(Nov. 30, 2018) Bourbon and whiskey aficionados can sample a wide variety of blends during the inaugural Dry 85 Bourbonfest, held at Residence Inn by Marriott on 61st Street, Saturday, Dec. 1 from 1-5 p.m.

“The bourbon train has left the station and there’s an incredible wave of interest in bourbon in particular, but whiskey in general,” Dry 85 owner Brian Bolter said. “I felt like there was an opportunity in Ocean City for us to hold this event … This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”

More than 20 different varieties of whiskey and bourbon from Japan, Scotland, Ireland and some rare Dry 85 private barrels will be available for sampling. Beer, wine and cigars will also be available for purchase.

Dry 85 will collaborate with Maker’s Mark for the Maker’s Mark cocktail contest, where five local bartenders will create a signature drink. Guests can then vote for their favorite.  


A signature Maker's Mark cocktail competition will take place at the inaugural Bourbonfest.

“There is a lot of interest in whiskey and as one of the Top 40 bars in America, according to Whiskey Advocates, we have a responsibility and our privilege to teach whiskey to people who are interested and don’t know a whole lot,” Bolter said.

Each ticket includes a complementary glass with a signature red Maker’s Mark wax dipping. Guests can also create their own drinks at the Irish whiskey-Irish coffee bar or sample the Signature Knob Creek Cocktail.

Live music will be provided by Bryan Russo Blues Duo and local singer and songwriter Melissa Alesi. A raffle will also take place, with prizes such as free hotel nights and rounds of golf.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn about whiskey in general and bourbon in particular,” Bolter said. “It’s a fun afternoon of tasting and talking with experts. VIP tickets [offer] a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to taste some of our previously private bourbon barrels that we’ve had in the past that are no longer available.”

A portion of the proceeds and all raffle proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity of Worcester County.

Tickets can be purchased online at Eventbrite.com, at DRY 85 on 48th Street in Ocean City or at the event.

Regular admission tickets cost $60. VIP tickets cost $100, which will allow guests to sample 12 private or discontinued barrels an hour early from 12-1 p.m. Doors open to the public at 1 p.m.

Guests must be 21 years or older to participate. Valid ID is required for admission.

For more information, visit www.eventbrite.com.  

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