The Best Distilleries in Each State To Add To Your Bucket List!
The drink version of a foodie is someone who enjoys their drinks and spirits. Destinations like Napa get a lot of attention for the experience it provides with not just wine but also wine country. But nowadays, there’s a different kind of destination for drinks: distilleries.
The Distillery Experience
There is a huge variety of drinks out there now, including methods of distilling liquor and the ingredients involved. Whereas alcohol of the past was pretty standard, spirits of today are crafted. Plus, let’s not forget about the delicious cocktails you can make.
An experience at a distillery will help you learn more about the process of making the liquor, and provide an opportunity to try different flavors and unique craft cocktails.
So which distilleries are worth the visit? This list tells you THE place to go to in each state
The state has a ton of distillery options to choose from. There’s even a distillery tour you can take to visit them all! However, the one that seems to stand out the most is Dread River Distilling Company in Birmingham. It was recently ranked in the top 10 by USA Today.
It gets its name from a mythical river that runs under Birmingham, and back in 2019 the company started with just three spirits: Whiskey, vodka, and gin. Not long after, they added wine & craft beer. This year rum and blue agave spirits are also on the menu.
A visit there will get you a wide array of cocktail options in its massive tasting gallery.
Alaska has a huge list of distilleries to choose from if you should ever visit (who knew!). However, one stands around amongst the group: Port Chilkoot Distillery.
Their products include bourbon, rye whiskey, absinthe, vodka, and an award-winning gin (as it won double gold at an international spirit competition). They deliver to pretty much every state in the country, so if you’re looking for some Alaskan flavor, definitely check them out.
Another state with many options to choose from, but here we’ll highlight the Elgin Distillery, whose extra-aged rum eglao de Vida Ron Imperial was ranked best in the world as of 2019.
If you’re a rum fan, check them out. Don’t worry, though, that’s not the only spirit they make. Their repertoire also includes whiskey, bourbon, rye, rum, brandy, gin, and vodka.
The award-winning spirits that they create can be sampled in their tasting room either straight or through a delicious cocktail. In addition, they offer local wine and beer so that you can get all of Arkansas in one stop!
California has a ton of distillery options as of late. No matter what your preferred alcohol, there is a distillery for it in the sunshine state. However, the one that makes the cut here is Green Bar Distillery.
Located in Los Angeles, it’s the city’s first distillery since the prohibition, and they have the largest selection of organically produced alcohol. Plus, they are going green. For each bottle of spirits sold, Green Bar plants a tree! Plan your visit soon and get a taste of the healthy and the socially conscious.
There are over 60 distilleries in Colorado, but the one that makes this list? Breckenridge Distillery. This is because it’s the highest distillery by elevation in the world, sitting at over 9600 ft above sea level.
A visit will get you vodka and whiskey (their specialties), but they also dabble in gin, rum, and others. In addition, you can take a break from drinking while you’re there and eat at their restaurant by Chef David Burke who serves up specially crafted meals to pair with your drinks.
If you can’t make it to Breckenridge, then check out the famous Stranahan’s, Denver where people camp out to get the seasonal whiskey.
Litchfield Distillery is relatively new, but tours and tastings are free! With a variety of vodka and gin to choose from, there’s plenty to try. Plus, they have bourbon and have been experimenting with different ways to finish their whiskeys.
A visit here is sure to make your tastebuds happy.
Painted Stave Distilling in Smyrna is sure to give you the local Delaware flavor and experience. Their specialty is flavored spirits, namely vodkas, but they also have some new-generation bourbon and rye whiskeys.
Tours are available on weekends and this distillery (along with its delicious cocktail bar) is well worth a visit!
Formed by US veterans, they are famous for their Horse Soldier Bourbon. A visit here to support their cause is definitely worth your time!
The distillery itself is a craft whiskey distillery with a free tour, and handcrafted cocktails served in their Spirit Lab.
In Hawaii, there are different islands with different flavors. So to break it down:
Island distillers in Oahu are found off of one of the best hiking trials on the island at the base of the Koko Head Crater. They use sugarcane to make vodka and Hawaii’s only indigenous spirit, okolehao, which is distilled ti root beer with sugarcane added to smooth out the flavor.
In Maui, check out Hali’imaile Distillery directly opposite the Maui Gold Pineapple plantation. This distillery makes vodkas, rums, and gins distilled from the Maui Gold Pineapple juice. You’ll find unique flavors with a free tasting and an informational tour!
In Kauai, visit the Hanalei Spirits Distillery which makes drinks based on locally sourced ingredients. They do not sell their bottles off the island, so visiting them is sure to be a unique local experience.
In the land of the potato, you must visit Grand Teton Distillery. They make all of their vodka from their local crop. Channing Tatum’s Born and Bred is also made here.
