Food & Drink

Beachside Breweries and Distilleries Combine Sun, Surf and Booze

We love lying in the sand with a frosty beach drink, and we love a good distillery or brewery tour where we can drink straight from the source. But we never thought these two worlds would ever meet—until we discovered brewers and distillers who make their booze right on the shore. Whether they offer the chance to hang on the sandy deck of a brewpub in the Florida sunshine, take a bottle of prized whiskey a few steps to a booze-friendly beach in Oregon, or sit with a fresh cocktail at an oceanfront table in Maryland, these are our favorite beachside distilleries and breweries. Pay them a visit for sun, surf and sipping to your heart’s content.

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Seacrets Distilling Co, Ocean City, MD

The Seacrets complex may be in Ocean City, but it refers to its location as “Jamaica, U.S.A.” What began in 1988 as a beach bar and party spot inspired by the Caribbean island has since grown into a massive compound of bars, stages and, as of 2016, a distillery. Behind the distillery, tables stretch from a beach bar right into the water and eventually give way to a school of inflatable rafts, where swimsuit-clad partiers sip drinks straight from the distillery. While the distillery turns out flavored vodkas for the party set, its range of rums captures the true spirit of the property. Expect a crowd in the tens of thousands if you show up on a summer weekend.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Co., Half Moon Bay, CA

Just south of San Francisco, the town of Half Moon Bay hugs the San Mateo coastline with a string of beaches. In 2000, the locals set up the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, which now boasts a tap room, seafood-focused restaurant and inn—along with one of the best sea views in the country. With diverse year-round offerings alongside seasonal, barrel-aged and small batch releases, Half Moon Bay has something for anyone who appreciates a quality brew by the sea.

Cannon Beach Distillery, Cannon Beach, OR

We already love Cannon Beach because it’s one of the best spots where you can legally drink on the sand (and because countless movies like The Goonies have filmed there to take advantage of the massive rock formations). Cannon Beach Distillery, just around the corner from the shore, is yet another reason to love this Oregon town. The distillery turns out quality spirits in a range of categories, but its Carronade Collection Whiskeys are a thing of cult affection—they’re released every few months and usual sell out within a day.

Backshore Brewing Co., Ocean City, MD

Just down the Ocean City boardwalk from Seacrets, Backshore offers an equally bright and energetic vibe on a much smaller scale, trading the island club vibes for a homey surf shack aesthetic. Pull up a stool at the stripped-down VW bus-turned-outdoor bar and try one of the brewery’s super small batch brews, made just four kegs at a time. While offerings change extremely often, you can get a good sense of Backshore’s personality from its series of Star Wars-themed releases, which have included Hop Solo, Chewhoppa and most recently Millennium Falcon (hopped with Millennium, Galaxy and Falconers Flight hops).

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Hollywood Brewing Company, Hollywood, FL

Hollywood is Miami’s chiller northern cousin. The sands are just as soft, the sun just as warm, the air just as refreshing, but the deals are so much better than at the overpriced tourist establishments of South Beach. Hollywood Brewing produces some of the best tropical-inspired brews in the Sunshine State, including a mango IPA and limon lager, along with a bunch of other creative beers. You can try ‘em all during an unlimited three-hour tasting at the attached brewpub for just $40 as you watch the surf come in. The view is totally unobstructed by hordes of tourists, the beer is super refreshing and the prime Florida beach is unbeatable.