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Philadelphia Distilling

CREDIT: Courtesy Philadelphia Distilling

Federal Distilling

CREDIT: Courtesy Stateside

CREDIT: Courtesy of La Colombe

Manatawny Still Works

CREDIT: Courtesy of Manatawny Still Works

Naoj Mot

CREDIT: Courtesy of Naoj Mot

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The Craft Distilleries & Spirits Trail of Greater Philadelphia

See why small-batch distilling is booming in the region

In just a couple of years, the number of craft distilleries in the Philadelphia region has increased by more than a dozen, 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, Philadelphia Distilling, the first distillery to open in Pennsylvania since Prohibition, recently moved into much larger headquarters in Fishtown, adding a full-scale bar in the process.

Read on for 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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Philadelphia Distilling

Philadelphia

Approximately a decade after opening as Pennsylvania’s first craft distillery since Prohibition, Philadelphia Distilling has relocated to a larger and more visitor-friendly facility in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood. The makers of Bluecoat American Dry Gin, Bluecoat Barrel-Finished Gin, Vieux Carré Absinthe, Penn 1681 Vodka and THE BAY Seasoned Vodka (seasoned with traditional Chesapeake Bay seasonings) offer a brand-new distillery, a bar, a lounge and more, with a tasting room, an event space and patio to come
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Federal Distilling

Philadelphia

The Kensington neighborhood’s Federal Distilling specializes in the clear nectar of the gods. A tribute to the rich history of Philadelphia, their signature Stateside Urbancraft Vodka is the main attraction. Tours and tastings are available Thursday through Sunday.
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Rowhouse Spirits

Philadelphia

A visit to Rowhouse Spirits gives a glimpse of the evolution of the modern American craft movement — from craft beer to craft spirits. Rowhouse owner Dean Browne works out of a tiny shed on the property of Philadelphia Brewing Company, where he worked for years as a brewer. Browne produces very small batch gin (lauded by Philadelphia magazine as “Best of Philadelphia” 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. Browne also offers rum and barrel-aged spirits. Tastings at of the 1,200-square-foot space take place Thursdays through Sundays.
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New Liberty Distillery

Philadelphia

Opened by a founder of Philadelphia Distilling and veterans of the spirits industry, Millstone Spirits Group designs and manufactures copper stills and produces whiskeys and vodka under the name New Liberty Distillery. On Saturdays and Sundays, visitors can choose a standard or premium tour package to explore the showroom and distillery — partially housed in circa-1906 horse stables — and taste the product, branded as Kinsey spirits after a 19th-century Pennsylvania label that folded in the 1970s.
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W.P. Palmer Distilling Co.

Philadelphia

Manayunk’s W.P. Palmer Distilling Co. takes a historical approach to its sole spirit. 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 crowdfunding campaign, Kensington’s Red Brick Craft Distillery produces two small-batch whiskeys and Simple Shine, a clear sugar wash rum. Tours and tastings take place weekends by reservation from 1 to 6 p.m.
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Naoj & Mot

Philadelphia

Launched as a distraction for a mother grieving her deceased son, Naoj & Mot distillery 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 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

Located next to the Bucks County Brewery, Hewn Spirits differentiates itself in part by collaborating closely with its brewing neighbor and sharing its used barrels for aging. Owner Sean Tracy, who has spent 25 years restoring and converting early-American barns into custom homes, experiments with aging his whiskey in rare and sometimes extinct types of wood. He also incorporates grains grown less than 10 miles away and milled in a working 19th-century gristmill. The public can visit on Friday and Saturday nights and tour by appointment.
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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, four-grain bourbon and rye. That wholesome 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 a 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

Corporate émigré siblings recently founded Boardroom Spirits Distillery by tapping the talents of Hungarian Master Distiller Attila Kovacs. The distillery uses natural ingredients and not-yet-mainstream technology to produce five varieties of whiskey, rum, gin, brandy and vegetable-based specialty spirits. For the vodka lover, Boardroom offers both a double gold medal award-winning regular vodka, as well as “fresh vodka” infused with real cranberry or citrus, along with other seasonal small-batch releases. Tours are offered on weekends, at 1 and 5 p.m. In addition, local food trucks help tasters hold their liquor on Foodie Fridays.
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Cooper River Distillers

Camden County, NJ

Kentucky-bred Cooper River Distillers owner James Yoakum comes from a background that breeds many of the region’s micro-distillers: home brewing. Yoakum home brewed for years before deciding to open what may be Camden, New Jersey’s first-ever distillery. Distilling rum, rye whiskey, brandy and soon-to-be-released bourbon out of a handmade copper still in a garage, Yoakum opens to the public Fridays and Saturdays, and during special events to show visitors around and sell them bottles and cocktails.
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