The Windy City of Chicago, at last count, now has 17 distilleries. Few Spirits in Evanston takes the cake and should be on your visit list. They make rye and bourbon whiskeys plus two different kinds of gin.
Once you’re done with the distillery, you can explore the city!
The West Fork Whiskey Company is the one to visit in the state of Indiana. Located in Indianapolis it was voted in the Top 20 Whiskey distilleries in 2019 in the United States by Yelp.
When you do a tasting, you’ll to try their wheaty bourbon or spicy rye spirits. Be sure to sightsee the city along the way!
The must-see is Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery in Cedar Rapids. Not only do they have a large variety of spirits to sample, they also have dining options and live music on certain nights!
There are a ton of options in the state of Kansas but the one that makes this list is the nation’s only distillery located in a cave.
S.D. Strong Distilling creates its unique spirits and flavor in an underground cave. Yup. Give them a visit for some great-tasting gin, bourbon, rye whiskey and vodka!
Be sure to book a ride home after visiting them for a tasting (or a few)!
If you’re heading down south, definitely stop by Louisiana Spirits, which is the biggest craft rum distillery in the United States, located in the heart of sugar cane country. They also export to Europe, distributing their product in 17 different countries.
As of 2016, this distillery was chosen as the top attraction by the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association, and its visitor center was voted the best large-scale visitor center!
Aside from its award-winning rum, you can get a tour of its space, take part in special events and take home plenty of souvenirs to remember your trip!
In Maine, stop by the New England Distilling Co., founded by Ned Wight, whose family legacy includes running distilleries over the last 160 years.
In New England, you’ll have the chance to not only taste great spirits (and cocktails) but also take a tour and understand how the family legacy has gotten to where it is today!
Make a day trip out of your distillery experience by visiting the Blackwater Distillery. They make vodka, rum, and rye whiskey and are the first modern licensed distiller in the state since 2008. The distillery itself is a great visit, but there’s also plenty to do in the surrounding area.
The distillery is located on Kent Island, which is known for its beaches, biking trails, and waterfront dining. A day on the island will also get you time through the historic town.
Credited with helping to found the craft distiller movement, Berkshire Mountain Distillery is your destination distillery in Massachusetts. They are the first legal distillery in the state since prohibition and offer a wide variety of award-winning spirits for you to try!
If you’re lucky, you may also catch some live music!
If you’re hanging out up north, then be sure to take some time for the J Carver Distillery in Waconia, Minnesota. Their brandy won best in its class in 2019. On the weekends, you can sample their unique cocktails in their tasting room!
If you don’t have time to stay, then take some of your favorite spirits home and look up their cocktail recipes online. Conveniently organized by spirit, you can bring home the unique taste of Minnesota!
However, legal distilling is now in place, starting with the states first, Cathead Distillery in Jackson. A visit to Cathead will get you more than just great southern flavor though; the distillery is committed to supporting local artists and music. Your visit will help them continue their tradition!
One of the best destinations in Missouri is the Ozarks. With plenty to do and see there, adding this to your vacation plans will never steer you wrong. While you’re there, check out their destination distillery, Copper Run Distillery.
The first legal distillery since 1933, they provide you with some mountain fresh spirits, including Moonshine, Rum, and whiskey.
A visit to Montana should include some amazing national parks, namely Glacier National Park. You’ll also be able to taste the Montana spirit while there, at Glacier Distilling.
In addition to dabbling in plum brandy (as one of their many products), they have a tasting room and speakeasy so that you can truly get the 360 experience.
What would you say to a distillery that was inspired by the diary of a family member that dealt in spirits during the prohibition? If that historical flavor is of interest to you, then head over to Lazy RW Distillery in Moorehead, Nebraska.
They only have three flavors, Straight Corn Whiskey, Cinnamon Flavor Whiskey, and Lemon Flavored Whiskey, but what they lack in size they greatly make up for in their taste and standard of production.
When you’re in Nevada, stop by Frey Ranch Farmers and Distillers in Fallon. Their multi-generational brand gives you the opportunity to sample different whiskeys and clear spirits. Pay them a visit and check out their process!
29. New Hampshire
If you’re in the northeast, be sure to check out the oldest distillery in the state of New Hampshire, Flag Hill Distillery and Winery.
This destination distillery is located within a 17th-century barn that used to house cattle. Now, they bring you unique local spirits (their vodka is made from apples!), a winery, and a wonderful venue to host weddings and events.
30. New Jersey
If you’re roaming around the Garden State, stop by Claremont Distilled Spirits, the largest craft distillery in New Jersey.
Alongside its variety of whiskeys, Claremont Vodka has won gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. A visit here will get you a tasting, tour, and access to live events. Another unique option here is their personalized barrel program, where (for a fee) you get to choose your ingredients and create your own spirit!
