I’ve been reading a lot about the Artisan Whiskey movement lately. It seems like almost every state has some sort of Artisnal Spirits industry that is in some stage of development. This all came to a head today when I read that Texas is thinking of putting together their own Bourbon Trail like the original in Kentucky. Jim and I have had the opportunity to sample some of these artisnal whiskeys and bourbons, and they all seem to be “inspired” to one degree or another.
A couple of months ago I posted about making plans during vacations to visit artisan distillery’s. This has all come together in my mind to the conclusion that Whiskey is getting more and more like wine…
The wine industry has had their act together for a long time and is very well established in the US. But when I was a child, the only wines that were available (or at least the only ones you heard about ) were from California. Today it seems like all 50 states have some sort of wine industry, and regional differences are celebrated and enjoyed.
I think the Whiskey industry is where the wine industry was 20 years ago. The vast majority of wines were grown and made in California and there were a few upstarts in Washington and Oregon, and a few local wineries scattered around the states. This reflects the Whiskey industry today.
Today the majority of whiskeys that are distilled in Kentucky and Tennessee, and new startups in Texas, Colorado, and New York, with a smattering of other artisan distilleries in about half the states.
Now if we flash forward 20 years, I believe we will see a much more robust whiskey industry in this country with several states having a firm grasp on Whiskey (Looking at you Texas and Colorado), with every state having an artisan distillery industry, and maybe one day a Spirits Route that you can travel (by charter) and sample numerous craft distilled spirits.
Maybe this is just a pipedream, but I think it is a movement that will gain in strength and popularity. I dream of the day when we have to plant oak to make barrels and we all have access to great spirits, whether they be craft whiskeys, bourbons, single malts, or others like Rum, Brandy, and Vodka.
Of course this will take legislative changes and it will require a lifting of the ban on home distilling in this country. After all most craft breweries started with people home brewing. So get to it Legislatures! I want my Idaho Whiskey Trail!
Let us know your thoughts. Are there any craft distilleries that you love? What has been your impression of the Artisan Spirits movement in the US? Let us know in the comments. And as usual Keep in Good Spirits, and Keep the Good Spirits in Ya!