9 Distilleries Crafting Fine Spirits In The U.S.
The US is more than just a great producer of craft beer and world-class wine: it's also, increasingly, a nation rich with distilleries making noteworthy small-batch spirits. Whether you like gin, vodka, whiskey, unique liqueurs, or all of the above, you're sure to find libations worth drinking from the distilleries included on this list. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.
9 American Distilleries Making Exceptional Spirits
|District Distilling Company
|Uses traditional techniques and wild-foraged ingredients to produce vodka, gin, whiskey, and other liquor products
|Comstock Park, Michigan
|Makes a bourbon aged in a charred American white oak barrel, plus red and white wines, absinthe, and amaro
|Buffalo, New York
|Distills, bottles, labels, and packages all of its products on a 2,700-square-foot production floor
|Jersey City, New Jersey
|Inspired by British liquor-making traditions, with products including Earl Grey, Pembroke, and Barrel Rested gins
|Produces handcrafted, small-batch liquors using high-quality aged grains
|Has peat, bogs, an aquifer, and sandy soil perfect for growing grains, and offers libations such as moonshine and a 5-year reserve brandy
|Brings the time-honored traditions of bourbon production into a more artisanal environment
|Sources freshly harvested grains from area farmers, and uses day-old bagels to make a clear whiskey
|Black Button Distilling
|Rochester, New York
|Creates gins made from lilac and loganberry, as well as a vodka distilled from corn
Behind the Scenes at Black Button Distilling
Fun Facts About Whiskey
- It can be made from barley, corn, rye, or wheat
- Maturing takes place in a cask, not the bottle
- Whiskey aged in oak barrels absorbs flavor from the wood
- It's typically spelled "whiskey" in the US, while the Scottish spell it "whisky"
- The process of distillation dates back to Alexandria in the 1st century CE
The Hidden History of the Gin and Tonic
There is more to American spirits than just Kentucky bourbon. In the past two decades, as craft beer brewing has flourished across the country, so has small batch liquor distilling. This list, presented in no particular order, surveys nine great distilleries from across the U.S.A.
#1 is District Distilling Company. Founded by Matthew Strickland, the group uses German handmade copper pot and column stills, traditional techniques, and wild foraged ingredients to produce vodka, gin, whiskey, and other liquor products. District's concoctions have won a number of awards, including a Gold Medal from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition for its Wildjune Western Style Gin.
Based in Washington D.C., District hosts tours that include a bottle-your-own whiskey experience. Some of the signature spirits include Backroom Rye and bourbon whiskeys, Corridor vodka, and Checkerbark gin, available in both barrel rested and American dry styles. The company also produces liqueurs, such as Creme de menthe and grappa. These widely acclaimed drinks have received an array of press coverage.
Some of the signature spirits include Backroom Rye and bourbon whiskeys, Corridor vodka, and Checkerbark gin, available in both barrel rested and American dry styles.
At #2, Bier Distillery brews an expanding list of beer, wine, and spirits at its facilities in Comstock Park, Michigan. It was founded by the Bierling family, descendants of a long line of bakers and brewers. Open to the public, it also serves food and drinks in a tasting room space. The company has actively opposed the use of plastic straws and developed its own replacement product made of hay.
Products include Crescent Creek Bourbon, aged over a year in a charred American white oak barrel and crafted for full flavor. Niagara Brandy is made from grapes native to North America and typically used for eating. Bier's family of red and white wines also features a drink blended with the same fruit. The company additionally produces an absinthe and an amaro, among other beverages.
The #3 entry is Tommyrotter Distillery, which crafts small batch spirits in Buffalo, New York's historic Hydraulic manufacturing district. It was founded in 2015 by Bobby Finan and Sean Insalaco. The company distills or produces, bottles, labels, and packages all of its products on a 2,700-square foot production floor. The beverages are distributed throughout much of the Northeast.
The beverages are distributed throughout much of the Northeast.
All Tommyrotter products are distilled from American grains and produced batch by batch. It makes a standard gin, as well as a cask strength bourbon barrel version. The company's vodka is charcoal-filtered and bottled by hand. The Triple Barrel American Whiskey is made from a proprietary recipe to offer notes of caramel and vanilla. Each year the company introduces a new limited-release series of drinks.
