(By Andrew Zaleski, Washington Post, 1/25/2018)
Baltimore writer Van Smith has stashed away nearly three cases of Pikesville Supreme. (André Chung/For The Washington Post)
In the summer of 2016, Naomi Karzai, the bar manager of Pen & Quill — a slightly upscale restaurant blocks from Baltimore’s Penn Station — heard an unwelcome rumor from a bartender friend. “I didn’t believe him,” she recounted later, “but I was nervous.”
Word was that Pikesville Supreme — a solid, unassuming, spicy yet smooth rye whiskey born in Maryland and beloved by Baltimoreans — was going out of production. So the next time the bar’s alcohol distributor stopped by, Karzai bought 20 cases. “It’s good and inexpensive,” she said of the whiskey, which retailed then at about $18 for a 750-milliliter bottle. “It does all of the things that we Baltimoreans like.”
In October 2016, Heaven Hill Distillery, which produced Pikesville Supreme, officially confirmed the news. At that point, the hoarding began in earnest. The Wine Source, a liquor store in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood, sold close to 700 bottles of Pikesville in the month following the announcement. (In previous months, the store had sold an average of 84 bottles of Pikesville, says manager Lauren Loeffler.) “Most of the people I know have their own little stashes,” Van Smith, an erstwhile Baltimore City Paper reporter and Pikesville Supreme devotee, told me in June. He had bought five cases of Pikesville — at $150 a case — from Canton Crossing Wine & Spirits in December 2016.
Continue reading at Washington Post.
- Rye Shills: A Short History of City Paper’s Long Obsession with Pikesville Rye
(By Van Smith, City Paper, 1/23/2013)