Craft distilleries in the region are booming to the point where it can be argued that Pennsylvania’s once-prominent reputation for liquor production is being restored.
Few people are still around that would remember; but before Prohibition drove the distilling of spirits in the Keystone State underground, Pennsylvania was home to one of the country’s densest clusters of homespun and commercial whiskey producers, dating back to some of the earliest colonial settlers.
In 2011 the state government passed reforms that allowed distillers to offer tours, samples and on-site sales. These laws opened things up for trendsetting entrepreneurs, who now produce and sell small-batch craft spirits around here.
Note: This story has been updated to correct information.
We know you’ve already heard about Bluebird Distillery in Phoenixville, Pottstown’s Manatawny Still Works, Faber Distilling Co. in Milford Township, and Bristol whiskey distiller Dad’s Hat (which was the first whiskey distillery to open in Pennsylvania since 1990), so here’s a look at some of the newer kids on the block:
Kiki Vodka, 1500 Industry Road, Hatfield, (215) 527-9542, http://kikipremiumvodka.com. According to their Facebook page, this vodka distiller was founded in 2016. Corn from family farms in the Midwest gets refined several times through carbon, silver and platinum filters to produce a gluten-free, non-GMO vodka. Generally a good time to visit the warehouse is noon to 4 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays.
Boardroom Spirits, 575 W. Third St., Lansdale, (267) 642-9961, www.boardroomspirits.com. Food truck fare is available 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays. Yoga classes are held Saturdays every two weeks. Other public events include cocktail workshops, and tours that are offered Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. They’re also big fans of hosting fundraisers for animal welfare causes. Hours are 4 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 4 to 10 p.m. Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Five Saints Distilling, 129 E. Main St., Norristown, (610) 279-5364, www.fivesaintsdistilling.com. A firehouse in its past life, now you can catch an open mic. night on Wednesdays, bingo on Thursdays, karaoke on Fridays, as well as live music and distillery tours. Hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 4 to 11 p.m. Fridays, noon to 11 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 7 p.m. Sundays.
The Revivalist Spirits, 350 Warwick Road, Elverson, (610) 901-3668, https://revivalistspirits.com. The distillery and tasting room are part of the Brandywine Branch Bistro. Open since 2016, bottle sales are available 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.
Sator Square Distillery, 1391 Forest Grove Road, Furlong, (215) 534-1167, http://satorsquaredistillery.business.site. If the address looks familiar it’s because it’s located at Wyncombe Vineyards. During the winery tasting hours from noon to 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays, you can sample a gin with a base alcohol that comes from grapes instead of grain. “It’s basically a vodka,” said owner Justin Fraser. Sator Square is also about to start labeling a Bulgarian-style grape pomace brandy. The grapes that get crushed during the wine making process get re-hydrated and are re-fermented.
Hewn Spirits, Peddlers Village Store No. 42, Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska, (267) 544-0720, www.hewnspirits.com. The Hewn Pipersville tasting room opened its doors six years ago, and then they expanded to a store in Peddlers Village three years ago. Hewn offers live music, tours and other events. Visit www.facebook.com/HewnSpirits for current hours and happenings.
And, there’s more ...
Chris Flowers of the Reading Distilling Guild, on Madison Avenue in Reading, said in an email that although they’re not currently open to the public, “we will be opening a tasting room, tours and doing classes later in the year.” For the latest, go to www.rdgspirits.com or call (484) 222-3601.
Yet another local craft distillery, Pennsylvania Distilling Co., is in the works in Malvern. For updates see www.facebook.com/PennDistilling.