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23 Craft Distilleries Every Liquor Lover Should Know

Hillrock estate distilleryHillrock Estate DistilleryHillrock makes the only Solera-aged bourbon whiskey on the market.

American craft distilleries are getting attention both here as well as across the pond.

Back in August, The New York Times published an article about how boutique American spirits — from vodka to whiskey — are spreading around the globe.

Small craft distilleries are producing some of the most complex and well-executed spirits on the market that are all mashed, distilled, and bottled by hand on-site.

We spoke with Pamela Wiznitzer, a bartender and mixologist at New York bar, The Dead Rabbit, about the American craft distilleries that every liquor lover should know and try.

Keep reading to see her picks (listed here in alphabetical order).

Did we miss one of your favourites? Add it in the comments!

Bainbridge Organic Distillery

Located: Bainbridge Island, Wash.

This father-and-son team (the descendants of a bootlegger, no less) makes whiskey, gin, and vodka from scratch with certified organic products.

Bainbridge Organic Distillers organic vodka has won numerous awards, and is full-flavored with a hint of sweetness.

Boyd & Blair

Located: Glenshaw, Pa.

Boyd and Blair small-batch vodka is distilled using locally grown potatoes. Every batch is literally made by hand, from mashing the potatoes to sealing and signing the bottles.

Since it started in 2005, the company has received numerous accolades for its vodka. They only use the best part of the alcohol (often called the 'heart'), which makes it smooth and smell great.

Charleston Distilling Company

Located: Charleston, S.C.

Charleston Distilling Company. uses South Carolina-grown corn, rye, wheat, and millet in all of their products, and mash and distill everything on-site.

The team at Charleston makes vodka, gin, and bourbon-barrel gin in small batches.

Clear Creek Distillery

Located: Portland, Ore.

Founded in 1985, this distillery has been producing world-renowned eaux de vie, grappa, brandy, whiskey, and liqueurs for almost 20 years.

They use traditional European pot stills as well as techniques from Alsace and Switzerland.

Garrison Brothers

Located: Hye, Texas

The Garrison Brothers produce some of the best bourbon in the US. They work with organic farms in Texas to harvest the grain, water, and wood used to make bourbon, and then age it in barrels made from white American oak.

Plus, they take great pride in tweaking their recipe each year so that the bourbon of 2015 will taste ever better than their 2009 vintage.

Hangar 1

Located: Alameda, Calif.

Hangar 1 makes vodka from grapes -- and though that may seem a little strange and difficult, you will taste the reason why.

They distill the fresh fruit the same day it's picked and then craft distill their vodkas by hand. The vodka comes in four flavours, including original, citron, mandarin blossom, and lime.

Hillrock Estate Distillery

Located: Hudson Valley, N.Y.

Hillrock Estate Distillery produces its own grain, and malts and distills its whiskey in an old-school copper pot still.

All the bourbon and whiskeys are hand-bottled on the estate, and the distillery even created the world's first Solera-aged whiskey -- truly one of a kind.

House Spirits Distillery

Located: Portland, Ore.

Founded in 2004, House Spirits makes batch-distilled gin, vodka, whiskey, coffee liqueur, and aquavit.

They only use ethically sourced ingredients, and age their liquor in premium barrels for rich and distinctive flavours.

Hudson Whiskey

Located: Gardiner, N.Y.

The first whiskey distillery in New York state since Prohibition, Hudson Whiskey uses a 250-year-old mill to make their own liquors, from 'grain to glass.'

They make rye whiskey, bourbon, single malt, and New York corn whiskey, which is one of their more original blends.

KOVAL Distillery

Located: Chicago, Ill.

KOVAL has the distinction of being Chicago's first distillery since the mid-1800s. Like most of the craft distilleries in the US, they have on-site milling and mashing, not to mention distilling and bottling.

All of their whiskies and spirits are single barrel, and they also make some specialty liqueurs too, including coffee, ginger, jasmine, walnut, and caraway.

Leopold Bros.

Location: Denver, Colo.

This family-owned and operated distillery makes whiskeys (both flavored and unflavored), gins, vodka, liqueurs, fernet, and absinthe.

