Ocean City Seacrets

Leighton Moore, founder of Ocean City Seacrets – a complex of 19 bars and restaurants and seven stages on the Maryland shore – is a born showman and a man who tirelessly seeks out new interests and challenges. His latest is building his own distillery on the Seacrets premises. To supply his bars and a burgeoning retail market, Moore is building on the former site of Seacrets Hotel what is Maryland’s first limited-licensed distillery that is part of a food and beverage establishment.
Many distilleries, breweries and wineries host tours of their operations and make money doing so. But the Seacrets Distilling Company will not just take guests on a tour of the operation. It also will transport them back in time to the last day before the end of Prohibition – Dec. 5, 1933.

Moore has located and purchased a speakeasy full of authentic 1930s artifacts such as a door with a sliding, “Joe-sent-me” eye-slot panel, a 1910 roll-top desk, several bars from old taverns in Chicago and elsewhere, antique railings, a paper mill fire door from 1900s Detroit, ceiling tile and manual time clocks and more to create a theme-park-like immersion in the distilling art.
“Factory workers will be in the time and period dress from the 1930s,” Leighton promises. “I’m a big art deco kind of guy.” So that style from the 1920s and ‘30s will be prevalent in the decorating, the glass block used throughout and the artifacts furnishing the distillery.

The Tour

A five-ton elevator with two doors will transport up to 42 guests on the tour, who will enter one side of the elevator and exit from the other. They will follow a figure-eight pattern so they never retrace their steps. Guests will punch in at an authentic manual time clock when they arrive and punch out when they leave. This will entitle them to a 10 percent discount in the gift shop that will sell the distillery’s liquor and other merchandise.
Even the background music on the distillery tour will be from the Prohibition era, and modern announcements will be made in the style of that era, played back on speakers from the 1930s and recorded in the glories of low-fidelity monaural. Guests will pay $15 for the tour, which includes three half-shot liquor samples at an authentic, vintage bar.
Seacrets Distilling Company will be an actual production facility distilling various flavors of vodka, rum and gin under the brand of Seacrets Spirits. The $2 million, 12,000-square-foot facility’s output gradually will supplant the product from Seacrets’ previous supplier, Delaware Distilling in Rehoboth Beach, Del., so Moore can participate more closely in the distilling process.
He estimates the money he will save by distilling liquor himself will pay for the new distillery in five years. Moore calculates that the facility will produce approximately 15,000 gallons of liquor for consumption on-premises and 85,000 gallons in bottles for retail.

Real Fruit Liquor

Moore plans to experiment with maceration of various fruit in the liquors. Already Delaware Distilling produces blood orange vodka and coconut and spiced rums for Seacrets.
Moore intends to marinate real fruit in the liquor for up to six weeks to produce a natural taste. He prefers this natural route rather than adding flavorings. “I want to use as little of the store-bought natural flavorings as I can,” Moore emphasizes. “I want to keep it as close as I can to nature.”
The distillery will be a concrete structure with four floors, a mashing tank, five fermentation tanks and stills up to 20 feet tall. Room for expansion will be included. Construction is being managed in-house at Seacrets with the company’s carpenters and plumbers working on the project along with 10 subcontractors.
The exterior will be antique brick, an exterior insulation and finish system and glass block. Tours are scheduled to start June 29 with trained tour guides who will be able to answer questions about the artifacts and the distillation process on the tour.
“We won’t have tours until the tour guides are ready to answer the questions and knowledgeable in what they say,” Moore declares. “When we open for tours, it will be as professional as we can do it.”
He stresses the qualifications for tour guides will be exacting. “I just want good, nice people that are willing to learn what is going on in here and have a gift of gab and a love of people.”

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