The gins and bourbons put out by this Western Mass distiller are available in 19 states, but there’s nothing like getting it straight from the source. The retail shop, which comes with complimentary tastings, is open every day from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Though it doesn’t have the outsized reputation of a state like New York, Michigan grows some of the finest apples in America. And anyone who wants to turn those apples into delicious booze is alright with us. Coppercraft puts out an applejack made with apples from Michigan’s Fruit Ridge. The only downside, as far as we’re concerned, is that, like its main ingredient, it’s seasonal.
With stills built by co-owner Kyle Kettering, Copperwing is the newest distillery on this list, opening its doors just last year. Besides the vodka and gin you’d expect to see from such a new distillery, they also already have a light whiskey that’s even aged in barrels from a Minnesota cooperage.
Because Mississippi was the first state to enact Prohibition (1917) and the last to repeal it (1966!) local distilleries are tougher to come by in the Magnolia State. Canton’s Rich Grain is a throwback to a pre-Prohibition distillery from Kansas City of the same name. The brand has been reinvigorated in Mississippi and the distillery just put out the first legal bourbon in the history of the state.
Housed in an old horse stable, one of Kansas City’s newest entrants into the distillery world started relatively small with just a single vodka and gin, as well as an absinthe. Try them straight or mixed into a cocktail at the distillery’s bar.
It’s tough to find a better setting for a distillery than the foothills of Montana’s Glacier National Park where Glacier Distilling sits. Now going into its eighth year, Glacier has had enough time to get its aged whiskeys ready to go, but they also work on spirits many American distilleries won’t touch, like slivovitz, a plum brandy from Eastern Europe.
Nebraska – Cut Spike, La Vista
Less than a half hour from Omaha in La Vista, Cut Spike is another new distillery just now starting to release brown spirits. Its first single malt whiskey (made entirely from Nebraska ingredients) came out in 2013. You can stop by the tasting room Wednesday through Saturday.
The first commercial distillery in the Silver State’s history, Frey Ranch made its mark with clear spirits. But it began work on a whiskey in 2014, which means it’s almost been the requisite four years the distillery needed to wait before bringing the spirit to the public, so you should be able to get a taste at the distillery soon.
Tamworth puts out a ton of different bottlings—five different gins and everything from chocolate liqueur to aquavit. But the surprising standout is likely the Art in the Age series, which includes a variety of different flavored spirits like a sweet potato vodka and a beetroot vodka.
Don’t let their signage, which is slightly reminiscent of a funeral home, fool you. Lazy Eye has a solid, Jersey-made vodka and they are likely one of very few places in America that makes raki, a sort of grappa that gained prominence in the Ottoman empire.
In the small town of Algodones north of Albuquerque, the namesake distillery is working on a decidedly New Mexican take on corn whiskey. The whiskey (still in development) is made with New Mexico blue corn. But while you wait for the whiskey to hit the bottles you can still enjoy their vodka and gin.
Thanks to moves like the passage of the farm distillery bill, which made it easier for individuals to make and sell spirits made with New York ingredients, good distilleries are plentiful in the Empire State. Hillrock is one of the oldest and most well respected, and with good reason. The distillery’s solera-aged bourbon has received national acclaim since it hit the market in 2012. And the distillery and its visitor center offer breathtaking views if you’re in New York’s Hudson Valley.
The distillery, which bottles under the name Troy & Sons, abuts the Highland Brewing Company in Asheville. So you can grab a pint and a dram in the same stop.
The Fargo distiller has a range of liqueurs and a new bourbon that should be out soon, but the thing to try when you stop in is their barrel-aged gin.
The bourbon and rye are made from Ohio grains and the vodka and brandy are made from grapes grown on the distillery’s sister property, South River Winery, so everything is Buckeye State through and through. In addition to straight sips, the Red Eagle Whiskey Barn also offers a bar, where bartenders use its spirits to mix up seasonal cocktails
Unfortunately, Oklahoma is the only state in the union to completely outlaw tastings at distilleries. However, Prairie Wolf Spirits, one of the tiny handful of Oklahoma distillers, puts out a gin worth tracking down. Sidecar, a local neighborhood bar in Oklahoma City uses it in an all Oklahoma G&T, which is also made with Strong Tonic, another OKC product.