They malt their own barley, mill their own grains, and ferment their own mash. Plus, the brothers Scott and Todd are known for their eco-friendly brewing practices.

Middle West Spirits

Located: Columbus, Ohio

This 10,000-square-foot, open-air distillery makes OYO whiskey, which is created from local Ohio-grown wheat and then aged in American white oak barrels.

The small batch process is also used to make their vodka and flavored vodkas, and they have won numerous awards for their spirits.

New York Distilling Company

Located: Brooklyn, N.Y.

New York Distilling Company makes three types of gins and a rye whiskey. The spirits are made with botanicals like elderberries, citrus, cinnamon, and hops, and are then barrel-aged.

There's also a bar connected to the distillery called the Shanty where they make cocktails.

Old New Orleans Rum

Located: New Orleans, La.

This Louisiana rum is about as local and original as you can get. They source molasses locally and use charred American oak barrels to create it batch by batch.

They make white rum, aged amber rum, and Cajun spice rum in the old cotton mill that they turned into a distillery. It's definitely worth a visit if you're in Nola.

Owney's Rum from The Noble Experiment

Located: Brooklyn, N.Y.

The rum from this NYC distillery pays homage to Owen 'Owney' Madden, a rum-runner during Prohibition who made rum popular again in New York.

The team behind Owney's are purists, so they only use water, molasses and yeast to make their rum. They mash, ferment, distill, blend, and bottle for an authentic American rum.

Privateer Rum

Located: Ipswich, Mass.

This Boston area distillery makes two types of rum ('True American Amber' and 'Silver Reserve') and a gin.

Their rum is aged in brandy and whiskey barrels, and the gin is distilled from cane sugar with high quality herbs like hops and orange zest.

Spring44

Located: Loveland, Colo.

The spirits made by this Colorado distillery are created with spring water from the Colorado Rocky Mountain Buckhorn Canyon.

That mineral spring water goes into the vodka, honey vodka, and gin that Spring44 makes and sells from its remote location surrounded by 160,00 acres of National Forest.

St. Augustine Distillery

Located: St Augustine, Fla.

St. Augustine makes handcrafted spirits in small batches, including Florida cane Vodka with farmed cane sugar, small batch bourbon, gin, and rums with sugar cane.

The distillery frequently takes advantage of Florida sugar cane, wheat, corn, and citrus to make their quality spirits.

St. George Spirits

Located: Alameda, Calif.

In addition to Hangar 1, Alameda is home to St. George Spirits.

This distillery has been making craft spirits for three decades, including single malt whiskey, bourbon, rum, absinthe, and several other gins, brandies, and liqueurs.

Tom's Foolery

Located: Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Tom's Foolery began as a hobby, but quickly developed into one of the best traditional American distilleries.

They focus on Applejack, bourbon, and rye whiskey products that are made typically in five barrel batches. They also mash, ferment, and distill 100% of their products.

WhistlePig

Located: Shoreham, Vt.

WhistlePig makes delicious rye whiskey that is spicy, dark, and rich in flavour. It makes a 100 proof straight rye, a 111 proof rye, and a 124 proof rye, which is not for the faint of heart.

They make all of the ingredients on the WhistlePig farm, which has 1,300 acres and cultivates oasis, barley, honey, alfalfa, and even maple syrup.

Wigle Whiskey

Located: Pittsburgh, Pa.

This family owned and operated small batch whiskey distillery was named after Philip Wigle, a hero of the whiskey Rebellion who was sentenced to death but later pardoned by George Washington.

They make 'white' wheat and rye whiskeys, as well as a Dutch-style ginever, organic bitters, and more. Each month they feature an experimental, limited-edition spirit called Wigle's Whim -- this month's is wayward apple whiskey.

Willett Distillery

Located: Bardstown, Kentucky

This family-owned and operated company produces bourbon and rye whiskey that has aged up to 17 years.

Willett Distillery has been around since 1935 and has perfected its whiskeys and bourbon over the years. It's also received numerous awards for its vintage and private stock bottles.

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