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Discover America - Raising Your Spirits: Local Distillery Tours
(2016 - Spring Issue)

Writer: Josephine Matyas

What’s behind the current renaissance of classic cocktails? Well, trend-forward bars and restaurants across the U.S. are creating cocktail lists with the perfect balance to delight taste buds. It begins with the rich flavour of artisan products made with pride at small craft distilleries.Let’s hop across the nation to sample the spirits of six states where distilleries are open to the public.

St. Augustine Distillery Co., Florida

Heard of farm-to-bottle? On the free tour through St. Augustine’s most-visited distillery and tasting room they stress the partnership with local sugar cane farmers. Inside a renovated commercial ice plant, the master distiller oversees the development of single-batch bourbon whiskey (a Florida first, to be released in fall 2016), rum, gin and vodka. The handcrafted bourbon and rum are distilled in hand-built copper stills and then aged in barrels that impart distinctive flavours. staugustinedistillery.com

Durham Distillery, North Carolina  

Distillers in Durham fuse time-honoured gin-making traditions with techniques borrowed from modern chemistry to create both classic and contemporary gins and liqueurs. Visitors tour the multi-step process, enjoy a tasting flight and take home a souvenir shot glass. durhamdistillery.com

Copper Fox Distillery, Virginia

Copper Fox Distillery is one of several stops along the Blue Ridge “Whiskey Wine Loop” through the Northern Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Copper Fox Distillery uses locally grown grain and natural fruitwood flavours, pot-stilled in small batches, one barrel at a time, honouring time-tested methods. Free tours. copperfox.biz

Maine Distilleries, Maine

Maine Distilleries is the granddaddy of Maine craft gin and vodka, and the only “ground-to-glass” distillery in the nation. At their Cold River Vodka distillery, they source only Maine-grown potatoes and use fresh, pure Maine water to create vodka, giving them unparalleled control over their small-batch production process. Call ahead for tour times. coldrivervodka.com

Woody Creek Distillers, Colorado

Woody Creek vodka is a truly Colorado-raised spirit, for the distiller controls every element of its production from farming organically grown spuds to single-batch distilling using a German-made still. Because Woody Creek Distillers uses Colorado’s tasty mountain water and potatoes with high-moisture content, its product only has to be distilled once, versus six to eight times by other vodka makers. Tours by appointment. woodycreekdistillers.com

Crater Lake Spirits by Bendistillery, Oregon

Bendistillery is the most award-winning craft distillery in the U.S. They’ve been handcrafting American distilled spirits since 1996, using only the freshest natural ingredients and pure Cascade Mountain water. The distillery offers tastings, tours and special events. bendistillery.com

Railean Distillers, Texas

Railean is the first women-owned distillery to handcraft American Rum using unsulfured, Grade-A sugar cane molasses from the Gulf Coast, and American Agave Spirit made from 100 per cent blue agave. The craft rum is enhanced by aging in new, double-charred American oak barrels to extract maximum colour, aroma and flavour. railean.com

Discover more information on travel to the USA at visittheusa.ca.

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