The Craft Distilling Boom Is Here

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Local spirits are pouring out all over the region | La Colombe’s rum distillery in Fishtown

Just a year ago, we wrote a guide to local distilling that talked about eight local distilleries. In updating that list we came up with 24 distilleries within 100 miles of City Hall that are worth a trip.

These distilleries, some no bigger than a garage (actually at least a couple are in old garages) to several that are designed with room to really grow are proof that craft distilling is here in a big way. And what we found is that these distilleries are putting out really good stuff. In fact, Dad’s Hat Rye was named Whisky Advocate’s Whisky of the Year for 2015. So we’re not talking good for a local distillery, we’re talking about world class stuff.

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Try Bethlehem Rye Whiskey at Trestle Inn

social still rye 400Tonight, The Trestle Inn’s Spirit of Wednesday features a new rye whiskey from Bethlehem’s Social Still. The not-available in stores rye is pouring tonight via complimentary tastings and $10 for a neat pour.

Social Still Rye Whiskey is 70% rye and 30% malted barley and aged for 192 days. The rye is described as having a subtle fruity aroma, and a pronounced rye flavor with a long spicy finish.

Social Still, just one of the most recent Pennsylvania distillers to hit the market focuses on obtaining Pennsylvania corn, wheat, rye, barley and other grains from family farms for their organic practices. The grains are then milled, cooked and fermented in their Bethlehem distillery. Social Still has a bar and restaurant on site if you find yourself in Bethlehem.

Trestle Inn [Foobooz]
Social Still [Official]

Philadelphia’s Best Local Spirits

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From left: Different Drum Pennsylvania rum, Rowhouse Spirits gin and Bluecoat Barrel Finished gin | Photo by Claudia Gavin

Philadelphia’s booming distilling scene is ridiculously young (thanks to only recently changed licensing laws), and yet we’ve already got spirits on the shelves that can hold their own against some of the most recognizable global brands. Here are seven worth adding to your liquor cabinet.

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Federal Distilling Opening in Kensington

stateside-vodka-federal-distilling-940Philadelphia is getting another new distillery. Federal Distilling is coming to 161 Cecil B. Moore Avenue (next to Keystone Mini Golf) in the Kensington neighborhood. The distillery’s first product, Stateside Vodka should be hitting restaurant and select PLCB stores in mid-October. Further down the road, a tasting room will open at the distillery.

Federal Distilling is the result of Clement “Clem” Pappas and brothers Matt and Bryan Quigley. Matt Quigley is the distiller, he has completed a distiller apprenticeship through the University of Michigan and been a spirits consultant for several brands in the United States and Poland. The three met through a mutual acquaintance who strategically left Matt’s business plan at Clem’s 40th birthday party around the 2013 holidays. The plan worked and the distillery project took off.

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Cooper River Whiskey Heads into the Wild

cooper-river-single-run-whiskey-400Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 1st, Cooper River Distillers is going to be distributing its Single Run Series Whiskey outside of the distillery for the first time. 22 bottles of the whiskey will make their way to Benash Liquors in Cherry Hill (2405 Route 38).

It is the third run Cooper River has done of whiskey and it is distilled from a base of locally brewed beer. In this case, the whiskey is distilled from Saint Benjamin’s Foul Weather Jack English Mild. We were lucky to get a taster of an earlier Single Run whiskey (made with Saint Benjamin’s IPA) and were very impressed with the results. 

Cooper River’s Single Run Whiskey is the first whiskey that has been distilled, aged, and sold in New Jersey in a long time, perhaps even since Prohibition.

But with just 22 bottles in this run, it won’t last long.

Cooper River Distillers [Foobooz]

Kentucky Distillery Aging Its Brandy With a Little Springsteen

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Distilleries across the country are getting awfully creative these days with the way they age their beer and spirits. A while back we told you that Dock Street was aging a beer while playing Wu Tang non-stop, and today I learned that Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen is being blasted near aging barrels of brandy at Copper & Kings distillery in Louisville, Kentucky.

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New Liberty Distillery Opens for Tours

new-liberty-distilling-400Tomorrow, Saturday, July 11th, Kensington’s New Liberty Distillery opens to the public for the first time. The Distillery is located at 1431 North Cadwallader Street and is offering several levels of tours and tastings.

Among the spirits being sampled are Kinsey Rye, Kinsey 7 Year Old, New Liberty White Whiskey and New Liberty Rye Vodka.

The Kinsey brand is made from a blend of ryes sourced, blended and bottled by Master Distiller, Robert Cassell. Cassell, formerly master distiller at Philadelphia Distilling, is a principle and master distiller at New Liberty Distilling. The White Whiskey and Rye Vodka are Cassell’s first products made at New Liberty.

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LCB Launching “PA Spirits Program”

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Manatawny, The Pottstown distillery is likely to benefit from the new program.

Good news for Pennsylvania distilleries, several of whom recently saw their products removed from Pennsylvania Fine Wine & Good Spirits shops. In an effort to support Pennsylvania distilleries, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is launching the PA Spirits Program, which grants Limited Distillery license holders in the state the opportunity to place up to 10 products in up to 10 liquor stores of their choosing.

The program will allow local distilleries to target their products at the stores of their choosing. To be eligible to participate, all products must be distilled in Pennsylvania must submit their products no later than May 19th. Once selected, distilleries must sell a minimum of one case per month per store to remain in the program.

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