National Craft Distillery Day: What Is A Craft Spirit?

National Craft Distillery Day is celebrated on May 22nd in honor of craft distillery pioneers Nicholas Strauser, Connie Strauser, and Brandy Strauser-Sobnaski of N Scott Distillery, who produce fine handcrafted spirits and launched their first ever products on May 22, 2017. Following their success, the family then founded National Craft Distillery day on May 22, 2019, in appreciation of the growing movement and the introduction of their signature recipe. Similar to craft beer, craft spirits have become very popular over the past couple of decades as new distilleries and spirits brands continue to emerge successfully throughout the United States. 

What is craft distillery?

Although not well defined and there are no actual federal definitions for craft distilleries, it is understood that they are small, independently owned distilleries, often boutique-style, established to produce beverage grade spirit alcohol in relatively small quantities, usually done in single batches, unlike larger-format distilleries like Captain Morgan Rum, Absolut Vodka, Maker’s Mark Bourbon, etc. The American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA), a private trade association of distillers, states that a craft distillery is one that values the importance of transparency in distillation and is open about their use of ingredients, their location and their ageing process. Craft distilleries often bottle their spirits by hand, use more archaic methods for fermenting and aging the spirits and are required to distill a maximum of 750,000 proof gallons and remove from bond no more than 52,576 nine-litter cases of spirits. 

Though craft distilleries have been established in European countries for many years, the practice and term have become very popular in the United States in recent decades. According to a recent report by the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA), by 2019 there were 1,835 craft spirits distilleries in the United States with California leading with 156 distilleries, followed by New York state with 134, Washington state with 122, Texas with 108 and Colorado with 99.Every october, the Best of Craft Spirits Distillery list is released, compiled by a group of spirits industry individuals who nominate 20 distilleries in the brandy, gin, rum, specialty spirit, vodka, and whiskey categories. 

Types of craft spirits

With the many craft spirits available today, there is a wide variety of products for the consumer to choose from. From craft vodka to craft beer, the options are endless throughout the country. One of the favorites among Americans is craft gin, which is essentially gin that is distilled in small batches, using locally sourced ingredients and crafted with much love and dedication. As it is considered one of the most popular types of craft spirits, craft gin has been created into several different distinctive and extravagant products and techniques, providing consumers with many options to choose from. Craft vodka is often overlooked but it is a unique craft spirit that is especially made with different flavors, textures and more. Craft rum has begun to gain more and more popularity as it is the most versatile spirit,and studies show that nearly 80 percent of 25- to 34-year-old spirit drinkers are partial to rum. Finally, craft tequila is a refined and delicate spirit that can be infused with different flavors such as lavender, honey, coconut and more. 

With so many craft distilleries across the nation and so many customers looking for something unique to add to their liquor cabinets, it has become easier than ever to find a local craft spirit. Craft distilling is an exciting and growing industry with new business opportunities in many different areas.  For more information of craft distilleries and craft spirits, see here

FAQ

When did spirit distillation begin?

Spirit distillation dates to the Greeks and scholars have traced the earliest recorded wine distilling recipes back to Anaxilaus of Thessaly. The Greeks took this and learned that if they boiled the wine in an open container, the hot alcohol vapor would escape first. Then, they captured the alcohol vapor and discovered that with the addition of a downwardly inclined tube the vapor would cool down and collect in the receiving vessel. Therefore, the word “distill” comes from the Latin verb destillare, which means “to drip down”.

How do craft distilleries set themselves apart?

Craft distillers infuse their products with unique qualities using locally sourced ingredients. Ultimately, craft distilleries distinguish themselves from the competition by focusing on their craftsmanship and bringing a subtle character to their final spirit.

How do I celebrate National Craft Distillery Day on May 22nd?

Celebrate National Craft Distillery Day by supporting your local craft distillery. Do some research and identify the craft distillery that most interests you, pay them a visit or shop online to enjoy your favorite spirit.

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