Until 1987, Pennsylvania was home to one of the oldest liquor brands in the nation, Old Overholt, until Beam bought them and moved operations to Kentucky. It was another 18 years until another distillery would fill the whole in Pennsylvanians’ hearts. Philadelphia Distilling took up the mantel in—where else?—Philadelphia, first in the Byberry neighborhood before recently moving to the quickly hipster-izing Fishtown area. With products like Bluecoat Gin and Penn 1681 Vodka (a reference to the year William Penn founded the Pennsylvania colony), Philadelphia Distilling goes all-in on the patriotic themes of America’s hometown.
The guys behind Newport Storm Brewery had been making beer for seven years before deciding to go in a stronger direction. They created the distilling company to make Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum as a throwback to Rhode Island’s pirate and rum history, basing their recipe and production methods on how things used to be done. In addition to being the oldest operating distillery in the smallest state, they also have some TV cred. In 2010, Mike Rowe filmed an episode of Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” at the distillery.
South Carolina: Terressentia in North Charleston, 2007
Terressentia is a contract distiller in South Carolina that producers liquor for retail chains, brand owners, exporters and distilleries. The business was built to satisfy the need for made-to-order spirits made by a third party, and while it doesn’t make any specific brands of its own, there’s a chance you might have tried something from Terressentia. With nearly 16,000 barrels in inventory, Terressentia isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
The story of Dakota Spirits Distilling starts with a rare agreement between two siblings known as the Bickering Brothers. Despite their differences, they joined forces to create the first distillery in South Dakota since Prohibition. They use a small batch copper still and South Dakota ingredients to make whiskey, vodka and brandy. “In the end,” the company states on its Facebook page, “our bickering allowed us to let the oak do its business without our interruptions.”
Tennessee: Jack Daniel’s in Lynchburg, 1866 (or 1875)
Read any bottle of Jack Daniel’s and you’ll spy “Est. & Reg. in 1866,” referring to the year the brand claims the distillery was officially established in the ironically dry county of Lynchburg (though biographer Peter Krass disputes that timeline in Blood and Whiskey: The Life and Times of Jack Daniel, claiming the distillery opened in 1975). The brand has recently embraced aspects of the Jack Daniel origin story that was previously swept under the rug, namely the role of an enslaved man, Nearis Green, in teaching young Daniel the art of distillation.