Tyler Hegamyer and Braeden Bumpers
Owners of McClintock Distillery
Age 29 & 28
A business plan that began as mere dorm room discussions between two college friends has grown into Maryland's first and only certified organic distillery. Just 17 months into the business, Tyler and Braeden's spirits have gained international attention -- including, most recently, top honors at the New York International Spirits Competition.
McClintock Distillery, which offers vodka, gins, and whiskeys, also hosts regular tastings & classes, and serves as a prominent wedding & events venue along Frederick's iconic Carroll Creek.
Looking back so far, here's what Tyler and Braden had to say...
On Their Age
Tyler: At first our age did make it a bit of an uphill battle. We were so young and we were entering an industry where most people are not. A lot of our clients are twice our age. You really have to prove yourself, and show your knowledge. But once you do, people respect you that much more.
Braeden: It was tough during fundraising. Going into banks, as young as we were, and securing financing wasn’t easy.
But, on the other hand, we’re also young so we don’t mind working more. Neither of us have kids right now, so this is our baby. We have that extra time to spend. Some other people in the industry also have two or three actual kids, I don't know how they do it.
Tyler: Hometown! And besides that - it’s a great market. We did look at some other markets -- some other opportunities. But, at the end of the day, Frederick was still where we wanted to be.
Braeden: In this city - more than any other city I’ve ever been too - people embrace local artisans. Just walk down Market Street and you’ll notice what I’m talking about. Having such a welcoming community that's excited to support local craft … it’s awesome to be a part of.
Most Rewarding Part of Job
Tyler: Being able to take something from a raw ingredient all the way to a finished good. There's not a lot of occupations that get to do that today: to be able to control the quality throughout the whole cycle. Usually someone in front of you or behind you is dictating the quality of your goods. As long as we ensure we start with good grain – which we do – we get to have control over the entire process, all the way to selling it to our customers.
Braeden: For me, it's interacting with people in our tasting room. Trying people on products and hearing people’s reactions. Its incredible to see people enthusiastic about something we made. And to be able to see that every day.
Tyler: Oh wow, we got a lot of things coming up. We have six or seven products we’ll be releasing in this calendar year, if not a couple more.
Braeden: One we just finished up yesterday. That won’t be released for a while, but it’s a pretty weird one. It’s a cucumber lime infused vodka aged in reposado tequila barrels. Who knows how it will turn out!
Tyler: We had four core products the first year. We really focused on making fine tuning those as much as possible. Now that our staples are established and well-received, we have the ability to branch out and try some things.
Tyler: Start today.
Braeden: And have patience, because its going to take a while. Take your time and do it right.