“We see the trend as a natural progression from beer to spirits. New England is a region notorious for producing outstanding craft beer, and local whiskey distilleries…have adopted the trend.” – Mike Reppucci, Owner of Sons of Liberty Spirits
These days it seems like whiskey and bourbon are almost synonymous with Southern states like Kentucky or Tennessee – but that could quickly be changing. As you may have noticed, New England has recently become a spirited hub for a variety of craft distilleries.
This includes Massachusetts – as our state has jumped aboard the whiskey bandwagon welcoming quite a few newcomers. Thus far, ten craft distilleries call Massachusetts home, including: Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Bully Boy Distillery, Damnation Alley Distillery, GrandTen Distilling, McMillan Distillery, Nashoba Distillery, Ryan & Wood Distillery, Turkey Shore Distilleries, Privateer Rum, and Triple Eight Distillery.
Seven of these Massachusetts craft distilleries didn’t exist before 2010. And one of these, Damnation Alley Distillery, ironically opened in Belmont, a town once deemed “dry.”
This alone is a clear testament to the trend’s growing appeal, which according to Entrepreneur magazine “is in the midst of a boom.” Less than a decade ago, only 70 distilleries existed in the U.S. Now, “there are 623 producing… whiskey, gin, vodka, rum” and everything else in-between, the magazine notes. And distillers predict these good spirits are only going to soar in the new year.
Craft distilleries are also popping up throughout Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and even Rhode Island, with their up-and-coming Sons of Liberty Spirits – a distillery that is leading the craft spirit revolution right here in New England.
The New England distillery has received considerable attention for their seasonal selections like Pumpkin Spice Whiskey (left) and their signature line of whiskey, “Uprising.” The owner, Mike Reppucci, explained to BostInno that because all whiskey actually starts as beer, he wondered why distilleries, “especially in New England, had not captured the flavor and seasonality produced by local brewers.”
“Massachusetts and New England natives dating back to the original Sons of Liberty, have always prided themselves on forward thinking and innovation,” Reppucci continues. “The advanced class of whiskey that is now being distilled locally is a direct reflection of those regional social characteristics.”
In other words, it seems New England was meant for distilling spirits. Reppucci explained to BostInno that his distillery is “only minutes from Narragansett Bay. The hydric soil found in the area, combined with the high levels of iodine and sea salt from the ocean air, make for an ideal location to distill craft whiskey.”
He claims the trend is only a natural progression from beer to spirits. “New England is a region notorious for producing outstanding craft beer (Sam Adams, Harpoon, Shipyard, Berkshire, Ipswich, etc.) and local whiskey distilleries through a real sense of terroir, have adopted the trend.”
We’ll have to see what 2014 has in store for future craft distillers in New England. But for now, the region seems to be in very good spirits.