Following up on my post in the "Looking forward, looking back" thread:
There was some speculation as to the viability of microdistilling in the America.
Microdistilling in the US is taking off rather nicely. I have a few
thoughts on whether it will survive and flourish.
1) The microbreweries had legions of homebrewers doing R&D, and freely
publishing the results. Microdistillers are not so lucky.
2) Beer can go from idea to sellable product on a timescale of months
(or even weeks...), and the production process can be tweaked to
improve the product, again on a timescale of months. Microdistillers
are not so lucky, having to wait years for the final product.
3) Large distilleries have lots of leeway in the vatting stage, and
can generally find a place for each barrel within their multitude of labels.
Microdistillers are not so lucky.
4) Microdistillers need to have the patience to wait until they have a good
product before they release anything... and this might be difficult, seeing
as how they are going to really need cash flow as soon as possible. They need
to make a good name for themselves, and for the microdistilling industry
as a whole, so putting out quality is important... they can't just bottle
what's in the pipeline no matter what it tastes like.
I'm not trying to be pessimistic, but there are really a lot of hurdles
(especially bureaucratic) that microdistillers have to overcome, which
were not such a big deal for microbrewers.
That said, I'm rather pleased at the current crop of microdistillers.
Here's a list that was compiled on the malts-l mailing list in August.
It probably needs updating, but was current at the time. Not all of
these microdistillers currently make whiskey (the ones that do are marked),
but I have a feeling that many of them will eventually make whiskey,
and thus are worth watching, and discussing. I would be surprised if,
for instance, dogfish didn't eventually make a whiskey, although they'll
tell you right now that they have no plans for any.
Ransom cellars : www.ransomspirits.com
Hood River Distillers : www.hrdspirits.com
McMenamins (Edgefield) : www.mcmenamins.com Whiskey
Bendistillery : www.bendistillery.com
Brandy Peak : www.brandypeak.com
Clear Creek : www.clearcreekdistillery.com Whiskey
Anchor Brewing (Old Potrero) : www.anchorbrewing.com Whiskey
Charbay : www.charbay.com Whiskey
St. James : www.saintjamesspirits.com Whisky
St. George : www.stgeorgespirits.com Whiskey
Osocalis : www.osocalis.com
Essential Spirits : www.essentialspirits.com
Carneros Alembic Brandy (RMS) : Closed
McKendric (Texas) : www.mckendricwhiskey.com Whiskey
Bardenay (Idaho) : www.bardenay.com
Conecuh Ridge (Alabama) : www.crbrands.com Whiskey
Colorado Distilling (Colorado) : www.coloradowhisky.com Closed?
Black Star Farms (Michigan) : www.blackstarfarms.com
Dogfish Head (Deleware) : www.dogfish.com
Virginia Lightning (Virginia) : www.vafb.com/magazines/2002/jan/0102_28.htm Whiskey?
WV Distilling (West Virginia) : www.mountainmoonshine.com Whiskey
Warwich Valley (New York) : www.wvwinery.com
Heart of the Vineyard (Michigan) : www.heartofthevineyard.com
Koenig (Idaho) : www.koenigdistillery.com
Triple Eight (Rhode Island) : www.tripleeightdistillery.com