Big Escambia Spirits is named after the creek the small distillery sits next to in Atmore, Ala. Dettling Bourbon was released in September 2017, and is a true field-to-bottle product. The distillery grows its own corn, which it combines with five other grains for its mash bill. There's no store or tasting room, but travelers can stop by the production distillery any day.
Port Chilkoot Distillery makes Boatwright Bourbon in Haines, Alaska, a small town north of Juneau. A mash bill of organic grains is double distilled in a copper still from Louisville and aged for two years. The distillery owner says that the extreme swings in barometric pressure in southeast Alaska help the aging process along. The tasting room is open Wednesday to Saturday year round, plus Mondays and Tuesdays from May 16 to Aug. 31.
In Prescott, Ariz., Thumb Butte Distillery distills Bloody Basin Bourbon from a mash bill of 70% locally grown corn and ages for at least two years in char No. 4 American oak barrels. According to the distiller, some of the varieties of corn used have been grown in the American Southwest for more than 1,000 years. The tasting room is open Friday to Sunday.
In downtown Little Rock, Rock Town Distillery’s bourbon is a wheated expression distilled from local grains. It’s aged in small oak barrels that come from Gibbs Brothers Cooperage, another Arkansas business. There are also single barrel and three-year-old expressions of the bourbon available in the shop, open Tuesday through Sunday. Tours are offered Tuesday through Sunday as well.
In Rohnert Park, Calif., Sonoma County Distilling Company makes three types of bourbon for its West of Kentucky collection – cherrywood smoked, wheated and high rye. For the cherrywood, the barley is smoked to add a little flavor, while the other two respectively use wheat and rye as predominant flavoring grains, along with the California-grown corn.
In Denver, Laws Whiskey House’s flagship expression is Four Grain Straight Bourbon, made with corn, wheat, barley and rye, all grown in Colorado. Denver’s high altitude exposes the whiskey to unique fluctuations in temperature and pressure as it ages for a minimum of three years. Tours and tastings are offered Wednesday through Sunday.
In northwest Connecticut, Litchfield Distillery makes gin, vodka and straight bourbon using local grains in the town by the same name. The bourbon is about three years old, made from a mash bill of 70% corn and 25% rye, which are both locally grown. A 10-year-old bourbon consists of sourced whiskey that the distillery re-barreled for a number of years. Free tours and tastings are offered Wednesday through Sunday.
In Washington, D.C., One Eight Distilling has a new name and look for its Rock Creek Whiskey, now called District Made Straight Bourbon. The whiskey is bottled at a solid 95 proof, which makes it a good cocktail component. The mash bill consists of four grains, dominated by corn and rye with some wheat and barley (malted and unmalted). Distillery tours are on hiatus from June 30 to Sept. 15 due to construction, but check the website for tasting room hours in July.
In Smyrna, Del., Painted Stave Distilling got its start with a little help from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, as the two successfully lobbied the state of Delaware to enact laws making it easier to open a distillery. Painted Stave’s two-year-old Diamond State Bourbon is named after the last whiskey to be distilled in Delaware before Prohibition. The distillery is open Thursday to Sunday, with tours and tastings offered Friday to Sunday.
In Florida, St. Augustine Distillery’s Double Cask Bourbon is a young whiskey at just 16 to 28 months old, but the hot and humid Florida climate helps accelerate the aging process. The whiskey is called “double cask” because it’s a marriage of liquid aged in 25- and 53-gallon barrels. Instead of wheat or rye, barley is the second highest percentage in the mash bill after corn, so the distillery team refers to Double Cask as “malted bourbon.” Free tours are offered daily.
In Decatur, Ga., Independent Distilling Company’s Hellbender Bourbon is an aged version of its corn whiskey, with a two-grain mash bill of corn (83%) and barley (17%). The whiskey spends about 15 months in barrels before being bottled. The distillery is open Thursday to Saturday with cocktails and tours available.
Hawaii is the only state that doesn’t actually produce bourbon, but Hali’imaile Distilling Company’s Paniolo Whiskey is the next best thing. The whiskey is a blend of bourbon sourced from Kentucky and a distillate made using local Maui gold pineapples. The latter has no pineapple flavor, though; it is a neutral vodka-like spirit used for blending. The Maui distillery offers tours and tastings daily.
Boise’s 8 Feathers Distillery was founded in 2013, and five years later is releasing its very own Idaho bourbon. It’s made from a mash bill of locally grown corn, wheat and barley, and aged for two years in new charred oak barrels.
