It's safe to say that the American brewing industry has long recovered from the damage done by Prohibition. While everyone and their mother has opened up a craft brewery, distilling still has a bit of a way to go. That’s why you should try to get to a few. Spirits from smaller distilleries often have more character to them, so not only do you get to keep your dollar in a tighter community, but you also get to try something no one else is making. Here are three distilleries worth touring in the United States.
Kings County Distillery – Brooklyn, New York
The main draw of Kings County Distillery should be their willingness to experiment with whiskey styles. Most bourbon distillers pride themselves on their adherence to tradition, which is all well and good, but we’re not so stubborn that we can’t take a bit of variation in our whiskey. Currently, Kings County offers a peated bourbon, chocolate whiskey and winter spice whiskey, all three of which would make purists gag but are huge attractions for adventurous whiskey drinkers. Still, before we get ahead of ourselves looking down at old styles, we should say that Kings County offers those too, and they make them very well. If absolutely none of this makes you want to head into Brooklyn, then at least give them credit for their minimalist packaging. Most, if not all, of their offerings come in clear glass bottles with silver screwtops and simple printed labels.
Kō Hana Distillers – Kunia, Hawaii
Hawaii is definitely not a state we associate with distilling, and it’s hardly a state we associate with brewing. But the islands don’t limit their industries to mainlanders’ associations, which makes a lot of sense from a business perspective. Kō Hana Distillers almost exclusively focuses on rum with a process that it barely feels right to describe as small batch. They use hand-harvested and pressed Native Hawaiian sugarcane, a staple of Hawaiian life for centuries before sugar plantations were planted. They don’t use anything else in the rum either, which means that this is an agricole rum with a purity that’s unparalleled except in the highest quality rums. In fact, it’ll probably convince you rum can be drunk straight instead of mixed into a sugary slushie.