Craft distillery book provides road map to micro spirits in U.S., Canada
If you fancy fine spirits, then “Micro-Distilleries in the U.S. and Canada” should be on the packing list for your next road trip.
The third edition of the book was released this year and deviates greatly from the style of the first two editions. In order to include a larger number of distilleries, author David J. Reimer Sr. stripped down the entries and created a book that’s half educational, half guide book: your road map to small-batch booze.
“That’s really what the third edition is more about,” Reimer said. “If you’re going to go on a trip and are into spirits, that book will tell you where they’re at, what they make — the information you need to plan your trip to these places.”
The little guys
Most people are familiar with the high-volume distilleries that crank out spirits by the truckload, but Reimer’s book is designed to shine light on the little guys, both far away and close to home.
“When I get to festivals and I get to book signings and whatnot, all up and down the East Coast, people are surprised when they open the book and are like, ‘What distilleries do we have in Pennsylvania? What’s in York — that’s only two miles from my house!’” Reimer said. “And they don’t know about it and a lot of folks when I talk about moonshine and absinth, they say that’s illegal, but it’s not anymore.”
Reimer said most people have wineries and craft breweries on their radar, but there isn’t much out there to educate about craft distilleries.
“People think that it’s still illegal and they are stuck in that Prohibition kind of era,” he said. “We’re trying to get people educated, bring in some light on the fact that distilleries do exist and they’re really coming up in numbers.”
Smaller can be better
Aside from the boutique appeal of craft spirits, smaller batches allow distillers to focus a lot of attention on each product. Bigger companies often center on quantity, not quality, Reimer said.
“If you want to drink overpriced Jack Daniels, OK, if that’s your thing,” he said. “But at my house, I don’t have any mass-produced alcohol. I only have craft because it is so much better. It’s very smooth, and it’s just so, so much better.”
Reimer said that craft distilleries’ focus on using local and regional ingredients helps make their products stand out.
“They’re using local ingredients or regional ingredients that truly make it unique for their area,” Reimer said. “They’re using their aquifers — the water really makes a difference in the taste of the spirits — plus the local grains or ingredients that they use.”
Breckenridge Distillery, for instance, gets the unique flavor of its bourbon from the mineral content of the water in Breckenridge. The local shop is one of 31 Colorado distilleries listed in the third edition of “Micro-Distilleries in the U.S. and Canada,” up from only nine entries in the second edition.
“The third edition is completely different because of the sheer number of distilleries that have come out,” Reimer said. “There was no way that I could put that much information in there, so I had to turn it into more of a guide type of book, the nuts and bolts behind the scenes people who are involved.”
Different states define craft distilleries in different ways, based on production volume, distilling methods and distribution, so Reimer uses his own guidelines when deciding which companies make it into his books.
“Everybody who’s in the book is a craft distillery — how it’s produced, their equipment, having bottling parties,” he said. “Anything that makes it truly hand crafted.”
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