In Evanston, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. F.E.W. Spirits makes bourbon from a mash bill of 70% corn, 20% rye, and 10% barley. It’s aged in Minnesota oak barrels for an unspecified length of time; founder Paul Hletko is more concerned with flavor profile than age statements. The tasting room is open Wednesday to Friday, with tours offered Wednesday to Sunday.
In the small town of Lawrenceburg, Ind., MGP has been making whiskey on a massive scale for many years, selling much of it to other companies who release it under their own brand names. Now MGP is releasing some of its own products, including George Remus Bourbon. The Repeal Reserve expression is a marriage of three high-rye bourbons, distilled in 2005 and 2006. Nearby, Third and Main in Aurora, Ind., offers the bourbon at its bar.
In Cumming, Iowa, Iowa Distilling Company makes straight bourbon in a state famous for its corn, which is the primary ingredient. The whiskey is at least two years old, and is being released in limited quantities due to high demand. Iowa Distilling Company has been around for about five years and makes a variety of other spirits including vodka and un-aged whiskey. The distillery store is open Tuesday to Saturday.
In Lenexa, Kansas, just outside of Kansas City, Union Horse Distilling Co.’s bourbon is made from Midwestern-grown grains, with a mash bill of 80% corn and 20% rye (instead of using malted barley, the distillery adds liquid enzymes). The current batch is aged for five years in new charred oak barrels. The distillery also makes rye and un-aged whiskey, as well as vodka. The distillery is open Monday to Friday with select Saturday tours available by reservation.
It’s hard to choose just one bourbon from Kentucky to highlight, and Buffalo Trace in Frankfort is certainly one of the best distilleries in the state. The distillery just filled its 7 millionth barrel, and has plans to expand over the next decade. Many excellent bourbon expressions are produced here, including Eagle Rare, Colonel E.H. Taylor and George T. Stagg. The inexpensive and dependable namesake bourbon gives you the most bang for your buck. Buffalo Trace offers a variety of tours and tastings daily.
In New Orleans, Seven Three Distilling makes a variety of spirits, including Bywater Bourbon. The wheated whiskey is named after the Bywater neighborhood and is aging with an anticipated release date of 2020. Instead of malted barley, the distillery is using malted wheat in the mash bill, and all the grains come from local Louisiana farmers. Seven Three Distilling offers tours and tastings daily.
In Portland, Maine, brothers Eric and Ian Michaud operate Liquid Riot Bottling Co., a brewery, distillery, restaurant and bar open daily. Here, Old Port Bourbon is made with local corn, rye and buckwheat – the brothers say this last ingredient is a nod to their Acadian heritage. The bourbon is aged onsite for a minimum of two years.
In Rockville, Md., Twin Valley Distillers is a very small operation, producing only five or six barrels of bourbon a month. The straight bourbon is about 2.5 years old, aged in full-sized 53-gallon barrels, and made with local grains. Tastings are offered Tuesday to Friday, call for tours or private tastings.
In Sheffield, Mass., Berkshire Mountain Distillers produces Berkshire Bourbon using corn from a farm just a few miles away. The whiskey is triple distilled and aged for four years in new oak barrels. There is also a Smoke and Peat expression, which is finished in Scotch whisky casks from Islay. The distillery is open daily in the summer with tours on Fridays and Saturdays.
Detroit City Distillery uses Michigan corn, rye and barley to make Butcher’s Cut Bourbon. The whiskey is aged for less than two years in northern oak barrels made from smoked staves that impart a smoky finish to the bourbon. The tasting room, open Tuesday to Sunday, has a long list of cocktails made using the distillery’s spirits, and tours are offered on Saturdays.
In Waconia, Minn., J. Carver Distillery makes two types of bourbon. Brickyard Bourbon uses wheat in the mash bill and is aged in 30-gallon barrels from one Minnesota cooperage, while J. Carver Bourbon uses rye in the mash bill and is aged in barrels from three cooperages. Brickyard is aged for about two years, while J. Carver averages about 33 months. A cocktail lounge is open Friday to Sunday and tours can be booked online.
In Canton, Miss., Rich Grain Distilling Co. uses two mash bills for its bourbon – one with rye and one with wheat. Both grains are grown locally -- owner David Rich picks them up just a block away from the distillery using his forklift. The whiskey is aged in various barrel sizes for two to five years. The first release is a combination of the two mash bills, but Rich hopes to bottle each separately in the future. Tours are offered on Saturdays.