Coming in at #4, Corgi Spirits aims to thrill palates and enliven evenings through craft distilling, and puts a portion of profits to animal welfare charities. It hosts tours of its Jersey City facilities on the hour throughout the week. Though based in New Jersey, the company is inspired by British liquor making traditions.
Products include Earl Grey, Pembroke, and Barrel Rested gins. Cardigan Whiskey is a blend named after a breed of Corgi known for long tails and multi-colored coats. Saddlecoat Vodka offers a creamy, full-bodied mouthfeel and a long, smooth finish. Visit the Corgi Spirits tasting room or lounge to try any of these concoctions straight, or as part of a signature cocktail.
Saddlecoat Vodka offers a creamy, full-bodied mouthfeel and a long, smooth finish.
#5 on the list, FEW Spirits makes handcrafted, small batch liquors. Its methods involve a new take on timeless distilling techniques, using high-quality, aged grains. The company is based in Evanston, Illinois; ironically the home of the 20th-century Temperance Movement. Visitors to the distillery can enjoy tours and tastings.
FEW products include a single malt whiskey, offering American flavors in a Scottish style. It also makes a bourbon and a rye. Breakfast Gin is smooth, while the Barrel Gin is more peppery, and the American style carries a hint of juniper. The company's website provides a range of cocktail recipes with which you can put the spirits to use.
In the #6 position, we've got Driftless Glen. Founded by Brian and Renee Bemis, the distillery is located on the banks of the Baraboo River in south-central Wisconsin, where peat, bogs, an aquifer, and uncommon sandy soil offer perfect terrain for growing grains. An on-site restaurant and bar serves food and drinks.
Founded by Brian and Renee Bemis, the distillery is located on the banks of the Baraboo River in south-central Wisconsin, where peat, bogs, an aquifer, and uncommon sandy soil offer perfect terrain for growing grains.
Spirits include two types of whiskey: a bourbon that promises a perfect terroir, and a rye bottled from hand-picked barrels. Driftless Glen vodka offers a smooth, neutral taste designed to provide an ideal base for cocktails, but it also comes in lemon and cucumber flavors. Other drinks available from the company are a 5-year reserve brandy, a moonshine, and a unique gin.
Our #7 is Woodinville Whiskey, which aims to make great craft whiskey by bringing the time-honored traditions of bourbon production into a more artisanal environment. It was founded by best friends Orlin Sorensen and Brett Carlile, who were trained by a former Master Distiller for Maker's Mark. The company is named for the Washington town in which it is based, just outside Seattle, and uses grains from a nearby family farm.
The distillery produces seven barrels per day. Woodinville's spirits include two bourbons, one of them a limited edition beverage that is aged for an additional six months in Tawny Port barrels, a straight rye, and a double barrel blend. In addition to the drinks, the company produces a maple syrup, as well as an Age Your Own Whiskey kit.
Woodinville's spirits include two bourbons, one of them a limited edition beverage that is aged for an additional six months in Tawny Port barrels, a straight rye, and a double barrel blend.
For #8, we've got Alchemy Distillery. Based in Humboldt County, California, which is better known for its marijuana industry, it produces a line of beverages called Boldt Spirits. Locally minded, the company sources freshly harvested grains from area farmers, and strives for zero-waste, environmentally conscious production.
Boldt's bourbon is made with a base of California-grown, non-G.M.O. corn. The award-winning Cereal Killer whiskey varietals include rye, wheat, and triticale. A Genever style gin offers a botanical blend that makes use of local flavors like redwood needle tips. The company also bottles an un-aged, clear whiskey, and one distilled from day-old bagels.
Finally, at #9, Black Button Distilling is a New York State licensed Farm Distillery, located in Rochester and making spirits 90 percent of whose ingredients are grown in-state. Owner and head distiller Jason Barrett founded the company in 2012, Flour City's first such liquor producer since Prohibition.
Owner and head distiller Jason Barrett founded the company in 2012, Flour City's first such liquor producer since Prohibition.
Among the company's ten whiskeys are a port-finished bourbon and a pre-Prohibition style straight bourbon. Black Button produces a variety of gins, including ones made from lilac and loganberry. There are three vodkas, most notably one distilled from corn. The company also makes moonshines and liqueurs.