Long Road Distillers named best in the U.S.

Grand Rapids distillery wins Best Craft Specialty Spirits Distillery

Gin, vodka, rum and whiskey are great and all, but the American thirst for craft spirits has grown beyond the bounds of the traditional to embrace specialty spirits from around the globe. Modern day distilleries now craft liqueurs, absinthe, aquavit, amaro and a host of other interesting libations alongside their flagship spirits.

  • Long Road Distillers
    Grand Rapids, Mich.

    Among the spirits made by the folks at Long Road Distillers in Grand Rapids are two varieties of aquavit, a popular Scandinavian spirit. The Original Aquavit has a profile of herbs and spices, while the limited release Old Aquavit rests in used whiskey barrels for 12 months, lending it greater complexity with notes of dill and caraway. The Michigan distillery also makes limited release liqueurs in flavors like raspberry and cherry.
    Photo courtesy of Long Road Distillers

  • Wigle Whiskey

    In addition to whiskey, gin and rum, Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh also distills barrel-aged honey spirits, a pickle-flavored rye spirit, organic absinthe and liqueurs made from apple, maple, coffee and rhubarb.
    Photo courtesy of Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

  • Boardroom Spirits
    Lansdale, Penn.

    Among the interesting offerings from Boardroom Spirits are their Periodic Table of Spirits, each distilled from fermented fruits and vegetables like beets, carrots, apples and pears. The distillery also makes a Triple Sec Liqueur infused with real oranges and sweetened with organic cane sugar.
    Photo courtesy of Boardroom Spirits

  • Letterpress Distilling

    The grain-to-glass Letterpress Distillery in Seattle distills their spirits from locally sourced wheat and barley. The lineup of specialty spirits includes a bittersweet amaro, limoncello made from a house-distilled vodka base and real lemons and a spring seasonal blood orange liqueur.
    Photo courtesy of Letterpress Distilling

  • Tamworth Distilling
    Tamworth, N.H.

    Tamworth Distilling specializes in unique spirits made from local ingredients, including their Tamworth Garden Gin Series, their line of Von Humboldt’s Natur Wassser and their Garden Infusion spirits using New England ingredients like Black Trumpet Blueberry, Chicory and Beet. From start to finish, each spirit embodies their scratch made ethos: local, house-milled grain, pure water, herbs and botanicals from the woods and their garden, along with local fruits and vegetables.
    Photo courtesy of Tamworth Distilling

  • Saxtons River Distillery
    Brattleboro, Vt.

    Among the specialty spirits from Saxtons River Distillery in Vermont are a maple liqueur made from distilled Vermont maple syrup aged in American oak, as well as a coffee liqueur made with Arabica beans roasted in Vermont, cold brewed and infused into a house-distilled spirit.
    Photo courtesy of Saxtons River Distillery

  • Don Ciccio & Figli

    This Washington, DC distillery specializes in creative small-batch spirits, from their line of Italian-inspired aperitifs to favorites like amaro, limoncello, fennel liqueur and bittersweet walnut liqueur.
    Photo courtesy of Don Ciccio & Figli

  • Geijer Spirits
    San Francisco

    What started as a Swedish family recipe for glögg liqueur launched what is today Geijer Spirits, a distillery that blends Scandinavian tradition with California flavors. Aside from the flagship Glögg Liqueur, product offerings include aquavit, fernet, orange liqueur and California spiced liqueur.
    Photo courtesy of Geijer Spirits

  • Vermont Distillers
    West Marlboro, Vt.

    The flagship product from Vermont Distillers is Metcalfe’s Vermont Maple Cream Liqueur, but other excellent offerings include a maple liqueur made from blending a corn vodka base with locally sourced Vermont maple syrup, limoncello made from hand-zested lemons and raspberry and blueberry liqueurs.
    Photo courtesy of Vermont Distillers / Facebook

  • New Deal Distillery
    Portland, Ore.

    At New Deal Distillery in Portland, craft spirits include the usual suspects, as well as some interesting additions, like Cascadia American Bitter Liqueur, a European-style spirit inspired by the flora of the Cascade Mountains. Other offerings include a ginger liqueur, coffee liqueur and a new coffee cherry fruit (cascara) liqueur.
    Photo courtesy of New Deal Distillery

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

  1. Long Road Distillers - Grand Rapids, Mich.
  2. Wigle Whiskey - Pittsburgh
  3. Boardroom Spirits - Lansdale, Penn.
  4. Letterpress Distilling - Seattle
  5. Tamworth Distilling - Tamworth, N.H.
  6. Saxtons River Distillery - Brattleboro, Vt.
  7. Don Ciccio & Figli - Washington
  8. Geijer Spirits - San Francisco
  9. Vermont Distillers - West Marlboro, Vt.
  10. New Deal Distillery - Portland, Ore.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Emily Arden Wells (Gastronomista); Brian Christensen (Artisan Spirit Magazine); Ziggy Eschliman, one of America's most authoritative and entertaining libation experts; Kevin Gray (Bevvy); Eric Grossman (Craft Spirits) and Jack Robertiello, a spirits competition judge, were chosen for their knowledge of the American craft spirits scene.

Congratulations to all these winning distilleries.

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AlertThe Experts

Emily Arden Wells

Emily Arden Wells

Brian Christensen

Brian Christensen

Ziggy Eschliman

Ziggy Eschliman

Kevin Gray

Kevin Gray

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Jack Robertiello

Jack Robertiello