After becoming one of the most accomplished craft brewers in the country, Rogue turned to the harder stuff, using local Oregon ingredients to make a variety of bottles, including a chipotle whiskey that’s good enough to convert even the biggest spicy spirit skeptic.
Pennsylvania – Maggie’s Farm, Pittsburgh
The heavy hitting rum distillery out of Pittsburgh makes bottles that every self-respecting tiki bar should have on the shelf. With apologies to Steelers’ fans, Maggie’s Farm is the most decorated outfit in the city, and you can stop by and try some rum neat or in a Daiquiri Wednesday through Sunday.
Considering they’re from a state that you can drive across in less time than it takes to get through the TSA line at the airport, Sons of Liberty punches above its weight, especially with its sherry finished whiskeys, both a PX and an oloroso. You can get both as part of a whiskey flight for $10.
South Carolina – High Wire, Charleston
Charleston might be the best city in America for eating, but it’s not bad when it comes to drinking either. At High Wire you can get a pour of their citrusy gin or an amaro made from ingredients foraged in the Palmetto State.
The first legally operating distillery in the state is also the only one putting out aged whiskeys. They also offer a vodka made from Dakota grains and a brandy made from Dakota grapes.
Tennessee - Corsair, Nashville
Tennessee has its share of historic spirits brands—labels like Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel come to mind—but there have been new entrants into the state’s booze world. One of the best is Corsair, which has a stellar gin and a 100-proof Wildfire Whiskey that smacks your tongue pleasantly with a big hit of smoke.
You’ll find a wide range of Texas whiskeys at Balcones, which they’ve been working on for almost a decade. Make sure to try a single malt called 1 that has brought in accolades from all over the world.
Utah can be tough place to get booze of any kind. There have been some impressive recent entrants to the state’s spirits market like gin from the Beehive Distillery and amaros from the Waterpocket Distillery, but they aren’t equipped yet to offer tastings. Utah’s only “ski in” distillery is, however. High West made big news several years ago when reps owned up to the fact that the whiskey in some of the distillery’s highest-rated bottles, like Rendezvous Rye, was distilled by other people. But even if someone else did the distilling, High West has proven itself to be above the rest when it comes to blending. And now they do have some real Utah-distilled whiskey available on site, like their Valley Tan label.
The Whistle Pig tasting room is not actually at the Whistle Pig facility. Instead, it’s at the Danforth Pewter Workshop in Middlebury. Regardless of where it is, stopping by will give you a chance to try some of the best rye in the country.
The fact that Virginia Distilling took home “best American single malt” at the World Whisky Awards should be reason enough for you to stop by. But while you’re there you can also try some of their sweeter offerings, such as whiskies finished in cider and Chardonnay casks.
Washington – J.P. Trodden, Woodinville
A real small batch operation, J.P. Trodden, named for founder Mark Nesheim’s grandfather, produces just over 7,000 bottles of its bourbon a year. Nesheim keeps the whole operation hyper local as well, with Washington grains and a pot still from just over the border in Oregon. Being small, the distillery isn’t open to the public very often, though. Stop by for a taste between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
West Virginia – Smooth Ambler, Maxwelton
Maxwelton is the place to find excellent bourbon in the heart of Appalachia. Smooth Ambler has bottles under both their own name and the Old Scout label, which they source from other distilleries, although they are entirely up front about that.
Next to a Costco in a Madison suburb, Death’s Door has been quietly putting out some of the best gin and vodka in America. In a part of the country that has become almost overrun with breweries, the distillery provides a welcome change of pace from ales and lagers.
On the outskirts of Kirby, Wyoming (can a town really have “outskirts” if it only has 92 people?) the Wyoming Whiskey distillery made waves in the brown spirits world with its flagship small batch bourbon. They’re now up to five different bottles, all worth a try.