Owning and operating a brewery was not something initially in the plans for her family, says Terri McCagh. However, since the family opened 1812 Brewery less than a decade ago, they’ve experienced a lot of success and enjoyed the process, she says. Soon, they’ll expand with help from a $750,000 state grant.
Located outside of Cumberland’s city limits, 1812 Brewery sits off the beaten path on a historic farm owned by the McCagh family. Visitors can sample beer brewed in the converted barn — which was first built in 1812 and is the brewery’s namesake — while enjoying the farm’s views of the county’s sprawling green mountains.
Terri, who is a retired pediatric physical therapist, and her late husband, Dr. Sean McCagh, had owned the farm since 2008 when their sons Cory McCagh and Mike Lastig moved onto the property in 2015. Shortly after settling in, recalled Terri, Cory asked if he could grow hops on the land. In time, both Cory and Sean became passionate about turning the farm into a brewery.“Sean’s wheels were always turning. He was always getting into things, and he thought the barn would be perfect,” Terri recalled. “It needed a lot of work, and they decided to renovate it. It just evolved from there. To think of where we started in 2015 or 2016 and how far we’ve come is amazing.”
From the beginning, said Terri, the entire extended family has been supportive of the brewery and their efforts. Many have worked and volunteered in different capacities at the brewery, helping with bartending and events as needed. Terri’s youngest son Casey, who was finishing up at James Madison University when his brothers first moved onto the farm, earned his certification as a brewmaster last year and plans to eventually join the staff at the brewery full-time. While he currently works at a Frederick brewery, said Terri, Casey still regularly assists with brewing and has developed recipes for 1812.
Terri says she mostly helps out with assorted tasks around the brewery, like finding help for the website, booking catering and facility rentals, and ordering and stocking merchandise ranging from t-shirts to blankets. Following Sean’s passing, she has also helped Cory make big-picture decisions for operations.
Right now, says Terri, they are most focused on increasing distribution in Maryland. Their beer is mostly sold in Allegany County but is carried in some Garrett County stores and restaurants, and they hope to expand into more counties. All production and distribution are done in-house. Cory, along with Terri’s nephews Michael and Sean deliver their products.
After Casey completed his brewmaster training, the family began discussing the possibility of expanding…