What Distillers Drink

We asked eight craft spirit makers what they pour when off duty.

There’s a strong bond among many independent distillers. They swap tales, tips and most importantly, each other’s hooch. To help introduce you to this next generation of booze brands, we asked eight craft spirit makers to tell us what they’re pouring when off duty.

We started with: Darek Bell, Distiller at Corsair Artisan Distillery (Nashville, TN)

His pick: Balcones Brimstone Whiskey

“I love it for its great smoke character.”



Chip Tate, Balcones Distilling (Waco, TX)

His pick: Peach Street’s Pear Brandy 

“They use a lot of local fruit. The local American brandy tradition is not a big one here—yet—and it’s a great expression of their craft.”


Chris “Moose” Koons, Peach Street Distillers (Palisade, CO)

His pick: Leopold Bros.’s Maryland-Style Rye Whiskey

“The Maryland-Style Rye Whiskey has a great balance between the rye and wood.”



Todd Leopold, Leopold Bros. (Denver, CO)

His pick: St. George Spirits’ St. George Pear Brandy

“With pear fermentations, you either capture the essence of the pear, or you don’t. Lance Winters and his crew make one of the best around.”



Lance Winters, St. George Spirits (Alameda, CA)

His pick: Westland Distillery’s Deacon Seat American Single Malt Whiskey

“It’s balanced, complex and doesn’t rely on the barrel for character.”



Emerson Lamb, Westland Distillery (Seattle, WA)

His pick: High West Distillery’s Rendezvous Rye

“It brings to America the long Scottish tradition of independent bottlings.”



David Perkins, High West Distillery (Park City, UT)

His pick: Craft Distillers’ Germain-Robin Brandy

“Beautiful, fruity and delicious. Period.”



Ansley Coale, Craft Distillers (Ukiah, CA)  

His pick: Great Lakes Distillery’s Kinnickinnic Whiskey (Milwaukee)

“I like founder Guy Rehorst’s innovations, like blending his own malt into purchased whiskey. His awards are deserved.”


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