Readers' Choice winners: Best craft distilleries of 2017

Who makes the best craft vodka, whiskey, rum, gin and specialty spirits? See the winners!

By 10Best Editors,

Craft distilling was virtually nonexistent a decade ago. Today, the United States is home to more than 1,200 craft distilleries and that number continues to grow. To celebrate the spirit of craft spirits, we asked you, our readers, to help us crown the best producers of craft gins, vodkas, whiskeys, rums and specialty spirits in the country.

We enlisted the help of a panel of spirits experts to nominate 20 distilleries in each category. For the past four weeks, you've been voting daily for your favorites, and the results are in.

Click on each category below to see the full list of winners:

Best Craft Gin Distillery: Hardshore Distilling Company in Portland, Maine

Hardshore Distilling Company takes top honors for Best Craft Gin — Photo courtesy of Hardshore Distilling Company

The flagship spirit at Hardshore Distilling Company in Portland, Maine is their Hardshore Original Gin, a bright spirit made with five botanicals that exhibits notes of iris, mint, rosemary and soft citrus. Hardshore crafts their own base spirit from grains grown at the founder's family farm.

Full list of winners: 10 Best Craft Gin Distilleries

Best Craft Rum Distillery: Wicked Dolphin in Cape Coral, Fla.

Wicked Dolphin wins again for Best Craft Rum — Photo courtesy of Wicked Dolphin

Founded in 2012, Wicked Dolphin Distillery uses 100-percent Florida-grown sugarcane to create small-batch rums in a traditional copper pot still. The spirit then gets aged in used American white oak Kentucky bourbon barrels for a minimum of one year (and up to 14 years). Wicked Dolphin also produces a silver rum, coconut rum (made from real coconut water) and Rumshine, a 100-proof spirit made from fresh local strawberries.

Full list of winners: Best Craft Rum Distilleries

Best Craft Vodka Distillery: Tom’s Town Distilling Co. in Kansas City, Mo.

Tom's Town Distilling Co. makes the Best Craft Vodka — Photo courtesy of Tom's Town Distilling Co.

Eli's StrongArm Vodka, made at Tom's Town Distilling Co. in Kansas City, is named after Eli Matheus, a rough-and-tough Prohibition-era riverboat captain. In contrast, his namesake vodka is smooth and pure, thanks to a 16-time distillation process.

Full list of winners: Best Craft Vodka Distilleries

Best Craft Whiskey Distillery: Garrison Brothers in Hye, Texas

Garrison Brothers in Hye, Texas wins for Best Craft Whiskey — Photo courtesy of Garrison Brothers

Garrison Brothers Distillery specializes in fine Texas bourbon made from 51-percent corn and aged in new white American oak barrels. Garrison Bros. only produces a few hundred barrels a year, and each year has its own distinct flavor profile based on variations in mash, production method and barreling strategy.

Full list of winners: 10 Best Craft Whiskey Distilleries

Best Craft Specialty Spirits Distillery: Long Road Distillers in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Long Road Distillers is the leader in Best Craft Specialty Spirits — Photo courtesy of Long Road Distillers

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. 

Full list of winners: 10 Best Craft Specialty Spirits Distilleries

Congratulations to all the winning distilleries, and remember, you can vote in other Readers' Choice categories daily on