Distillery: The Whiskey Movement of the 21st Century

You may have noticed a resurgence of whiskey drinkers in this country.  Whiskey bars are popping up in trend neighborhoods and urban locations across the US. This makes sense given that headlines are full of news about states easing restrictions and rewriting laws in a manner that benefits American craft distilleries.  As we write this, there are headlines featured on Google News about Alaska, California, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.  This is not a localized movement, by any means, and it isn’t even a national one.   

LifestyleAsia.com recently reported that “[Whiskey] has gained traction as one of the world’s fastest-growing spirit industries, with 200 bottles sold every minute last year, according to numbers released by the International Wine and Spirits Research.”  Japanese distillers are enjoying a resurgence of koji whiskey, which is said to require a much quicker production process.  This isn’t a new type of whiskey.  In fact, Wine-Searcher.com reports that koji whiskey is more than 1300 years old, while malt dates back just 130 years in Japan.  Still, many connoisseurs are just starting to embrace its unique flavor.   

American whiskeys are also seeing a drastic increase in interest and appeal.  According to Forbes.com, “American single malt whiskey is the fastest-growing whiskey category in the United States.”  There are more than 100 distilleries currently producing the single malts that the country has found a taste for, and the number of craft distilleries is continually growing.   

We, at Deutsche, have had the privilege of assisting in the development or growth of some great whiskey operations, include Company Distilling, Newport Craft Brewing and DistillingRod and Hammer Distilling, and Liberty Pole Spirits by Mingo Creek Craft Distillers.   

Mingo Creek has an interesting story.  Their groundbreaking was met with a lot of fanfare.  As they raised their liberty pole in a symbolistic gesture, this nation’s history was being revisited.  Set in Washington, Pennsylvania, Mingo Creek intentionally planted themselves right at the epicenter of what was once the Whiskey Rebellion.  This story will be featured in our upcoming newsletter. If you aren’t already receiving that, click here to sign up. 

With all new equipment, state-of-the-art tanks, and fully customized automations, the owners and distillers are able to achieve great results with an old-meets-new approach. 

A few really brave brands are trying to further modernize whiskey production by incorporating new techniques, or even new ingredients.  For a really different take on whiskey, check out this story by Smithsonian Magazine, which tells of a New Hampshire distillery that is using invasive green crabs to alter the flavors of their spirits.  Crab Trapper Whiskey was born of a desire to produce something truly original while tackling a problem plaguing the state’s shores. 

For others, there seems to be a real longing for the past.  Don’t believe us?  Healthline.com recently released an article disputing medicinal uses of whiskey after seeing a surge in “home dosing”… doesn’t that remind you of a few stories you may have heard from your grandparents? There is even an ancient Irish Proverb that says, “what whiskey will not cure, there is no cure for.”  (It seems that Healthline.com doesn’t agree.)  Just in case you were wondering, they’ve unfortunately ruled out the spirit for the treatment of congestion, a cough suppressant, immune booster.  Undoubtedly, it really did help grandpa sleep, but the medical community isn’t quick to promote that use either.  I guess we’ll just have to sip for the pleasure of it. 

Whether you opt for classic flavors or something outside the box, you want a taste of the East or choose something produced closer to home, you can’t deny that there is just something wonderful about whiskey!    As Mark Twain once said, “too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”