Best Craft Whiskey Distillery (2019)


The American craft whiskey scene has really come into its own over the past few years, expanding beyond the traditional Tennessee and Kentucky bourbons to include ryes, single malts, blends and white whiskeys made with a combination of old-world and new-school techniques.

  • Ironroot Republic

    Ironroot Republic
    Denison, Texas

    Ironroot Republic mashes, ferments, distills, ages and bottles all their spirits in Denison, Texas for a true grain-to-glass experience. The lineup includes three whiskies –two straight bourbons and a limited release straight corn whiskey.
    Photo courtesy of Ironroot Republic

  • Sagamore Spirit

    Sagamore Spirit

    Sagamore Spirit crafts rye whiskies on Baltimore’s waterfront, aged and proofed with Sagamore Farm spring water. Each batch is bottled and labeled by hand. Whiskey lovers can choose from a line of six rye whiskies, including a cask strength, double oak, port finish and moscatel barrel finished whiskey.
    Photo courtesy of Sagamore Spirit

  • Limestone Branch Distillery

    Limestone Branch Distillery
    Lebanon, Ky.

    The award-winning family of whiskeys from Limestone Branch Distillery in Kentucky includes Yellowstone Select (a straight blended bourbon), Yellowstone Limited Edition (another blended bourbon used the best of Limestone Branch’s own stock) and Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey finished in sherry casks.
    Photo courtesy of Limestone Branch Distillery

  • Sugarlands Distilling Company

    Sugarlands Distilling Company
    Gatlinburg, Tenn.

    While Sugarlands Distilling Company is best known for its moonshines, the distillery also makes the award-winning Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey, a cask strength spirit with notes of black pepper, vanilla, tobacco, caramel and oak.
    Photo courtesy of Sugarlands Distilling Company

  • Seven Stills

    Seven Stills
    San Francisco

    Seven Stills makes whiskey a bit differently. Instead of the typical mash of corn, barley, rye or wheat, this San Francisco distillery uses craft beers as the starting point. Offerings include a Core Series made from in-house beers, as well as a Collaboration Series in partnership with other breweries and an Experimental Series available exclusively at the distillery.
    Photo courtesy of Seven Stills Brewery & Distillery

  • Smooth Ambler

    Smooth Ambler
    Maxwelton, W.V.

    Smooth Ambler uses fresh mountain water and hand-selected grains in crafting their line of four whiskeys. The flagship Old Scout American Whiskey is a blend of whiskeys distilled from bourbon mash bills, one aged in new oak and the other in re-charred bourbon casks. Old Scout Single Barrel Bourbon is bottled at cask-strength. The Big Level Bourbon incorporates wheat and malted barley into the mash, while Smooth Ambler Contradiction is a blend of classic and wheated bourbons.
    Photo courtesy of Smooth Ambler

  • Laws Whiskey House

    Laws Whiskey House

    Laws Whiskey House in Denver not only seeks to make excellent whiskey, but also to educate and share that love of whiskey with others. Spirits are distilled from grain to bottle in-house using Colorado ingredients to create four grain bourbons, straight ryes, malt whiskeys, wheat whiskeys and corn whiskeys.
    Photo courtesy of Dustin Hall / Brewtography Project

  • Traverse City Whiskey Co.

    Traverse City Whiskey Co.
    Traverse City, Mich.

    Traverse City Whiskey Co. makes five grain-to-bottle whiskeys, including a straight bourbon, barrel proof bourbon, rye and a port barrel finished whiskey. One of the more unique offerings is the American Cherry Edition, a whiskey steeped with Montmorency cherries grown on the distillery’s own family farm.
    Photo courtesy of Traverse City Whiskey Co.

  • Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co.

    Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co.
    Fort Worth

    Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co., based in Fort Worth, is known for their TX Whiskey and TX Bourbon. The former is a blended whiskey while the latter is a straight bourbon made with yellow dent Texas corn, soft red winter wheat, distillers malt and a proprietary strain of yeast from a Texas pecan tree.
    Photo courtesy of Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co.

  • Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Co.

    Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Co.
    South Kingstown, R.I.

    Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Co. in Rhode Island crafts three bourbons, five single malts and a few seasonal whiskies. The single malts often take inspiration from beer, even using darker malts traditionally associated with stouts and Belgian ales. The limited edition wheated single malt is distilled from wheat bear.
    Photo courtesy of Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Co.

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

  1. Ironroot Republic - Denison, Texas
  2. Sagamore Spirit - Baltimore
  3. Limestone Branch Distillery - Lebanon, Ky.
  4. Sugarlands Distilling Company - Gatlinburg, Tenn.
  5. Seven Stills - San Francisco
  6. Smooth Ambler - Maxwelton, W.V.
  7. Laws Whiskey House - Denver
  8. Traverse City Whiskey Co. - Traverse City, Mich.
  9. Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. - Fort Worth
  10. Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Co. - South Kingstown, R.I.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning distilleries!

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