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Philadelphia Distilling

CREDIT: J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Federal Distilling

CREDIT: J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

CREDIT: Courtesy of La Colombe

New Liberty Distillery

CREDIT: J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Manatawny Still Works

CREDIT: Courtesy of Manatawny Still Works

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The Craft Distilleries & Spirits Trail of Greater Philadelphia

See why small-batch distilling is booming in the region

Craft distilleries in the Philadelphia region are absolutely booming, helping to restore Pennsylvania to its once-prominent place in the national distilling conversation.

Until Prohibition wiped out the state’s industry, Pennsylvania housed the country’s densest cluster of homespun and commercial whiskey producers, beginning with some of the country’s earliest settlers.

In 2011, Pennsylvania’s government passed reforms that allowed distillers to offer tours, samples and onsite sales. These new laws opened up the craft to would-be distillers who now proudly produce and sell small-batch spirits in Philadelphia.

In a sign of the industry’s maturation, the Philadelphia Distillery Trail keeps a running tally and map of the select regional makers, to promote visitation and sampling.

Here’s a look at some of the region’s distilling pioneers.

Note: Schedules do change, so check online or call in advance to ensure the distillery is open the day you plan to attend.

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Manatawny Still Works Craft Spirits Shop and Tasting Room

Philadelphia

The Manatawny Still Works Craft Spirits Shop and Tasting Room is located just steps away from the "singing fountain" on East Passyunk Avenue. The store is open Wednesday through Sunday and serves up flights of Manatawny's spirits as well as a menu of mixed drinks.
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Bluebird Distilling

Philadelphia

Phoenixville-based Bluebird Distilling opened its first Philadelphia outpost right downtown at The Shops at Liberty Place. The distillery's spirits lineup includes a rye whiskey, four grain bourbon, sugarcane rum, white rye whiskey, "juniperus" gin and small-batch vodka.
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Rowhouse Spirits

Philadelphia

A small shed on the property of Philadelphia Brewing Company (PBC) — not, as the name would suggest, a rowhome — is where former PBC brewer owner Dean Browne perfects his craft. Rowhouse makes very small batch gin (lauded by Philadelphia magazine as “Best of Philly” in 2016), traditionally Scandinavian Nordic Akvavit, Poitín Irish-style moonshine made from 100% barley malts and Bear Trap herbal liqueur, which tastes like anise and is made from 19 fresh organic botanicals. Tours of the 1,200-square-foot space take place Thursday through Saturday.
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W.P. Palmer Distilling Co.

Philadelphia

This Manayunk distillery takes a historical approach to its sole spirit: gin. Handcrafted in a copper-pot still, Palmer's Liberty Gin uses a traditional 18th-century Dutch recipe that calls for rich botanicals, citrus and spices.
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Red Brick Craft Distillery

Philadelphia

Founded with a successful crowd-funding campaign, Red Brick Craft Distillery produces two small-batch whiskeys and Simple Shine, a clear sugar wash rum. Tours and tastings take place by reservation on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
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Naoj & Mot

Philadelphia

Launched as a distraction for a mother grieving her deceased son, Naoj & Mott has been producing the Pollyodd line of Italian liqueurs since 2012. Though the distillery itself is closed to the public, Joan Verratti, the state’s first licensed female distiller, runs a vibrant tasting room where she pours five natural cream-based and five water-based spirits like Limoncello using locally sourced ingredients.
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Hewn Spirits

Pipersville, Bucks County

Hewn Spirits sources grains locally, distills them in a handmade copper pot still and ages them in old, reclaimed rare-wood barrels. Among Hewn’s products: Shipmate Rum, Dark Hollow Pennsylvania Bourbon, Red Barn Rye Whiskey, Reclamation American Single Malt Whiskey and New Moon Moonshine. Distillery tours and tastings take place some Fridays and Saturdays in Pipersville, next door to the Bucks County Brewery; the Peddler’s Village bar and tasting room are open daily.
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Bluebird Distilling

Phoenixville, Chester County

Historical records suggest that Bluebird Distilling is Chester County’s first post-Prohibition distillery. Bluebird uses all natural ingredients to produce its broad selection of products, including white whiskey, rum, gin, vodka, plus four-grain bourbon and rye — five of which medaled at 2017 American Craft Spirits Awards. That ethos extends to the self-proclaimed “urban steampunk” saloon, where bartenders mix cocktails with fresh-squeezed juices and ingredients made from scratch.
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Five Saints Distilling and International Spirits

Norristown, Montgomery County

Named after his father and the four men who served as father figures to founder John George after his own dad passed away, Five Saints Distilling and International Spirits opened its doors in autumn 2015 in the Historic Humane Engine #1 Firehouse. Doubling as both a firehouse museum and distillery that specializes in premium spirits, including gin, vodka, whiskey (including bourbon) and orangecello, Five Saints offers tours, tastings, retail and events.
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Boardroom Spirits Distillery

Lansdale, Montgomery County

Headquartered in Lansdale, this sustainable, family-owned craft-distillery uses local ingredients in Its line of award winning unaged spirits that include rum, gin, eau de vie brandy, triple sec, vegetable-based specialty spirits as well as vodka and real ingredient flavored vodka with brandy and whiskey in the near future. Visitors can enjoy Boardroom’s cocktail lounge Thursday through Sunday and book free tours through their website. Local food trucks help tasters hold their liquor on “Foodie Fridays.”
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Cooper River Distillers

Camden County, NJ

Kentucky-bred owner James Yoakum comes from a place that produces many micro-distillers: home brewing, a pastime Yoakum enjoyed for years before deciding to open Camden, New Jersey’s first-ever legal distillery. Distilling Petty’s Island Rum, Copper & Vine Garden State Brandy and Cooper River Bourbon and Rye Whiskey out of a handmade copper still in a garage, Yoakum opens to the public every Friday, 4 to 8 p.m., Saturday, 1 to 8 p.m. and during special events to show visitors around and sell them bottles and hand-crafted cocktails.
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