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Best Craft Brandy Distillery: Laird & Company wins

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Winning distillery transforms Virginia-grown apples into a range of sipping brandies

Note from 10Best: Someday, we'll all be ready to pack our suitcases again and head out on our next adventures. In the meantime, we'll keep supporting the places that inspire us.

  • Laird & Company

    Laird & Company
    Scobeyville, New Jersey

    Laird & Company specializes in apple spirits made from Virginia-grown, tree-ripened apples. The distillery makes several brandies, including a single cask selection, bottled-in-bond apple brandy and both aged and un-aged apple brandies.
    Photo courtesy of Laird & Company

  • Spirits of French Lick

    Spirits of French Lick
    West Baden Springs, Indiana

    Indiana’s Spirits of French Lick distillery produces three different brandies, an apple brandy, Catawba grape juice brandy and an eau-de-vie infused with Marion blackberries.
    Photo courtesy of Spirits of French Lick

  • Germain-Robin

    Germain-Robin
    Sanger, California

    The flagship Germain-Robin brandy is made from California-grown Colombard grapes, distilled in Pruhlo Charentais Pot Stills and aged in Limousine oak barrels. The XO expression highlights the flavor of California-grown Pinot Noir grapes.
    Photo courtesy of Germain-Robin

  • Huber's Starlight Distillery

    Huber's Starlight Distillery
    Starlight, Indiana

    Located at Huber’s Orchard, Winery & Vineyards, Huber's Starlight Distillery uses estate-bottled wines to produce artisan European-style brandies and ports. Fresh blueberry juice is distilled into a wonderful blueberry liqueur that gets aged in red wine barrels for five to ten years, while a small-batch peach brandy is distilled from home-grown peaches.
    Photo courtesy of Huber's Starlight Distillery

  • Long Road Distillers

    Long Road Distillers
    Grand Rapids, Michigan

    Long Road Distillers makes a small-batch brandy from fresh local apples sourced from the Fruit Ridge of West Michigan. The brandy spends nearly a year in used whiskey barrels to allow the flavors to develop and mellow.
    Photo courtesy of Long Road Distillers

  • Driftless Glen Distillery

    Driftless Glen Distillery
    Baraboo, Wisconsin

    The 5 Year Reserve Brandy from Driftless Glen Distillery in Wisconsin starts in France, where grapes are barreled and aged onsite for five years in French oak. The spirit is then brought to Wisconsin, where it’s cask-finished in bourbon barrels to add depth of flavor and color.
    Photo courtesy of Driftless Glen Distillery

  • Korbel

    Korbel
    Guerneville, California

    Korbel has been producing California brandy since 1889. This award-winning spirit is made from California grapes, distilled in small batches and aged in fire-charred oak barrels to produce a golden brandy with a rich butterscotch nose and a smooth finish.
    Photo courtesy of Korbel

  • Santa Fe Spirits

    Santa Fe Spirits
    Santa Fe, New Mexico

    Santa Fe Spirits takes apples from their own orchard and blends them with fruit of neighboring New Mexico orchards to produce this small-batch brandy, characterized by notes of apple peel, vanilla and cinnamon.
    Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Spirits

  • AFT Distillery

    AFT Distillery
    Luling, Texas

    Edelbrand translates to “noble brandy” – a spirit from the alpine regions of Europe made from fruit, yeast and water. This small Texas distillery makes their own version of apple, cherry and Williams pear edelbrands made from whole single variety fruits. Texas Oak Reserve bottles spend time in toasted white American oak.
    Photo courtesy of AFT Distillery

  • Copper & Kings

    Copper & Kings
    Louisville, Kentucky

    Copper & Kings in Louisville specializes in pot-still American brandies, distilled low and slow to maximize flavors without added flavors or colors. The Copper & Kings lineup includes three American brandies (made from distilled grapes), two apple brandies (one aged and one un-aged) and several brandies aged in craft beer and tequila barrels.
    Photo courtesy of Copper & Kings

  • Laird & Company
  • Spirits of French Lick
  • Germain-Robin
  • Huber's Starlight Distillery
  • Long Road Distillers
  • Driftless Glen Distillery
  • Korbel
  • Santa Fe Spirits
  • AFT Distillery
  • Copper & Kings

Brandy is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, thanks in part to renewed interest in classic cocktail recipes. The term "brandy" refers primarily to spirits distilled from wine, and more broadly to spirits distilled from fruits (also called eau de vie). Many of these distilleries work in small batches using locally-sourced ingredients, including apples, pears and other fruits grown on nearby orchards or in partnership with local wineries. 

The top 10 winners in the category Best Craft Brandy Distillery are as follows:

  1. Laird & Company - Scobeyville, New Jersey
  2. Spirits of French Lick - West Baden Springs, Indiana
  3. Germain-Robin - Sanger, California
  4. Huber's Starlight Distillery - Starlight, Indiana
  5. Long Road Distillers - Grand Rapids, Michigan
  6. Driftless Glen Distillery - Baraboo, Wisconsin
  7. Korbel - Guerneville, California
  8. Santa Fe Spirits - Santa Fe, New Mexico
  9. AFT Distillery - Luling, Texas
  10. Copper & Kings - Louisville, Kentucky

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning distilleries!

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