Monday, August 1, 2016

New York, Boston, and
Philadelphia all had their fair share of distilleries as far back as the
Colonial era. The rise of prohibition, however, meant the fall of many
urban distilleries. By the time the law was repealed most had been
dismantled and left to deteriorate. Recently, urban distilling has seen a
huge resurgence in both American and European cities alike, due to newly
supportive legislation, and a tidal wave of interest in craft spirits. Now
you can find distinctly Irish whiskey in the heart of Dublin, and
artisanal, flavored vodkas in the City of Light.  These popular
urban distilleries not only turn out some of the best spirits on the market,
but they also capture the character of the metropolises they call home.
Teeling Whiskey in Dublin, Ireland The last of Dublin's operating
distilleries shut down in 1976. In 2014, brothers Jack and Stephen Teeling
saw an opportunity to fill this gap and opened Teeling Whiskey, the first new
distillery in the city in 125 years. The Teeling family has a long history in
whiskey, and strives to both innovate, as well as pay homage to, the
Ireland's world-renowned whiskey reputation. "We are trying our best to
ensure we are adding to the cultural fabric of Dublin society," said Jack
Teeling, "[and] to capture the 'Spirit of Dublin' in how we go about
things. " To that end, Teeling often collaborates with local producers,
selling Irish whiskey-infused jams, ice cream, and BBQ sauce at the gift
shop, and creating menus and pairings for local restaurants. Visitors
can end their tour at the Bang Bang Bar for a signature cocktail or a dram of
any one of the various Teeling expressions. King's County Distillery
in Brooklyn, New York New York City was once home to many urban
distilleries. King's County's Colin Spoelman is something of an expert on the
subject.  In the early 2000s, New York State passed legislation making it
much easier for small distilleries to get up and running, and Spoelman and his
crew jumped at the chance. "Urban distilleries allow greater interactivity
between customer and distillers," he said. Given the amount of craftspeople
populating the borough, it wasn't hard for King's County to find like-minded
companies to collaborate with. Its chocolate whiskey features Mast Brothers
chocolate husks, and there's a limited-release honey moonshine made with
honeycombs from Brooklyn Grange Farm. The London Distillery Company
in London, England London is not exactly known as being a leader in
this whiskey-crazed world. But that may be set to change with the opening
of The London Distillery Company, the first whiskey producer to call the
city home in over a century. As of now, operations are still very much in the
experimental phase, but you can order test samples of a British rye and
"experimental gin" to chart how the company is doing as it crafts and tests
its spirits. NY Distilling Company in Brooklyn, New York Tom
Potter was no stranger to the alcohol business, having cofounded Brooklyn
Brewery in 1987. He retired in 2004 and, along with Allan Katz, started up NY
Distilling Company. The company, located in the trendy Williamsburg
neighborhood, offers a wide variety of spirits, including several types of
gin, a Rock & Rye, and a brand new, straight rye whiskey. Potter
recognizes that operating in an urban setting presents some challenges. "In a
rural setting [we] can have things spread out—but in the city everything
needs to be compact. " In true urban fashion, their Shanty bar sits just
adjacent to the production area, where visitors can sample the spirits in a
variety of cocktails. House Spirits in Portland, Oregon Portland,
Oregon is home to several urban distilleries, and the largest—not just in
the city, but in the entire state—is House Spirits, which has just opened a
new facility. "We are really proud of our downtown location, and believe that
our Portland culture and love for this city [has] helped shape our brand over
the course of the past decade," said founder Christian Krogstad. House
Spirits was conceived of as cocktail and distiller collaboration, and that
sensibility continues today. The team often works with local establishments
like Raven & Rose on cocktails and cask strength-versions of their
spirits, and they participated in this past year's Feast Portland food and
drinks festival. Visitors can sample and purchase Aviation American Gin,
Krogstad Festlig Aquavit, Westward Oregon Straight malt Whiskey and more at
the House Spirits Tasting Room. KOVAL in Chicago, Illinois 
Chicago is yet another city that, for many years, lacked any distilleries
(and thus any indigenous spirits). In 2008, this changed when KOVAL opened
its doors, producing single barrel, organic expressions of a variety of
spirits. "Chicago was a city built on manufacturing, but has since
transformed into a hub for technology, fashion, art, and hospitality," said
president Sonat Birnecker Hart. "By combining traditional distilling
methods with innovative technologies and thoughtful design practices, KOVAL
represents both Chicago's industrial history as well as the modern,
cosmopolitan metropolis that it is today. " In that spirit, KOVAL collaborated
on an event with DMK Burger Bar, featuring its new Dry Gin, and
visitors can sign up for numerous cocktail classes. Stranahan's Colorado
Whiskey in Denver, Colorado Master distiller Rob Dietrich believes
that operating in the city instead of the nearby mountains offers a wide array
of benefits. "In Denver, we have all of our resources readily available,"
said Dietrich. Still, Stranahan's faced some hurdles in getting up
and running. "It's always harder to be a pioneer than to be a settler. " he
added "Sometimes, you get to be both. "  Stranahan's is a truly
unique American whiskey with a mash bill that consists of 100 percent Rocky
Mountain barley—no corn, no rye, and no wheat. The result is extremely
malty and smooth-tasting.  Instead of an age statement, each bottle
lists what music was being listened to during the bottling process (The
Pixies, for example). Best of all, Stranahan's is an important part of
the community—they even have a 30,000-person  waiting list of
volunteers to help bottle the whiskey, and they work closely with
local bars and restaurants to collaborate on pairings and whiskey-based
dishes. After a tour, visitors can stop in at the  Whiskey
Lounge for cocktails like a Stranhattan or Rocky Mountain Cream Soda.
Distillerie de Paris in Paris, France Perhaps the newest of all urban
distilleries is Distillerie de Paris, which has been in operation for less
than a year. Right now, it offers a gin, flavored vodkas (think tea-flavored
mixtures with anise and citrus, or Indian-inspired blends with combawa and
exotic spices), rum, and a "gin style" brandy—flavored with jumiper, citrus,
and Cognac grapes.  More is certainly to come as the founders, Nicolas
and Sébastien Julhès Julhès continue to craft their distinctly French
take on a variety of spirits. American single-malt whiskey
in the heart of Philly, flavored vodkas from Paris: around the world, urban
distilleries are popping up. Read more for the best places to brew, and sip,
a city's spirit.

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