Best Distilleries in Ohio: Your Ultimate Guide to Top Liquor Spots

Ohio, the heart of it all. Not just known for its world-famous amusement parks and vibrant music scene, but also for a hidden gem – distilleries. Yes, you read that right! The Buckeye State is quietly carving out a reputation for itself in the spirits world with a host of distilleries that are turning heads nationwide.

Now, you’re probably wondering where to start your Ohio distillery adventure. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! From small batch bourbon makers to craft gin wizards, we’ll show you some of the best places in Ohio to enjoy an unforgettable tipple.

So grab your tasting glass and get ready to discover what’s been brewing (or should we say distilling?) in Ohio. Trust us, it’s going to be one delicious journey!

Exploring the Ohio Spirits Scene

Ready to dive into Ohio’s spirit scene? There’s a lot brewing (and distilling) in this Midwestern state. From grain-to-glass operations to family-run stills, you’re about to discover why Ohio is making its mark on the national distillery stage.

brew in review featured image

First off, let’s talk about bourbon. You might not think of Ohio as a hotbed for this potent spirit, but it’s home to some impressive players. Cleveland Whiskey has been shaking things up with their innovative ‘pressure aging’ technique that speeds up the maturation process without sacrificing flavor. Then there’s Middle West Spirits out of Columbus, whose OYO Bourbon Whiskey has earned accolades at international spirits competitions.

Craft gin lovers aren’t left out either. Watershed Distillery serves up a knockout Four Peel Gin that is bursting with citrus notes and botanical complexity – perfect for your next refreshing cocktail! And if you like your spirits with a side of history, check out Indian Creek Distillery in Piqua where they’ve been serving up rye whiskey using methods passed down from pre-Prohibition era distillers.

But what makes Ohio’s spirit scene truly unique? It’s all about local ingredients and creative processes:

  • At Seven Brothers Distilling Company, they’re not just crafting award-winning rum; they’re doing it sustainably by utilizing locally grown sugar beets.
  • Tom’s Foolery started as an apple orchard before becoming the first bonded bourbon maker in the state.
  • Red Eagle Vodka sources all their grains within a 50-mile radius of their Geneva-based distillery.

So go ahead and plan your visit! With such diversity in offerings and dedication to craft, exploring the Ohio spirits scene promises an adventure worth savoring.

History of Distilleries in Ohio

Let’s take a step back in time, shall we? You might not know it, but Ohio has a rich history when it comes to distilleries. It’s hard to believe now, but there was once a time when the Buckeye State was the leading producer of whiskey in the country!

Back in 1810, Ohio outpaced all other states with 2 million gallons of whiskey produced annually. More than Kentucky or Pennsylvania! Can you imagine that?

Year Gallons Produced
1810 2 Million

Ohio’s whiskey business thrived thanks to fertile soil and easy access to transportation routes like the Miami-Erie Canal. But just like any good tale, there were some bumps along the road.

With the onset of Prohibition in the 1920s, many distilleries shuttered their doors for good. Those that survived did so by creating non-alcoholic products or obtaining licenses for medicinal alcohol production. Talk about thinking on your feet!

Fast forward to today and you’ll find that Ohio is experiencing a craft spirits renaissance. Modern distillers are reviving old traditions and breathing new life into the industry. They’re doing their part to put Ohio back on top as an innovative leader in spirit production.

  • Tom’s Foolery started operations in 2008 – first legal distillery since Prohibition!
  • Middle West Spirits opened up shop two years later.
  • Watershed Distillery followed suit shortly after.

So even though Prohibition may have put things on pause for a bit, don’t be fooled – distillation is very much alive and kicking here! From grain-to-glass operations using locally sourced ingredients to experimental concoctions pushing boundaries of what spirits can be – there’s something for everyone here at Ohio’s vibrant distillery scene.

5 Top-Rated Distilleries in Ohio

Buckle up, folks! We’re about to take you on a virtual tour of the five top-rated distilleries right here in Ohio. Trust us, these are must-visits for any true spirit connoisseur or casual enthusiast alike.

First up, it’s Middle West Spirits in Columbus. This place is renowned for its award-winning whiskey and vodka – they’ve been named ‘Ohio Distillery of the Year’ by New York International Spirits Competition not once but twice! They also offer an immersive tour that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at how their artisanal spirits are crafted.

