Hey there! If you’re a spirit enthusiast with a taste for the South’s finest, it’s high time to explore some of the best distilleries in Alabama. This charming Southern state is brimming with rich history and culture, which naturally extends into its brewing and distilling practices. You may be surprised to know that Alabama is home to several top-notch distilleries!
Each of these distilleries brings something unique to the table, whether it’s their distinctive production methods, high-quality ingredients or fascinating heritage stories. What they all share though, is a genuine commitment towards crafting exceptional spirits that you’ll surely love.
Alabama’s Distillery scene has grown leaps and bounds over recent years thanks to relaxed laws and an increased interest in artisanal spirits. So let’s raise a glass (or two) as we dive into the world of Alabama’s best-kept secrets – its remarkable array of distilleries!
Understanding Alabama’s Distillery Scene
You’re probably wondering, “What’s the deal with Alabama distilleries?” Well, you’re in for a treat! Alabama has been quietly making its mark on the whiskey and spirits industry. The state’s got an intriguing mix of old-school tradition and innovative new distilling practices that you’ll find downright fascinating.
Now, let’s take a step back into history. Prohibition hit Alabama hard in 1915, five years before it went national. This forced many local distillers to go underground or shut down completely. Fast forward to today and we’re seeing a revival of sorts as new distilleries pop up all over the state.
It would be wrong to say that Alabama is following trends – they’re setting them! Local distilleries are focusing on using locally-sourced ingredients which not only support their communities but also add unique Southern twists to their products. Think bourbon infused with peaches or gin flavored with native botanicals!
- John Emerald Distilling Company in Opelika was one of the first post-Prohibition craft distilleries in the state.
- High Ridge Spirits in Franklin County is another pioneer, being the first legal distilled spirits producer there since Prohibition.
- In Birmingham, Redmont Distilling Company is turning heads with their award-winning vodka made from organic corn.
These are just few examples out of many spirited operations scattered across ‘Bama land. So buckle up liquor lovers! There’s much more to explore about this booming industry as we delve deeper into each remarkable distillery down South.
Remember though, it’s not just about sipping spirits; it’s about appreciating how far these Alabamian artisans have come while staying true to their roots!
The Rise of Craft Spirits in Alabama
You’ve probably noticed it yourself, the craft spirits movement is taking off across the nation and Alabama isn’t being left behind. It’s an exciting time to be a spirits aficionado in the Heart of Dixie. A new wave of artisanal distilleries are emerging, reviving lost traditions and pushing boundaries with their innovative concoctions.
What started out as just a handful of distilleries has grown dramatically over the past decade. In 2010, there were only three licensed distilleries in Alabama; by 2020 this number had jumped to over 20! This boom mirrors national trends – according to The American Craft Spirits Association, there were more than 2,000 craft spirit producers in the U.S. by end of 2020.
|Number of Distilleries in Alabama
But what’s driving this surge? A big part is down to changes in state legislation that have made it easier for small-scale distillers to set up shop. Before these changes, prohibitive licensing fees and strict regulations squeezed out all but the biggest players.
- In 2013, Alabama passed legislation allowing craft breweries and brewpubs to sell on-site.
- Then came 2015, when direct-to-consumer sales became legal for distilleries too (hooray!).
Alongside legislative changes, there’s been a shift in consumer tastes too. More and more people are seeking out locally produced goods—and spirits are no exception!
What’s really surprising though is how quickly Alabamians have embraced these home-grown heroes. From moonshine rooted deep within Southern heritage, to bourbon reflecting rich flavors and complexities—Alabama’s craft spirit scene offers something unique for everyone.
And let me tell ya’, we’re not just talking quantity here…quality is high on these distiller’s agendas too! Several local brands have already made their mark nationally winning awards against well-established competitors from around the country.
So yes indeed y’all…Alabama’s got spirit alright! The rise of craft spirits here illustrates perfectly how innovation can flourish when tradition meets supportive laws and discerning consumers. So grab your glasses folks and get ready to savour what our local distilling talent has been cooking up!
Top Distilleries to Visit in Alabama
Let’s dive right into the heart of Bourbon country. You might be wondering, “What are the must-visit distilleries in Alabama?” Well, you’re in luck because we’ve got a fantastic list for you!
First up is John Emerald Distilling Company. Nestled in Opelika, it’s Alabama’s first legal whiskey distillery since Prohibition. A family-owned business with passion poured into every bottle, their spirits range from single malt whiskeys to rum and gin. Their signature Southern whiskey? It’s aged in small batches with American white oak charred barrels – talk about a taste sensation!
