You know the saying, \u201cTeamwork makes the dream work\u201d? That\u2019s the attitude that a growing number of distilleries have adopted. They\u2019ve cross-pollinated spirits through collaborations with breweries, wineries, farmers and other entities in their areas.\r\n\r\nSome seek to spotlight homegrown flavors or the impact of terroir; others want to support local businesses; and still others just can\u2019t resist experimenting with whatever materials are at hand, even recently emptied barrels. The following projects illustrate how playing well with others can lead to some boundary-pushing bottlings.\r\n\r\n\r\nTrail Distilling and J. Christopher Wines\r\nTrillium Pink Pinot Gin and Trillium Barrel Reserved Gin\r\nAt first, Oregon City\u2019s Trail Distilling just wanted to see what would happen.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe wanted to experiment with our gin,\u201d says Co-owner Sara Brennan. \u201cWe believe in supporting local businesses.\u201d\r\n\r\nWhile breweries or coffee roasters were briefly considered as collaborators, they didn\u2019t seem like the right match with a floral, citrus-forward gin. It was a winery, specifically, Willamette Valley\u2019s J. Christopher, that ultimately hit the sweet spot.\r\n\r\n\u201cOregon Pinot Noir is recognized as some of the best Pinot in the world, so why not blend a local gin and wine together?\u201d says Brennan.\r\n\r\nTrail makes two bottlings that use emptied casks from J. Christopher. The Trillium Barrel Reserved gin spends six months in a former wine barrel toasted by ReWine Barrels, another Oregon business. The other, Trillium Pink Pinot Gin, ages for two months in a freshly emptied barrel, which imparts a delicate blush.\r\n\r\n\r\nManifest Distilling and local citrus growers\r\nManifest Citrus Flavored Vodka\r\nThe original plan was to make gin, recalls Tom Johnson, partner and sales director at Manifest Distilling in Jacksonville, Florida. The idea was never to be a flavored vodka, a category Johnson dismissed as \u201can abomination.\u201d\r\n\r\nBut as Manifest tested citrus peels as gin botanicals, \u201cwe knew right then we had the potential to make something incredible,\u201d he says. \u201cLiving in Florida, fruit is our No. 1 agricultural product, and we wanted to pay homage to that.\u201d\r\n\r\nTwo years later, Manifest macerated its potato vodka with a blend of 60% orange, 20% lemon and 20% grapefruit peels, all sourced from local groves. The first batches used fruit from North Florida farmer Cecil Nelson. When he passed away in 2018, Manifest began to work with Sun Harvest Citrus, a grower and juicing facility.\u00a0 While the percentage stays constant, the varieties change throughout the year, depending on what\u2019s ripe. Familiar navel or Valencia oranges may figure into the mix, as could sweet-tart Temples or Honeybell tangelos, which result in nuanced variations in each batch.\r\n\r\n\r\nWestland Distillery and Black Raven Brewing Co.\r\nBeer cask-finished whiskey\r\nSeattle craft distillery Westland is already noted for its emphasis on terroir in its whiskey, achieved by local grains and even peat harvested from a Washington state bog.\r\n\r\nBut the distillery\u2019s new cask-exchange program with breweries, a huge part of the creative landscape in the Pacific Northwest, \u201cis yet another way Westland is working to express a sense of place in our whiskies,\u201d says Scott Sell, the distillery\u2019s director of operations.\r\n\r\nThe project began in response to requests from local producers for emptied whiskey casks, he says. Rather than sell them, Westland loans casks to brewers on one condition: Send them back when you\u2019re done.\r\n\r\nWhat returns is \u201call sorts of fantastic and weird casks to finish our whiskey in,\u201d Sell notes. Black Raven Brewing fills one set of casks with Feather Weather Coffee Stout and another with a kriek style Cherry Sour. Upon their return, Westland filled both sets with whiskey, then later married the two together into a robust spirit that roars with chocolate-covered cherry and toffee.\r\n\r\n\r\nLong Road Distillers and Madcap Coffee\r\nAmaro Pazzo\r\nIn Grand Rapids, Michigan, Long Road Distillers wanted to make a coffee-spiked spirit. It turned to Madcap, a well-known local coffee roaster beloved for seasonal coffees.\r\n\r\n\u201cCoffee and distilled spirits go so well together,\u201d says Jon O\u2019Connor, Long Road\u2019s owner/cofounder. \u201cFor some time, we have really wanted to utilize coffee in one of our products.\u201d\r\n\r\nDuring about a year of research and development, the two entities quickly ruled out a \u201cboring\u201d coffee liqueur, focusing instead on a shared love of amaro. Their version would utilize coffee to coax bitter, floral, smoky or herbaceous notes, depending on the beans\u2019 origin and roasting technique.\r\n\r\nUltimately, they selected Reko, an Ethiopian coffee with citrusy acidity and stone fruit flavors. It\u2019s blended with a neutral spirit macerated with botanicals that include orange and chicory, flavors that are traditional to pair with coffee.\r\n\r\n\r\nVirginia Distillery Co. and local cideries\r\nCider Barrel Matured Virginia Highland Malt Whisky\r\nVirginia Distillery in Lovingston has teamed up with wineries and breweries, so it seemed natural to collaborate with cider makers in one of the nation\u2019s largest apple-producing states.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt made a lot of sense in terms of the flavor profile and what we were trying to achieve,\u201d says Distillery Director Ian Thomas. He reached out to Potter\u2019s Craft Cider and Buskey Cider, both in Central Virginia and known for experimental releases like hopped ciders and a jalape\u00f1o-lime infusion. A cask-exchange program was arranged to circulate used vessels between the whiskey and cider producers. Layers of flavor would evolve with each round-trip.\r\n\r\nFrom the first experiment in 2016, \u201cwe knew we were on to something very unique and different,\u201d says Thomas. The dry, tart apple flavors melded with the mellow butterscotch of the malt whiskey.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe were surprised by the simplicity and balance, but also the depth of character we got out of it,\u201d he says.\r\n\r\n\r\nWigle Whiskey and Rivendale Farms Sugarhouse maple syrup\r\nWigle Maple Liqueur\r\nPittsburgh-based Wigle has been prolific in terms of collaborative bottlings over the years. Offerings have ranged from an aquavit-like Eau de Pickle (yes, a pickle-flavored spirit) to a partnership with a local chocolatier that yielded whiskey-infused truffles.\r\n\r\nBut the road to its maple liqueur is of particular interest, involving \u201cbarrel trades and outrageous amounts of maple syrup,\u201d says Michael Foglia, Wigle\u2019s manager of product development and innovation.\r\n\r\nThe liqueur starts with maple syrup, which is fermented and then aged for five months in barrels that previously held the sweet stuff. Finally, the finished spirit is sweetened with another addition of dark and robust maple syrup.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt took about a year to line up everything for the first batch,\u201d says Foglia. The distillery worked with Bissell Maple Farm and Rivendale Farms.\r\n\r\nWhy maple? It\u2019s an extension of Wigle\u2019s \u201cengagement in local terroir,\u201d says Foglia. \u201cWhile we are not as \u2018maple-crazy\u2019 as Vermont, it is still a major part of our agricultural heritage,\u201d with Pennsylvania producing the seventh most syrup of all states in the country.