Dan Malz is a science guy and a rum aficionado who always dreamed of making his own rum. Three years ago over a pint of Guinness, that dream was on the way to becoming a reality. That's when Malz and his three business partners, John Marek, Keith Sutton and Matthew Zappernick, founded Portside Distillery
, Cleveland’s first distillery since Prohibition.
Portside Distillery produces small-batch artisan spirits and craft beers from its lakeside location on W. 9th
and Front streets. Malz and his partners got the distillery’s name from their location. “We’re right on the lake, and rum is a very nautical term,” he says. We’re on the side of the port and in the same building as the Cleveland Port Authority
, so it fit up well.”
Their first batch of silver rum was released in December of last year. “Silver rum is un-aged rum,” explains Malz. “It’s just high class distilled spirits.” Portside rum hit 22 state liquor stores in January. “The first batch of 800 bottles sold out in three days,” says Malz. “The second batch is in stores now.”
Plans are underway to expand Portside’s selection. “We’re going to make vanilla maple rum and spiced rum,” says Malz. “And we have a couple of beers brewing right now.” Malz and his partners are brewing double pale ale, followed by an imperial stout. The two new rums should be available later this month.
Additional plans include a restaurant at the distillery, which is scheduled to open this summer. It will feature upscale food, eight Portside beers and 18 local guest brews on tap.
Portside is currently looking to fill two positions, one in the brewery and one in the distillery.
Source: Dan Malz
Writer: Karin Connelly