31. New Mexico
Check out Santa Fe spirits if you head to New Mexico. You’ll find them at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, 7,000 feet above sea level. They are small but create some interesting combinations of flavors including an apple brandy and silver whiskey!
32. New York
It’s hard to pick the distillery to visit in the Empire State, but the one that makes this list of destination distilleries is Hillrock Estate Distillery in Hudson Valley, New York.
A visit will not only get you a tour of the state’s oldest distillery, but you’ll also get perfect views of the valley and Berkshire Mountains.
33. North Carolina
Looking for a truly unique experience you can’t find anywhere else? Add this to your bucket list: a visit to Southern Grace Distilleries, the only one located in a former prison.
Your visit gets you amazing spirits and a chance to take some unique tours such as the “Behind Bars Tour” and “Convicted Spirits Tour.” While you’re in Mount Pleasant, you also have the option to visit the White Owl Mall – the largest antique mall in the South. Though, going before you drink is probably preferable.
34. North Dakota
If your travels take you through North Dakota, then plan to stop by Proof Artisan Distillers in Fargo. The distillery itself is housed in a former Ford and Cadillac dealer and the old Fargo Municipal Courthouse. The bar dates back to 1892. Check them out for a truly historical and unique experience!
When in the midwest, you must drink as those in the midwest do. Ohio’s Middle West Distillery can help you do just that. In addition to a whiskey and vodka selection, they have a delectable Vim + Petal gin. Wash it all back with a meal at their award-winning eatery.
Guthrie, Oklahoma, offers a unique distillery experience through its popular Wander Folk Distillery.
Each spirit has a unique story behind it that is not only illustrated on the bottle art itself but manifests in the flavors as well.
I had a friend look into moving to Hood River, Oregon, at one point. So naturally, when searching, I looked there first and discovered Hood River Distillers, the oldest distillery in the state. They’re also so big they export their spirits across the country.
Not only that, but Hood River is an excellent destination in general if you’re into outdoor activities and generally enjoy being adventurous.
A stop in Pittsburgh gets you the most-awarded whiskey distillery in the country. Wigle Distillery is family-owned and operated and contains the namesake of the famous whiskey distiller in our history that started the Whiskey Rebellion.
The distillery has some of the best spirits the state offers, including a unique Ginever, a uniquely American take on the Genever.
39. Rhode Island
A visit to the Sons of Liberty Distillery in South Kingston is sure to bring you a unique experience. With seasonal whiskies and a line of unique American single malt whiskies, you won’t be disappointed or bored.
40. South Carolina
Stop by South Carolina’s popular Charleston and visit their first distillery, the Striped Pig (read more on their site for the story behind the name). From award-winning spirits to a fascinating history, you’ll have plenty to keep you occupied. Plus, you can hang out with some southern comfort food while you’re there!
41. South Dakota
Check out the first distillery and family-run whiskey-making business located in Pierre, South Dakota, Dakota Spirits Distillery.
They also offer up a local grain-based vodka and Dakota grape-based brandy!
If you’re in Tennessee, then it’s Jack Daniel’s Distillery that you need to see. While many contemporaries have come into play over the years, Jack Daniels is a classic. Visit its distillery grounds to learn about classic American whiskey and the role that Jack has played in our history.
In a state that likes to go big, you can imagine that they have some big distilling going on. The one that makes this list, though, is Balcones Distilling in Waco, Texas. Their products have international recognition. Among them, you’ll find Texas Pot Still Bourbon and Baby Blue (the first Texas whiskey sold since Prohibition).
On top of all that, they have created the first blue corn whiskey make from Hopi blue corn. For a truly unique experience, be sure to pay them a visit!
High West Distillery in Park City is the place to “ski into” when you’re in the area. They are expert blenders, offer food and shopping through their store. The location itself is in historic, revamped buildings!
When in Vermont, you must pay your respects to America’s most awarded gin. Using honey from bees they farm on their own grounds, Barr Hill Gin is worth the visit. The gin is so tasty, you can drink it straight and enjoy all the botanical flavors. Plus, they get bonus points for being located on Gin Lane.
If you’re in and around the Blue Ridge Mountains, consider stopping by the Virginia Distillery Co. in Lovingston. Open year-round, they mix up their offerings by using cider barrels in the spring and chardonnay barrels in the winter. You also get all the vibes in their tasting room with leather seating and a stone fireplace.
In the heart of Seattle lies Copperworks Distillery, which will get you a taste of their whiskey, gin, AND vodka. Be sure to take a designated driver with you!
48. West Virginia
Sample the local flavors by visiting the Great Lakes Distillery. This environmentally conscious business also resues bottles that customers return!