The trend of local breweries making fresh beer has taken firm root in the Midcoast, with many already open and more on the way.

But another, less recognized yet more spirited trend is starting to emerge with small-batch craft distilling of high-proof liquors. It doesn’t produce quite the volume that most breweries do, but in most cases a little bit goes a lot longer way.

Freeport has Maine Distilleries LLC, producing Cold River Vodka and Gin. Freeport also has a Maine Craft Distilling outlet, supplying locally-made gins, whiskeys, rums, and more. Split-Rock Distilling, in Newcastle, is making vodkas, whiskeys, and bourbons.

Black Diamond Whiskey, soon to be at Brunswick Landing, is another small-batch craft distiller. Started two years ago by Shane McKenna and Fred Harrigan, the company is already producing an un-aged whiskey called “La Dama Blanca,” available at multiple stores in Maine, including Brackett’s Market in Bath, Bootlegger’s Beverage Warehouse in Topsham, and Bow Street Market in Freeport.

Soon, the pair hope to add a cinnamon whiskey, “Infierno;” and an apple whiskey, “Primera Tentacion;” to the list.

The company has had great initial success, and is moving to Brunswick Landing to expand the operation. McKenna and Harrigan hope to someday serve a national market, and once their custom still is finished and installed, expect to see more Black Diamond products on the shelves.

Both McKenna and Harrigan spent time brewing various small-batches of liquor on their own as a hobby, and decided to form a company with the products they make.

Harrigan got his start at a young age, making folk wines – such as rhubarb, dandelion, and elderberry – with his grandmother. Occasionally, he said, they also made gin and absinthe in a “crude pot still.”

As a teenager he moved to Ireland, where he learned of the local whiskey product called “poitin,” a high proof potato and grain-based spirit.

Black Diamond’s whiskey is a reflection of that background, drawing inspiration from the whiskeys of Ireland and the American South. It also doesn’t look like the traditional barrel-aged whiskeys that most people are used to — it’s clear like most un-aged spirits.

What makes it whiskey? It still spends time in a barrel, just not as long.

The product, they say, is similar to a tequila in some aspects. While comparisons to moonshine are obvious, those products typically use sugar instead of grain.

The whiskey also draws inspiration, as denoted by the “1%er” label on the bottle, from past associations with “motorcycle enthusiasts,” as Harrigan describes it, and not a political statement about the wealthiest Americans.

The pair have already made over 100,000 bottles of their liquor, and had great success selling cocktails at the most recent Great State of Maine Airshow.

According to McKenna, they also hope to start moving into contract brewing at some time in the future.

For more information about Black Diamond Whiskey, visit