CAMDEN—It has been a twisty, tumultuous path for Blue Barren Distillery’s owners Andrew Stewart and Jeremy Howard. When they first opened on the “quiet side” of Camden in 2019, little did they know the business’s direction would be anything but quiet.
After a June 2020 fire that partially destroyed buildings in the Lyman-Morse boatyard, which forced the distillery to move its operations to a Hope blueberry barren in August 2021, Stewart and Howard had their sights set on eventually returning to Camden once the Lyman-Morse marina had been rebuilt.
With a couple of weeks of a soft opening under their belt, the distillery’s tasting room and restaurant expect to be fully launched at the official opening August 2.
“Originally we were going to move the distillery production back down to the waterfront, but that became too cost-prohibitive to move it twice, so we decided to keep production in Hope,” said Stewart. “And now the area set aside for the distillery is going to be a tasting room, a gift shop, and a bottle shop. Our plan in the future is to have a small display still so we can show people the process of distilling and maybe do classes, but that will probably happen next year.”
The tasting room will feature cocktails primarily made from Blueberry Barren’s spirit line. One signature cocktail, in particular, is finding popularity among locals: The Lavender Sky.
“It uses Barren’s Glendarragh Gin, using English lavender grown at Glendarragh Lavender Farm in Appleton with a lavender simple syrup, ginger beer, and lime — so a riff on the traditional Moscow Mule,” said Stewart.
The restaurant will have 50 seats upstairs and 50 seats outside on the deck overlooking the wharf. The restaurant space will be air-conditioned in the summer and temperature-controlled in the winter. While a new menu is being finalized this week, Stewart said, the restaurant menu will have all of the family classics, such as fish and chips, burgers, nachos, wings, oysters, and mussels.
“Potentially the plan is to be open year-round with the exception of January when we do a deep clean and a reshuffle,” he said.
Stewart said moving back to the same place they were forced to vacate after the fire and COVID-19 lockdowns have produced “so many feelings.”
“We are a little overwhelmed; there has definitely been a relief, but we’re excited and really looking forward to getting up and running,” he said. “The feedback has been really positive so far. Our staff are predominantly high school kids and college kids who live in the area and it’s just a fun, community vibe.”
For more information visit: https://bluebarren.com
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org