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the Roaming Gnome visits a craft distillery

When one travels as much as I do, it’s important to find new ways to experience the location you’re visiting. Even if it’s a city I’ve been to many times before, there’s always something unique and local waiting around every corner. That’s why I love the rise of the craft movement. Communities are embracing all things “local” and it’s evolved into a new way to live life as a tourist, even in your own hometown!

In the wake of the craft beer movement sweeping the country, there’s a new craft kid in town. Craft distilleries are growing each year and becoming more and more customized to the locations where they’re popping up. If you’re in search of a new way to experience a well-known city, look no further than the nearest craft distillery! Here are the top 10 major cities for craft distilleries right now. Take a taste, and say “cheers!” to supporting local businesses.

the Roaming Gnome tours a craft distillery

Seattle, WA

Seattle has more distilleries than I can name, but a few staples come to mind. Be sure to check out Copperworks Tasting Room & Distillery, Fremont Mischief Distillery and OOLA Distillery. Not to mention, there’s a plethora of established craft distilleries in the surrounding area that are definitely worth the drive out there, particularly in Woodinville!

Portland, OR

Truth be told, the entire state of Oregon easily tops my list of ideal destinations whether you’re looking for wineries, distilleries OR breweries. If you really want to make the most of your time, go to Portland’s Distillery Row PDX and peruse 8 different independent distilleries producing every kind of spirit imaginable, featuring greats like Wild Roots Vodka, Thomas & Sons Distillery and much, much more!

Denver, CO

The Mile High City is home to the aptly named Mile High Spirits, known for being one of only three distilleries in the world to use an all-glass still for their process. And while you’re in Denver, pay a visit to the family-owned Leopold Bros. to try some of their award-winning spirits. If you appreciate a good whiskey, then Laws Whiskey House is the one for you.

Washington, D.C.

Our nation’s capital has a vibrant craft spirits scene, with must-visit distilleries like New Columbia Distillers (known for their iconic Green Hat Gin) and One Eight Distilling. However, for craft liquor with a side of history, take a step back in time at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Distillery. I guarantee it will be the most educated you’ll ever feel after a distillery tour!

San Diego, CA

Head out to the west coast and visit some of the local favorites: Malahat Spirits and Kill Devil Spirit Company. If you have craft beer lovers in your group, then San Diego is a great place to bridge the gap between the beer aficionados and the craft spirits enthusiasts. Visit the tasting room at Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits for a sampling of their equally renowned beers and spirits, and everyone will leave happy!

Philadelphia, PA

Craft distilleries have been booming in the Philadelphia area, another region rich with historical significance. Stop by Philadelphia Distilling, known for being one the best distilleries in the country, not to mention the first to open in the state of Pennsylvania following Prohibition! For some newer craft spirits that are making a splash, visit Red Brick Craft Distillery and W.P. Palmer Distilling.

Austin, TX

They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and the craft liquor scene is no exception! Austin has a terrific selection of distilleries both in the city and on the outskirts. But the spirits are worth the trek, from what I hear! Revolution Spirits and Genius Liquids Distillery are both in Austin proper. It may take a drive to get there, but Treaty Oak Distilling in nearby Dripping Springs is another must-try.

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN

The craft spirits scene is still a relatively young industry in the Twin Cities, but as I know better than anyone, age is just a number! The products coming from these distilleries show a quality and innovation beyond their years. The next time you’re in town, pay a visit to Norseman Distillery, Du Nord Craft Spirits or 11Wells Spirits for a taste of what Montana is bringing to the craft liquor arena.

St. Louis, MO

There’s much to see and do in St. Louis and more award-winning craft spirits than you’ll have time to taste, which means you might as well get started at St. Louis Distillery. Located in St. Charles, just outside of St. Louis, this craft vodka distillery was named by USA Today as the top craft distillery in the country last year. For more award-winners, check out StilL 630 and Spirits of St. Louis.

Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids may be better known for its craft beer, but you’ll find the local flavor of their craft liquor scene to be just as engaging and worth a sip, or two, or three. Who’s counting sips anyway? Whether you’re looking for whiskey, gin, vodka or bourbon, between great local favorites like Long Road Distillers, Gray Skies Distillery or Flat Lander’s Barstillery, you’ll find a wide variety to choose from.

Don’t take my word for it though. Go and find the nearest craft distillery in your area! Whether it’s a new city to you, or just a new side of the city you’ve never experienced before, it’s a wonderful way to “go local” and get a taste of the craft spirits movement at the same time. And for those of you looking to go off the beaten path, you may find your next destination on this list of the top 10 smaller metro areas for craft distilleries.

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