Looking around the world of cocktails, spirits and entrepreneurship, there is a major trend quickly emerging that should make alcohol connoisseurs very happy; the growth of the local, small batch, boutique distiller. Like their cousin, the craft brewery industry, the recent surge of craft distilleries is not only creating a market for talented distillers, but it’s helping to fuel a revolution in mixed drinks not seen since the days of prohibition. If you love cocktails, we are in a golden age of innovation.
Much of the growth of the industry has been based in just a few areas such as New York, Texas, and the United States West Coast. In fact, if you are in the area, the 9th Edition of the Great American Distillers Festival is being held in Portland, Oregon on Oct 4th & 5th. To give you a bit of perspective, 81 new distilleries opened last year bringing the total number of American distilleries to just over 300. Many experts in the field think this is just the start of the revolution, with some insiders thinking 1000 craft distilleries could be in operation by 2020.
So what’s the big deal about craft distilleries? Outside the fact that you’re getting spirits made by local entrepreneurs who love what they do, many craft distillers are producing unique products totally different from anything else. Take for example Portland’s own New Deal Distillery. Although they make a variety of unique infused spirits, their real winner is a proprietary gin, New Deal Gin #1 that “pulls oils, tanins, and heavier elements from the botanicals during distillation.” If you love gin, this is one of the most unique examples currently on the market.
If you have not had the chance to explore your local craft distillery, make a point to go tour one and learn more about this emerging revolution. For a great map of craft distilleries, check out this directory from The American Distilling Institute.
Images from New Deal Distillery & Top of the Hill Distillery