In spite of the fact that many believe American whiskey lacks character and variety in comparison to its European counterparts, our newest distilleries are easily disproving that assumption. This is because American distilleries are not as locked into tradition as many European establishments are, meaning they have greater freedom in experimenting with their recipes and distilling processes.
Due to these fluctuating trends, new distilleries are being established with every passing year. Here is a list of the best up-and-coming whiskey brands:
The producers of Stillwrights Bourbon, Flat Rock Spirits opened the doors to its Fairborn, Ohio, distillery in 2013. Flat Rock’s distilling process is strikingly different from other American brands’, as it steps up the aging process in order to create a robust, full-bodied whiskey in just two years. Not only does this brand rank well amongst the locals, but it also goes to show that quality whiskey is not just made in Kentucky.
Established in 2010, Watershed Distillery is a microdistillery that is known for its small-batch bourbon that is distilled from corn, wheat, rye and spelt, then aged in charred American oak casks. While these are the traditional practices for distilling bourbon, Watershed affirms the belief that not all good whiskey comes from Kentucky, as the distillery is located in Columbus, Ohio.
Boasting the slogan, “Booze for Badasses,” Corsair Distillery is at the frontlines of innovative distilling recipes and practices. For example, this Nashville-based craft distillery is known for its unique whiskeys, which include Quinoa Whiskey, Ryemageddon (a rye-based whiskey), and Triple Smoke (a whiskey that is comprised for three kinds of barley, each smoked by a different source — beech wood, cherry wood, and peat moss).
Established in 2009, Westland Distillery proves that Americans can make single malt whiskey just as well as the Scottish. This Seattle-based distillery produces some remarkable whiskeys, including Peated Single Malt Whiskey, Sherry Wood American Single Malt, Single Malt Cask Reserve, Cask No. 606 Cask Strength, and American Single Malt Whiskey. This is quite a lineup of products, seeing as the brand is still relatively new and small. However, it is likely that they will not remain small for much longer.
Evidently, there are some noteworthy distilleries rising through the ranks in the American market. It will be interesting to see how the face of American distilleries will change over the years, especially as these brands’ innovative and, frankly, unheard of recipes and practices become more popular.