A big part of the craft spirits movement involves using local grains and botanicals. Many of these artisan spirits makers talk about driving from their rural distilleries to the neighboring farm to procure their fresh ingredients.
So how to urban distilleries fit into this movement? Although they can’t wave hello to the farmer who grows their raw ingredients, many craft distilleries are setting up shop in urban areas and have become mainstays in their communities. From supporting local bartenders and restaurants to inspiring consumers to try local products, these city distilleries provide their customers with face-to-face opportunities to try craft spirits and learn about how they are made.
Here are five distilleries in big cities that are shaping the urban communities where they operate:
Bully Boy Distillers - Boston, MA
There was a time when Boston was a city of rum, when molasses barrels were stacked high and bars were more likely to serve a glass of rum than a pint of beer. Bully Boy Distillers started their operation in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood in 2010, and they've revived the city's rum tradition. Read more »
Great Lakes Distillery - Milwaukee, WI
Great Lakes Distillery fought hard for the right to serve their own spirits at their distillery — and they won that fight. Distiller Guy Rehorst lobbied to change the existing law that would allow consumers to taste his spirits at the distillery. Today, he serves tasting flights, cocktails, and snacks. Read more »
New York Distilling - Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood might be one of the hippest places in the country, and that's where New York Distilling Co. decided to set up shop. Attached to the distillery is a bar called the Shanty. Like any other bar in Brooklyn, you'll find cocktail geeks, hipsters and artists there enjoying the booze. Read more »
St. George Spirits - San Francisco, CA
Okay, technically St. George is in Alameda, just across the bay from San Francisco proper and just south of Oakland. This distillery is perhaps one of the most influential craft distilleries in the country, and their location in San Francisco — a city known for its cocktail culture — gives them a front-line position for connecting with consumers and bartenders. Read more »
Watershed Distillery - Columbus, OH
Inspired by the city's support of craft brewpubs, distiller Greg Lehman decided to start a distillery. Seeing Columbus patrons buy and enjoy Watershed's spirits is what keeps Lehman going every day. From the distillery's open houses to support of local bars, Watershed is definitely in touch with its community. Read more »