Next on our list is High Ridge Spirits – Stills Crossroads ‘Shine’. They’re based out of Troy and proudly claim the title as Alabama’s first legal moonshine distillery! If that doesn’t pique your interest, maybe their selection of traditional corn whiskey will.
You don’t want to miss out on Clyde May’s Whiskey either! Hailing from Conecuh Ridge, this distillery offers an authentic experience with its storied history dating back to 1946. Famous for its original Alabama Style™ Whiskey, Clyde May’s has been recognized as one of the top craft whiskies worldwide.
Lastly but certainly not least, there’s Yellowhammer Spirits located in Calera. This place is more than just a distillery; it’s also a tasting room and event space where you can try handcrafted artisan spirits like vodka and brandy.
Here are these gems located:
|John Emerald Distilling Company
|High Ridge Spirits – Stills Crossroads ‘Shine’
|Clyde May’s Whiskey
Put these stops on your tour map when exploring bourbon country – they’re sure to offer unique experiences and unforgettable tastes! Whether you’re a connoisseur or simply curious about southern brewing traditions, these Alabaman distilleries won’t disappoint.
Famous Whiskeys from Alabama Distilleries
Alabama’s got a rich legacy when it comes to distilling. You’re in for some Southern charm as we dive into the realm of whiskey right here in the Heart of Dixie.
First on our list is Clyde May’s, an iconic whiskey brand that calls Alabama its home. This distillery has been crafting smooth and flavorful whiskeys since 1946. It’s named after Clyde May himself, a moonshiner turned master distiller who was known for his meticulous attention to detail. Their signature Alabama Style Whiskey is a must-try – aged in charred oak barrels with hints of green apple and cinnamon.
Next up is John Emerald Distilling Company located in Opelika. They’re not just about great spirits but also about honoring their family heritage. Every name you’ll see on their bottles refers to ancestors who have influenced them throughout their lives. Their John’s Alabama Single Malt Whiskey is truly unique – it’s crafted using traditional Scottish methods but with a Southern twist!
In Huntsville, you’ll find Irons ONE Distillery housed at Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment center. Now, this isn’t your average distillery tour spot! Jeff Irons handcrafts small batches of bourbon whiskey, each bottle meticulously filled and labeled by hand.
While these are just three standouts, there are many other incredible distilleries across the state churning out top-shelf whiskeys:
- Yellowhammer Spirits based out of Calera
- High Ridge Spirits in Stills Crossroads
- Redmont Distilling Company in Birmingham
Each one offers its own unique take on the beloved spirit that is whiskey – from traditional recipes passed down through generations to innovative concoctions pushing boundaries! So if you’re looking to explore more than just beaches or football while you’re here in ‘Bama – grab yourself a glass of locally distilled goodness and savor the flavors that can only be found right here at home.
Exploring the Taste of Alabama: Gin and Vodka
Let’s dive right into the vibrant world of Alabama distilleries, where gin and vodka are stealing the limelight. With each sip, you’re not just tasting a drink; you’re experiencing a piece of Alabama’s rich history and culture.
Alabama’s gin game is strong. It’s all about variety here. You’ve got your classic juniper-forward gins from places like Dread River Distilling Co., where they craft their spirits with passion and precision. Then there’s Big Escambia Spirits, which adds a twist to tradition by aging their gin in white oak barrels for an extra layer of flavor.
Vodka lovers aren’t left out either! There’s plenty for you to explore in the Heart of Dixie. A key player worth mentioning is John Emerald Distilling Company located in Opelika. They’re redefining vodka with their locally sourced ingredients and unique distillation methods that give their spirit a smooth, clean finish.
Here are some must-visit distilleries that should be on every spirit enthusiast’s radar:
- Dread River Distilling Co: Known for its artisanal spirits that capture Alabama’s adventurous spirit.
- Big Escambia Spirits: Their barrel-aged gin is something you don’t want to miss!
- John Emerald Distilling Company: Their handcrafted vodka screams quality – it’s made from pure cane sugar instead of grain!
This isn’t everything though! The list goes on as new distilleries pop up across the state, bringing innovation and creativity with them. So whether you’re into gin or vodka – or both – Alabama has something to make your taste buds tingle!
Remember: Always enjoy responsibly!
Uniquely Alabaman: Specialty Spirits and Liqueurs
If you’re thirsty for something distinctively local, Alabama has a cornucopia of unique spirits and liqueurs that are sure to quench your quest. Let’s dive into some of these specialty offerings.
