The big distilleries make good products but the preference of this column is still (pun accepted) local distilleries, working with local farmers and reducing their carbon emissions by shipping all of that heavy liquor and glass shorter distances to you.
Craft distilling isn’t following the same track as craft brewing and no one thought that it would. Distillation is harder and not something that you can legally practice as a hobby. Licensing takes longer, too.
Still (is it old yet?), the craft distillery movement in the Philadelphia area is picking up steam.
Here is the news from some of the Philadelphia-area distilleries.
Cooper River Distillers is up and running in Camden, New Jersey. James Yoakum, the founder and chief distiller, is a cool and accessible guy.
The distillery has a Facebook page, but it would be even better to visit the distillery, at 34 North Fourth Street in Camden (this Examiner is hoping to get there soon).
Right now, Cooper River is making Petty’s Island Rum, named for the island in the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Camden.
Dad’s Hat in Bristol, Pennsylvania has resumed production of the Port Wine Finish Rye, hoping to release a new batch this coming September or October.
Also this fall, the distillery plans to expand the tour schedule, from one or two Saturdays per month to every Saturday. There is also talk of special events, including concerts and cocktail classes.
On July 22, Dad’s Hat is doing a tasting at Fette Sau Philadelphia, pairing rye with 4 courses of BBQ.
Manatawny Still Works, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, is offering tours every Friday at 5:30 PM along with some tours on Saturday and Sunday. Tours cost $15.00 per person and they start with a cocktail.
This coming Friday, June 27, the distillery is hosting an event with the BrazBQ food truck, right at the distillery.
At the moment, Manatawney is making a white whiskey, a butter rum, and a wheat vodka.
Philadelphia Distilling Company is making absinthe, the ultimate green liquor, along with gin, vodka, and unaged corn whiskey with versions made with salted caramel and with black tea/lemon/honey. Check their site for information about tours on Saturdays.
Make a short, safe drive and check out the local offerings this summer.