“Market Makers” Brian Treacy from Sagamore Spirit


by Rusty Pepper
posted on 04-08-2020

Posted in

In this episode of “Market Makers” we have Brian Treacy the President and a co-founder of Sagamore Spirits in Baltimore, MD stop by to share the history of Maryland rye whiskey and how his distillery is helping Maryland reclaim its history as a premier distiller of rye whiskey!

History of Maryland Rye Whiskey

The history of rye whiskey in the United States can be traced back to the late 1700’s in Maryland where locals enjoyed this spicy whiskey. Unfortunately, the dawn of prohibition halted production and it wasn’t until the 21st century that rye whiskey production came back to Maryland thanks to new distilleries like Sagamore Spirits. 

Brian Treacy Bio

Shortly after graduating from Northern Arizona University with a degree in Business Management, Brian created an outdoor adventure company called Four Season Guides (FSG). Under Brian’s leadership over the next 14 years, FSG sales grew 1700% and the company become known as the premier Backcountry Outfitter in the Southwest. USA TODAY named FSG as one of the “Top 10 Best Family Adventures” and Trip Advisor awarded FSG with multiple “Certificates of Excellence” for being one of the top ranked adventure companies in the United States.

Brian also started a ski and snowboard rental shop, which continues to do well today. 

In 2013, Brian received a call from long-time friend Kevin Plank, who asked him to join Sagamore Spirit as President. In the past few years, Brian’s responsibility has been to oversee the distillery buildout and design, as well as product and business development.  Brian has always said, “There’s nothing more rewarding than starting a business and see it become successful.” Since hitting the market in 2016, Sagamore Spirit has become the best-selling rye whiskey in on/off-premise accounts through Maryland distribution partner, RNDC. In addition to local success, Sagamore Spirit is distributed in 31 other markets, including Japan and has earned numerous gold and double gold medals in spirit competitions. As well as a 96-point rating from Tasting Panel Magazine.  When Brian is not at the distillery, he can be found traveling to help support the brand domestically and internationally.


Signature Rye Whiskey: Our spirit flows from a spring house, built in 1909, at Maryland’s Sagamore Farm – naturally filtered spring water, fed from a limestone aquifer. The same water that fuels our champion thoroughbreds also cuts the rich spice of our rye, creating a spirit as revolutionary as America’s risk-takers and history-makers. Our story is one of passion, of old meeting new, and crafting a timeless American whiskey.

Cask Strength Rye Whiskey: Fueled by Maryland’s great veteran distillers, we forged a new path to define cask strength rye whiskey. There are no shortcuts here; no dilutions or alterations – simply a splash of spring water and a time-honored tradition of patience and purpose. Aged fully, and exploding in color and flavor, it’s a spirit that connects us to a storied past only Maryland Rye Whiskey can claim. These are our deepest roots, distilled.

Double Oak Rye Whiskey: Three diamonds. Two Barrels. One extraordinary Straight Rye Whiskey. After aging our award-winning spirit for four years, we place it into a second oak barrel — and wait. The new toasted staves reenergize the aging process, creating flavors full of caramel and dark vanilla and colors that radiate amber and warm chestnut. It’s a straight rye whiskey perfect for the spirit of celebration.

Cognac Finish: It started as a distillery exclusive, but this fan favorite is too good not to share. We finished our straight rye whiskies in French cognac barrels, revealing notes of velvety spice, apple vanilla, and brown sugar. Rare – and winner of the 2019 Denver International Spirits Competition Double Gold – this whiskey captures the spirit of innovation and tradition.

Calvado’s Finish: We finished our Straight Rye Whiskies in calvados barrels to create this unique rye. Notes of baked apples, cinnamon, and honey from French apple brandy casks combine with our smooth rye profile to create a whiskey that is both luscious and daring. Enjoy lingering hints of cloves and walnut as you sip, savour, and share.

Port Finish: World’s Best Rye Whiskey. 2019 San Francisco World Spirit Competition. We finished our Straight Rye Whiskies in the finest European and American Port barrels. The result is a perfect blend of plum, cherry, and baking spices that conclude with a full, dry finish. This exceptional whiskey should be savoured and shared.

Vintner’s Finish: Vintners make wine as distillers make whiskey. This spirit blends the expertise of both. After aging our award-winning whiskey for four years, we finished it in pinot noir, shiraz, and port barrels for an additional seven months. We then blended the finished whiskies together for a complex, subtly sweet whiskey with notes of dark cherry. Our unique spring-fed water, from our spring house built in 1909, is the singular ingredient woven into each expression of our Sagamore Reserve Series, boasting smoothness and tradition in each sip. Here’s to those who take the risk without knowing the reward.

Moscatel Barrel Finished Whiskey: Risks worth taking — that’s the Sagamore Spirit. We finished our award-winning Straight Rye Whiskey in moscatel wine barrels, creating a bold Moscatel Barrel Finished Whiskey that defies the norm. The taste reveals a surprising blend of fruit and spice, with an extraordinary aroma of gentle sweetness. Our unique spring-fed water is the finale to this whiskey, creating a spirit unrestrained by the rules.