Readers Vote St. Augustine Distillery Best Craft Gin Distillery

Durham Distillery, Caledonia Spirits, Philadelphia Distilling and Trailhead Spirits Distillery also winners

Gin, a spirit made from neutral spirits or other base spirits, gets its name from the word "Genievre," French for "juniper." While juniper berries often take center stage in the flavor profile of gin, modern-day distilleries are adding a host of supporting botanicals to create complex and varied spirits, perfect for crafting a classic gin and tonic.

  • 3 Badge Mixology
    Sonoma, Calif.

    Uncle Val's Gin, crafted by 3 Badge Mixology in Sonoma, comes in three varieties: Botanical flavored with cucumber, juniper, lemon, sage and lavender; Restorative with juniper, coriander, cucumber and rose petals; and Peppered, a bold gin made with juniper, red bell peppers, black peppercorn and pimento.
    Photo courtesy of 3 Badge Mixology

  • Martin Ryan Distilling Co.
    Portland, Ore.

    Aria Gin, made by Martin Ryan Distilling Co. in Portland, is a hand-distilled English-style gin using traditional English ingredients and techniques. Full-bodied and aromatic, this gin features floral, citrus and earthy undertones to balance the juniper notes. Bull Run water from the Mt. Hood glacial snow melt is the only water used to dilute Aria Gin.
    Photo courtesy of Martin Ryan Distilling Co.

  • Captive Spirits Distilling

    Seattle's Captive Spirits Distilling is a family-run company exclusively focused on crafting gin using traditional distilling methods. Their Big Gin is loaded with flavors of juniper, bitter orange peel and Tasmanian pepper berries, while the Bourbon Barreled Big Gin has wood notes to complement the botanicals.
    Photo courtesy of Captive Spirits Distilling

  • Spirit Works Distillery
    Sebastopol, Calif.

    Northern California-based Spirit Works Distillery crafts grain-to-glass spirits made from California-grown organic red winter wheat. This slightly sweet base spirit gets combined with juniper berries and fresh California botanicals to create their flagship gin. The Barrel Gin spends several months in new American white oak, while the Sloe Gin and Barrel Reserve Sloe Gin are made by steeping sloe berries in gin.
    Photo courtesy of Spirit Works Distillery

  • Tamworth Distilling
    Tamworth, N.H.

    Tamworth Distilling created their Tamworth Garden Apiary Gin to honor New Hampshire's local bees. Botanicals include juniper, hand-foraged poplar buds, red clover and honey. The Tamworth Garden Flora Gin pairs classic botanicals like juniper and coriander with geranium, violet, lemon verbena, red clover and elderflower.
    Photo courtesy of Tamworth Distilling

  • Trailhead Spirits Distillery
    Billings, Mont.

    Located in historic downtown Billings, Trailhead Spirits Distillery hand-crafts Healy's Gin, an American-style gin with juniper, coriander and non-traditional botanicals like hops, heather tips, sweet grass and bitterroot. Healy's Reserve Gin is aged in oak whiskey barrels to create a smooth and complex sipping spirit.
    Photo courtesy of Trailhead Spirits / Facebook

  • Philadelphia Distilling

    Bluecoat American Dry Gin, hand-distilled by Philadelphia Distilling, blends sweet aromatics with earthy notes of juniper to create a smooth and complex gin. Bluecoat Barrel Finished Gin spends a minimum of three months in new American oak barrels to add hinds of vanilla, caramel and toffee without losing the bite of juniper and pepper.
    Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Distilling

  • Caledonia Spirits
    Hardwick, Vt.

    Barr Hill Gin, craft distilled by Caledonia Spirits, uses pure grain spirits infused with juniper berry and raw northern honey, added just before bottling to impart a subtle floral quality. Tom Cat Gin gets barrel-aged for four to six months in new charred American oak to give it whiskey-like notes.
    Photo courtesy of Caledonia Spirits

  • Durham Distillery
    Durham, N.C.

    Durham Distillery crafts their small-batch Conniption Gins in a custom-designed German copper pot still. Botanicals are individually vacuum-distilled to maximize their flavor. Conniption American Dry Gin exhibits floral notes of cucumber, honeysuckle and citrus, while the Navy Strength Gin is made with botanicals like Indian coriander, cardamom, rosemary, caraway, citrus and fig.
    Photo courtesy of Felicia Perry Photography / Durham Distillery

  • St. Augustine Distillery
    St. Augustine, Fla.

    New World Gin, made in small batches at St. Augustine Distillery in Florida, exhibits citrus and spice notes from botanicals like cassia bark and angelica around the flavor of juniper. In summer of 2016, the distillery began offering two limited release gins, a Sweet Red Barrel-Aged Gin and a Sweet White Barrel-Aged Gin, both rested in vermouth barrels.
    Photo courtesy of St. Augustine Distillery

10Best recruited a panel of spirits experts to help us nominate the best craft gin distilleries in the nation, and for the past four weeks, our readers have been voting for their favorites. Many of these distilleries work in small batches using locally-sourced ingredients. Many are family-owned. Many painstakingly distill their spirits using a blend of traditional and modern techniques. All take pride in crafting unique gins that are far from run-of-the-mill. 

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

  1. St. Augustine Distillery - St. Augustine, Fla.
  2. Durham Distillery - Durham, N.C.
  3. Caledonia Spirits - Hardwick, Vt.
  4. Philadelphia Distilling - Philadelphia
  5. Trailhead Spirits Distillery - Billings, Mont.
  6. Tamworth Distilling - Tamworth, N.H.
  7. Spirit Works Distillery - Sebastopol, Calif.
  8. Captive Spirits Distilling - Seattle
  9. Martin Ryan Distilling Co. - Portland, Ore.
  10. 3 Badge Mixology - Sonoma, Calif.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Emily Arden Wells (Gastronomista), Brian Christensen (Artisan Spirit Magazine), Erik Holzherr (Wisdom), Laura Johnson (Distillerista)m Arthur Shapiro (Booze Business) and Olivier Ward (Gin Foundrywere chosen based on their expertise in the American craft spirits industry.

Additional nominated distilleries included Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Death's Door Spirits, Distillery No. 209, FEW Spirits, Greenhook Ginsmiths, House Spirits Distillery, Leopold Bros., New Holland Artisan Spirits, New York Distilling Company and St. George Spirits.

Congratulations to all our winning craft distilleries!

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Emily Arden Wells

Emily Arden Wells

Brian Christensen

Erik Holzherr

Erik Holzherr

Laura Johnson

Laura Johnson

Arthur Shapiro

Arthur Shapiro

Olivier Ward

Olivier Ward