Dan McNeill’s inspiration to start a business came at the bottom of a whiskey glass. Having grown weary of his work in politics, McNeill realized he wanted to create something hands-on. He started MISCellaneous Distillery in Mount Airy, Maryland after years of research and coursework on making spirits. His business partner, Meg MacWhirter was inspired to join when she saw the camaraderie of those in the spirits industry. McNeill and MacWhirter’s business motto is “Live and drink by your own rules.” As such, they create spirits with a unique flavor and run their business based on what works best for them.
McNeill and MacWhirter successfully launched in March 2017 with a very well-attended grand opening. They say, “Our SCORE mentor was there to cheer us on and continue to shine a spotlight on what we are creating with our business. We are in the process of hiring multiple part time employees in summer 2017.”
McNeill and MacWhirter attended online and local SCORE workshops and worked with their mentor Doug on creating an initial business plan. Another mentor, Mike, helped with their financial projections, a particularly important component in the spirits business, where there is a long lead time to break even because of how long it takes to bring aged spirits to market.
“We didn’t really know what to expect,” MacWhirter said in an interview with Working Women Report. “The very first call we had, we were so grateful and impressed by the thoughtfulness and preparation by Doug [Allen].”