Tom Barse’s 47-acre Stillpoint Farm in Mt. Airy, Maryland looks like an average agricultural operation. Its fields are rich with crops, while sheep and horses graze in the pastures. However, Barse’s most lucrative crop is actually beer.
In the summer of 2012, Barse opened the small-scale Milkhouse Brewery on a small hill near his house. Over the next six months, the longtime home brewer produced 80 barrels of beer using hops, wheat, barley, and other products grown on the farm. Just three years into the micro brewing operation, he expects to produce nearly 350 barrels – which are distributed in six counties and Baltimore – and he employs two full-time staff members and four part-timers. His tiny farmhouse brewery now accounts for 90% of his earnings. “It’s much bigger than I thought it would be,” he says. “It just exploded.”