First up is the John Emerald Distilling Company in Opelika. They’re known for their Single Malt Whiskey which isn’t just any whiskey – it’s lovingly crafted with 100% malted barley and aged in small batches. This provides a sweet, smooth finish that whispers of caramel and vanilla. It’s not every day you find a whiskey with such distinctive character!
Then we have High Ridge Spirits in Stills Crossroads, the first legal distillery in Alabama since Prohibition! Their flagship product, Stills Crossroads ‘Shine, is an ode to the state’s moonshining history. Made from locally sourced corn mash, it offers a taste experience that connects you directly to Alabama’s roots.
Don’t miss out on Clyde May’s Conecuh Ridge Whiskey either. This isn’t just popular – it’s officially designated as “Alabama’s State Spirit”. With a hint of dried apple on the nose and lingering notes of cinnamon spice on the palate, this bourbon-style whiskey embodies Southern hospitality in a bottle.
Down at Dauphin Island Parkway in Mobile, there resides another gem: the L.A.Spirits distillery. Here you’ll find Bayou Rum made from pure Louisiana cane sugar – talk about southern sweetness!
- John Emerald Distilling Company: Single Malt Whiskey
- High Ridge Spirits: Stills Crossroads ‘Shine
- Clyde May’s: Conecuh Ridge Whiskey
- L.A.Spirits: Bayou Rum
So folks if your drink preference leans towards uniquely crafted spirits or liqueurs with an authentic local twist – remember, Alabama’s got plenty to offer!
Planning Your Visit: Best Times to Tour Distilleries in Alabama
Ready to plan your distillery tour across the heart of Dixie? Well, you’re in luck! There’s never a bad time to explore Alabama’s finest spirits. Yet, certain seasons unlock unique experiences that’ll elevate your adventure.
Spring and fall are regarded as the prime times for touring distilleries. The weather during these periods is typically mild, making it comfortable for both indoor tastings and outdoor explorations – an essential part of any distillery visit. Plus, let’s not forget about those eye-catching fall colors that add an extra zest to your trip!
|Mild weather / Blooming landscapes
|Cooler temperatures / Stunning fall foliage
Now if you’re a bourbon lover, mark September on your calendar. That’s when many distilleries celebrate Bourbon Heritage Month with special events and limited-edition releases. It’s also the period when new bourbons are traditionally released into the wild!
But don’t fret if your plans are set for summer or winter. Many distilleries offer year-round tours, ensuring you don’t miss out no matter when you choose to visit:
- Summer brings lively festivals and music events.
- Winter offers quieter tours – perfect for those who prefer less crowded experiences.
Lastly, remember that weekdays often see fewer crowds than weekends – a tip worth considering if peace and tranquility top your list. So there you have it! With this guide at hand, you’re all set to dive into Alabama’s spectacular world of spirits at just the right moment!
Conclusion: The Richness of Alabama’s Spirit Industry
Well, you’ve made it! You’ve journeyed with us through the amber waves of grain and copper stills that make up Alabama’s thriving distillery scene. Your taste buds have been tantalized and your horizons broadened, but what does all this mean?
Simply put, these distilleries are not just places where alcohol is produced. They’re rich tapestries threaded with stories and history. Each one reflects a unique character and spirit that mirrors the essence of Alabama itself.
- Clyde May’s Distillery whispers to you tales of moonshine runs during Prohibition times.
- John Emerald Distilling Company showcases the innovation in craft spirits.
- Doe Brothers Distillery, on the other hand, takes you back to simpler times with their artisanal methods.
But there’s more than history here. There’s also an impressive dedication to quality and craftsmanship. It’s clear that these distilleries aren’t cutting corners or settling for mediocrity – they want to give you top-shelf spirits brimming with character.
Just look at the numbers:
|Number of Awards
Impressive, right? And it doesn’t stop there! Many more talented artisans are working tirelessly behind the scenes across other distilleries too!
So here’s our final word – if you’re looking for a unique way to explore Alabama’s culture while savoring some truly remarkable spirits, don’t overlook its booming distillery industry. From small-batch bourbons to fruity gins and smooth vodkas – they’ve got something for everyone! Plus, who knows? You might leave not only with a new favorite drink but also a richer understanding of what makes this state so special.
In short, whether you’re an avid whiskey collector or a casual cocktail lover — Alabama’s spirit industry will welcome you warmly into its heart. So why wait? Start your spirited adventure today!