Limited-run, small-batch manufacturing, using carefully selected and often local ingredients, is gaining traction among consumers in search of authenticity and character. One manifestation of that trend is the craft distillery, a raw work space filled with alembics, coils, vats, and the smell of cereal and fermentation. Twenty years ago about 60 legal U.S. microdistilleries—those producing less than 65,000 gallons a year—existed; today there are 300-plus, with dozens more emerging each year, according to Bill Owens, founder of the American Distilling Institute. Such artisans are among the most hardcore do-it-yourselfers on the planet, constantly figuring out ways to reclaim the skills and methods nearly lost to mass production. They work in hope that their ingredients and talents lead to something distinctive—something that allows them to grab a toehold against fierce competition from established industry titans.
Wisconsin’s own 45th Parallel Spirits in New Richmond gets a mention, which is nice. And then there’s a list of a cocktail recipes. The 45th Freaky Greek looks to be worth a try.
(Pic: Pot still and rectification column, courtesy of 45th Parallel Spirits. Photography by LukeStudios.com)