In New Florence, Mo., Wood Hat Spirits grows its own corn for four wheated bourbon expressions. Rubenesque and Montgomery County Bourbon are both aged for about 10 months in Missouri oak barrels. There are also two barrel-finished bourbons. One is finished in barrels that were sent to a local brewery, filled, emptied and returned. The other is finished in pecan barrels. Wood Hat Spirits' tasting room is open Mondays and Thursday through Saturday, with tours available.
In Bozeman, Mont., Wildrye Distilling’s Five Drops Bourbon is made from a mash bill of sweetcorn (grown by the distillery CEO’s father-in-law) and barley, with no other flavoring grains like rye or wheat. The bourbon is aged in small charred oak barrels for less than two years, fully exposed to Montana’s dramatic temperature swings. The tasting room is open daily.
In St. Paul, Neb., Loup River Distilling’s bourbon is made from a mash bill of 100% corn. Distiller Eric Montemagni uses enzymes for starch and sugar conversion instead of malted barley. The bourbon is aged for two years in a variety of barrels, from five to 53 gallons, which come from The Barrel Mill cooperage in Minnesota. Loup River Distilling is open Tuesday to Saturday.
About 15 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip in Henderson, Nev., Las Vegas Distillery’s Nevada 150 Bourbon was the first to be distilled in the state (in 2014) since Prohibition, according to owner George Racz. Now there are three expressions – a one-grain bourbon (all corn), a wheated four-grain bourbon and a seven-grain bourbon made with oat and millet. The bourbon is aged in full-sized barrels for about five years. Tours and tastings are offered Tuesday to Friday.
In Winchester, N.H., New England Sweetwater Farm and Distillery makes Clark & Chesterfield Bourbon, a high rye expression with a mash bill of 51% corn and more than 30% rye. After aging in barrels for a year, the whiskey enters a solera aging system where it’s blended with a little bit of older liquid. The tasting room is open Thursday to Sunday, with tours on Saturdays.
In Fairfield, N.J., Jersey Spirits Distilling Co. distills two types of bourbon. The first, Crossroads, is a four-grain bourbon made from corn, rye, wheat and barley. It’s aged in five and 10-gallon barrels for seven to 15 months. Patriot’s Trail is the second expression, a high rye bourbon with 34% rye in the mash bill. The distillery uses New Jersey grain to make its spirits, with a tasting room open Wednesday to Sunday.
In Los Alamos, N.M., Don Quixote Distillery & Winery’s Blue Corn Bourbon is made from organic New Mexico blue corn, which is malted prior to fermentation (an unusual step in making bourbon). There is also a single cask expression available. The Santa Fe tasting room is open daily, and a Los Alamos store is open Tuesday to Sunday.
In the Hudson Valley town of Gardiner, N.Y., 90 miles north of New York City, Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery is best known for its Hudson Baby Bourbon. The whiskey was one of the first craft spirits distilled in New York state. It’s aged in a variety of barrel sizes and is made with New York corn. A visitor center is open daily with tours on Saturdays and Sundays.
In Conover, N.C., Seventeen Twelve Spirits makes a grain-to-bottle bourbon using corn, rye and barley that are grown specifically for the distillery. The current bourbon release has been aged for about two years in 53-gallon, char No. 3 barrels. Seventeen Twelve Spirits hosts tours on Saturdays.
In Fargo, N.D., Proof Artisan Distillers’ Crooked Furrow Bourbon is made from local corn and barley, and aged for two years. The bourbon is one of the newest releases from the distillery, which also makes aquavit, American malt whiskey and gin. Proof Artisan Distillers’ tasting room is open Wednesday to Saturday, and tours are available.
In Columbus, Ohio, Watershed Distillery’s bourbon is made from a mash bill of corn, wheat, rye, barley and spelt. The whiskey is aged in barrels from Speyside Cooperage, also in Ohio, for about four years. The distillery hopes to release a six-year-old bourbon in the future. Watershed hosts a restaurant and bar, open Tuesday to Saturday, and Friday and Saturday tours can be booked online.
In Moore, Okla., Scissortail Distillery is run by a team of combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. The distillery produces a single barrel release called Leadslingers Bourbon. Fresh grain is added to the mash right before distillation to impart more flavor. The current batch has been aged for three years.
In Sisters, Ore., Cascade Street Distillery’s Broken Top Bourbon is named after a mountain in the area and made with a mash bill of corn, rye and barley. Aged for at least two years in new charred oak barrels, the whiskey was first released in the fall of 2016. Cascade Street Distillery's tasting room is open Tuesday to Sunday.