Next stop, we have Tom’s Foolery, situated amidst the gorgeous countryside of Burton. What started as a hobby for Tom Herbruck transformed into one of Ohio’s most esteemed distilleries. Their applejack and bourbon have gained quite a fanbase!

Let’s not forget about Watershed Distillery, another gem from Columbus. These guys put their heart and soul into every bottle with an emphasis on local sourcing and sustainable practices. From gin to bourbon, there’s something to tickle everyone’s taste buds here.

Headed north? Be sure to visit Cleveland Whiskey—a true innovator in the industry known for developing unique technologies to speed up the aging process without sacrificing quality or flavor.

Last but certainly not least, we’ve got Indian Creek Distillery out in New Carlisle. A family-run business that prides itself on using traditional methods dating back over 200 years—you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time when visiting this charming spot.

  • Middle West Spirits
  • Tom’s Foolery
  • Watershed Distillery
  • Cleveland Whiskey
  • Indian Creek Distillery

So there you have it—the cream of the crop when it comes to distilleries in Ohio! Each has its own unique story and flair making them worth your visit whether you’re touring around Buckeye state or planning your next road trip.

Famous Whiskey Distilleries in the Buckeye State

Ohio, fondly known as the Buckeye State, isn’t just about football and roller coasters. It’s got a thriving drink scene too! Let’s dive into some of the state’s most famous whiskey distilleries.

First up is Middle West Spirits in Columbus. This place has been turning heads since 2008 with their OYO brand spirits. Fun fact: The name ‘OYO’ comes from the original word for Ohio River Valley, meaning ‘beautiful river’. They’ve won multiple awards for their whiskies, and it’s no wonder why—they’re all made from Ohio-grown grains.

Next on our list is Tom’s Foolery, tucked away in Burton. Now you might be thinking, “Who’d expect to find top-notch whiskey way out here?” But trust me, one sip of their bourbon or rye and you’ll understand why they’re on this list. Tom’s Foolery started off making applejack (an apple brandy), but soon branched out into bourbon and rye production using traditional pot still methods.

Then there’s Cleveland Whiskey, a game-changer in the industry that’s based—you guessed it—right in Cleveland! Their innovative technology accelerates maturation, creating complex flavors that would typically take years to develop. You’ll want to try their award-winning Black Reserve Bourbon if you have a chance!

Let me also introduce you to Watershed Distillery which calls Columbus home too. Their flagship product? A four peel gin! But don’t let that fool ya’, because they make an excellent bourbon as well! In fact, many say it’s become something of an institution around these parts.

So next time you find yourself wandering through Ohio, be sure to set aside some time for whisky exploration – you won’t regret it!

Craft Gin and Vodka: Best Ohio-Based Producers

If you’re a fan of craft spirits, you’re in for a treat here. Ohio is home to some seriously impressive distilleries that specialize in gin and vodka. These aren’t your average liquor producers; they’re artisans who’ve dedicated their lives to perfecting the art of distilling.

First up, we have Watershed Distillery nestled right in the heart of Columbus. They’ve been crafting top-notch spirits since 2010, with their Four Peel Gin and Vodka leading the pack. Their secret? An unwavering commitment to quality and local ingredients – every single batch screams ‘Ohio’!

In Cincinnati, there’s Karrikin Spirits Co, an absolute must-visit for any spirit lover. Their Blaze No. 6 Gin is renowned for its unique blend of botanicals, while their Shuga Rum holds its own with silky smoothness that’ll leave you wanting more.

Then there’s the family-owned Middle West Spirits over in Columbus again – talk about making Ohio proud! They produce some stellar gins using traditional copper pot stills which give them a distinct flavor profile.

And let’s not forget about Seven Brothers Distilling Company out in Painesville. They’re making waves with their crafted vodkas made from locally-sourced grains.

Here’s a quick glimpse at what these distilleries offer:

Distillery Noteworthy Products
Watershed Distillery Four Peel Gin, house vodka
Karrikin Spirits Co Blaze No 6 Gin, Shuga Rum
Middle West Spirits OYO Honey Vanilla Bean Vodka , Vim & Petal Dry Gin
Seven Brothers Distilling Company Handcrafted flavored vodkas

But don’t just take our word for it – go check them out yourself! Each one offers tours where you’ll learn about their processes and even get a chance to taste their offerings firsthand.

Ohio’s Unique Liquor Laws Impact on Distilleries

Hey there, let’s talk about the unique liquor laws in Ohio and how they impact distilleries. You might not know it, but these laws play a huge role in shaping your local whiskey scene.

