore: City Garage, and the whiskey distillery. The converted Sams Club is currently used for HR offices and will be later demolished.
Plank's high flying company took a few hits recently, demonstrating what Baltimore has learned many times before: In a fast moving
|Careful landscaping by Core Studio Design|
Meanwhile folks who like to chill over a drink and food while gazing over the water of the Middle Branch can do this now not only at Nick's Fish House, possibly also partially owned by Plank, but also at Sagamore Spirit and its new restaurant.
Klaus Philipsen, FAIA
The distillery will be open to the public for free tours during opening weekend on April 21 – 23. Tours will be available from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. with the last tour beginning at 5:00 p.m.
Sagamore Spirits wants to revive Maryland's rye whiskey heritage
The golden era of Baltimore made rye whiskey
|A new whiskey that won awards for the bottle and|
the content (Photo Philipsen)