In Pittsburgh, Wigle Whiskey’s flagship expression is Organic Pennsylvania Bourbon, made from a mash bill of corn (organic and locally grown), wheat and barley. There are two other bourbon releases: Organic Wapsie Valley Bourbon, made using an organic heirloom variety of corn, and Smoked Bourbon, made with a hardwood smoked malt that imparts flavors reminiscent of a peated Scotch. Wigle Whiskey has a tasting room, bottle shop and whiskey garden among three Pittsburgh locations.
In South Kingston, R.I., Sons of Liberty Spirits Company launched its New England Bourbon in 2016. A mash bill of 100% Rhode Island corn makes it a bit sweeter than other bourbons. The whiskey is aged in a variety of barrel sizes for a minimum of 16 months before bottling. The tasting room is open Thursday to Sunday, with guided tours on Saturdays.
In South Carolina, Charleston Distilling Co. makes a four-year-old bourbon called Vesey’s. There is no barley in the mash bill, which is 70% corn, 20% wheat and 10% rye. All the grain comes from South Carolina and is milled in the distillery’s own mill house. The tasting room is closed on Wednesdays and Sundays, and tours can be booked online for any other day.
In Kadoka, S.D., Badlands Distillery is one of the few distilleries making bourbon in South Dakota. The bourbon is currently aging with an anticipated release in January or February 2019, when it will be about two years old. The mash bill includes corn grown on the owners’ farm. See upcoming spirits tastings on the distillery's Facebook.
Tennessee is best known for Tennessee whiskey like Jack Daniel’s, which is basically bourbon filtered through charcoal (also known as the Lincoln County Process). In Thompson’s Station, Tenn., H Clark Distillery doesn’t use charcoal filtration and produces one barrel per week of four-grain bourbon (corn, malted barley, wheat and rye). The current release is about two years old, and plans are in the works to eventually release a Bottled in Bond version. H Clark Distillery is open for tours, tasting and retail daily.
In Fort Worth, Texas, Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. claims to be the largest one west of the Mississippi River. TX Bourbon is a four-year-old wheated bourbon made using Texas-grown corn and wheat, along with a wild yeast strain. Each bottle comes topped with a handmade cap. Firestone & Robertson's Whiskey Ranch has a tavern open Thursday and Friday, and a store open Tuesday to Thursday.
In Salt Lake City, Utah, Sugar House Distillery gets its corn, rye and barley from local farmers. The bourbon is aged in char No. 3 barrels and bottled at 92 proof without any chill filtering. Distillery tours are available Monday to Friday.
In Burlington, Vt., Mad River Distillers’ Mad River Bourbon is made from a mash bill of 70% Vermont corn, with the rest made up of wheat, oats and barley. The bourbon is aged for at least one year in new charred oak casks. Mad Rivers' tasting room is open daily with samples, tasting flights and cocktails.
In Fredericksburg, Va., A. Smith Bowman Distillery has a new bourbon out that is the latest in a series named after a Revolutionary War commander. This limited release of 16-year-old bourbon is mostly available in Virginia, and was bottled at a hefty 116 proof. The distillery hosts free tours Monday to Saturday and a gift shop.
In its namesake town, just outside of Seattle, Woodinville Whiskey Co. ages its bourbon for five years in barrels that have been seasoned in open air for a year and a half prior to filling. The mash bill is made up of corn, wheat and barley grown in Washington. A tasting room is open daily with free tours Friday to Sunday.
In Maxwelton, W.V., Smooth Ambler is known for excellently sourced whiskeys. Big Level Wheated Bourbon is a new release that was distilled and aged for more than five years at the distillery. Smooth Ambler offers tastings Monday to Saturday and tours on Fridays and Saturdays.
In Dane, Wis., J. Henry & Sons produces several bourbon expressions. The most recent is a seven-year-old, single barrel, cask-strength whiskey called Patton Road Reserve. The mash bill consists of 60% heirloom red corn, with the rest being a mixture of rye, wheat and barley. The bourbon is aged in an old dairy barn that is not climate controlled. Henry Farms Prairie Spirits offers tours daily.
In Kirby, Wyo., Wyoming Whiskey’s flagship Small Batch Bourbon is made from a mash bill of corn, wheat and barley grown in the Big Horn Basin area of the state. There are also single barrel and cask strength expressions of the bourbon available. Tours are available Monday to Friday.