Firstly, you should understand that Ohio is a control state. What does this mean? Well, it means the state has a monopoly over wholesale of “spirituous liquor” (anything over 42 proof). This approach gives the state more oversight and control – which can be both good and bad for distilleries.

On one hand, it offers some stability. When distilleries sell their spirits to the Division of Liquor Control, they’re guaranteed payment. That’s great news for smaller outfits who need that financial security.

But there’s a twist! The state also controls distribution. So all those lovely bottles have to go through designated agencies before reaching your favorite liquor store or bar. Here are some numbers for perspective:

Year Distillers State Agencies
2021 57 487

This table shows the number of distillers versus agencies in Ohio as of 2021.

With so few outlets compared to producers, getting shelf space can be challenging – especially for new or small-scale distilleries trying to break into the market.

Ohio law also impacts what distilleries can serve on-site: only products made on the premises are allowed at tasting rooms and restaurants attached to these establishments. While this encourages local production (cheers to that!), it does limit diversity.

  • Pros:

    • Guaranteed payments for distilleries
    • Encourages local production
  • Cons:

    • Limited distribution channels
    • Less variety at tasting rooms

So there you have it! By understanding these quirky rules, you’ll appreciate that next sip even more knowing what goes on behind the scenes just so you can enjoy Ohio’s finest spirits!

Visiting Guidelines for Ohio Distilleries

Embarking on an adventure to explore the best distilleries in Ohio? Here are some handy tips and guidelines to make your trip smooth and enjoyable. Remember, it’s not just about tasting exquisite spirits – it’s also about respecting the craft, understanding the process, and appreciating the history behind each bottle.

First off, check out each distillery’s visiting hours and tour availability. Some distilleries may require reservations ahead of time while others welcome walk-ins. It’s always smart to plan your visit beforehand. Here’s a helpful tip: weekends can get quite busy at popular spots like Watershed Distillery or Middle West Spirits, so consider dropping by during a weekday if you’d prefer a less crowded experience.

Next up is age restrictions. In most cases, you must be 21 years or older to participate in tastings but this isn’t universally true for all activities at every distillery. For instance, Tom’s Foolery Distillery allows minors provided they’re accompanied by their parents or guardians – great news if you’re planning on making this a family outing!

When visiting these establishments, remember that moderation is key! While it might be tempting to sample all the offerings at once (who could resist those handcrafted bourbons and vodkas?), overdoing it won’t enhance your experience. Instead take small sips, savor each drop and perhaps even jot down your thoughts about each spirit.

Finally don’t forget to engage with staff members who are often more than happy to share insights into their unique distilling processes or the stories behind particular drinks. They’re passionate about what they do and love when visitors show interest!

So there we have it folks! If you are ready for an unforgettable journey through Ohio’s finest distilleries just follow these simple guidelines:

  • Check opening hours/tour availability
  • Be aware of age restrictions
  • Practice moderation during tastings
  • Engage with staff members

Enjoy discovering Ohio’s hidden gems!

Conclusion: The Future of Ohio’s Spirit Industry

Let’s gaze into the crystal ball together, shall we? The future holds promising prospects for Ohio’s spirit industry. There are a few trends that you should keep an eye on.

First off, there’s increased interest in craft distilleries. More and more folks are becoming enamored with the idea of locally produced spirits. They’re not just looking for a drink; they want an experience. And Ohio’s distilleries are dishing it out in full measure!

Then there’s the trend towards sustainability. Distilleries across the state are making concerted efforts to reduce their environmental footprint, from sourcing local ingredients to implementing energy-efficient production methods.

But that’s not all! Here comes another change: experimental flavors. From bourbon infused with applewood smoke to vodka distilled from honey, Ohio’s distillers aren’t afraid to push boundaries when it comes to flavor profiles.

You might also notice a rise in collaborations between distilleries and other local businesses – think special-edition spirits crafted with locally sourced produce or custom cocktails designed by neighboring bars.

To sum things up:

  • Craft distilling is on the rise
  • Sustainability is becoming more important
  • Experimental flavors are gaining popularity
  • Collaborations between local businesses are increasing

The landscape of Ohio’s spirit industry is shifting and evolving every day, but one thing remains constant – its commitment to quality and innovation. You’re sure to find something exciting in your next glass raised in Ohio! Cheers!

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