Vote now for America’s best craft distilleries in 2018
The craft spirits industry is exploding, with more than 1,500 craft distillers at work across the United States (according to the American Craft Spirits Association). It’s never been easier to get stellar ingredients for the perfect cocktail, but the sheer variety available in liquor stores can be overwhelming.
To help narrow things down, 10Best asked a panel of spirits industry experts to nominate their favorite craft distilleries in seven categories.
Now we need you to help select our winners by voting for your favorites once per day, per category until voting ends on Monday, September 3 at noon ET. The winning distilleries will be announced on 10Best.com on Friday, September 14.
Click on each category below to vote:
Best Craft Brandy Distillery
Brandy, a spirit distilled from wine or fruit, is enjoying a comeback — Photo courtesy of iStock / fcafotodigital
Brandy is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, thanks in part to renewed interest in classic cocktail recipes. The term “brandy” refers primarily to spirits distilled from wine, and more broadly to spirits distilled from fruits (also called eau de vie).
Best Craft Gin Distillery
Gin gets its name from the French word for juniper — Photo courtesy of iStock / MarianVejcik
Gin gets its name from “Genievre,” the French word for juniper. This globally popular spirit begins with a neutral base spirit distilled with an array of botanicals – not just juniper berries these days – to give it its distinct aroma and flavor profile.
Best Craft Mixer
Bitters, mixers and syrups can make or break a cocktail — Photo courtesy of iStock / santypan
A killer cocktail calls for killer ingredients, and that applies to more than just the booze. The craft distilling movement has buoyed a similar wave of companies handcrafting their own lines of cocktail bitters, tonics, mixers, syrups and sipping vinegars, all with an eye toward elevating the cocktail experience.
Best Craft Rum Distillery
Rum is typically made from raw sugarcane juice or molasses — Photo courtesy of iStock / DedMityay
Sugarcane plantations in the Caribbean began distilling rum during the 17th century from molasses, an inexpensive byproduct of the sugar refining process. The spirit came to the U.S. in 1664 with the opening of the first rum distillery on Staten Island and continued to grow in popularity through the Revolutionary War. Rum has come a long way since those early days, and distilleries across the nation are experimenting with how to craft the finest variations.
Best Craft Specialty Spirits Distillery
These distilleries go beyond the basics with their creative spirits — Photo courtesy of iStock / kudryavtsev
Gin, vodka, rum and whiskey are great and all, but the American thirst for craft spirits has grown beyond the bounds of the traditional to embrace specialty spirits from around the globe. Modern day distilleries now craft liqueurs, absinthe, aquavit, amaro and a host of other interesting libations alongside their flagship spirits.
Best Craft Vodka Distillery
Vodka doesn’t have to be tasteless — Photo courtesy of iStock / bhofack2
Russia and Poland were distilling vodka as early as the 8th or 9th centuries. Since those early days, it has become one of the world’s most popular spirits, thanks in large part to its versatility in mixing.
But vodka doesn’t just belong in cocktails. While some distilleries compete to create the smoothest, clearest and, sometimes, most flavorless variation, others are embracing vodka by making it with local, high-quality ingredients (including potatoes, wheat, corn and even grapes) with minimal distillation to allow the natural flavors to shine.
Best Craft Whiskey Distillery
Whiskey encompasses a whole range of spirits distilled from grains — Photo courtesy of iStock / invizbk
The American craft whiskey scene has really come into its own over the past few years, expanding beyond the traditional Tennessee and Kentucky bourbons to include ryes, single malts, blends and white whiskeys made with a combination of old-world and new-school techniques.
Remember to vote once per day in each category, and check back on Friday, September 14 to see which distilleries won your vote.