Photo: Aroon Phukeed, Getty Images.
The only thing better than high-quality, delicious spirits is the same spirits made with locally-sourced ingredients. When distilleries utilize their own farms or neighboring farms, they not only get the freshest produce and ingredients possible, they also help out their community.
Farming used to be a giant industry decades ago, but it seems to be disappearing every year that passes. Farm-to-bottle distilleries are a great way to show local farmers that you support them and what they are trying to do.
There are countless farm-to-bottle distilleries in the U.S. making amazing gin, vodka, whiskey, brandy, and various other spirits and liqueurs. These are some of the best spirits in that category. Sip them, mix with them, and be happy that your purchase is helping more than just the distillery you purchased them from.
This vodka is so named because every winter the waterfall located in the heart of this Western New York village freezes. Its ingredients, and the ingredients all of Honeoye Falls Distillery’s spirits, are sourced from the local farms surrounding the town. This wheat-based vodka was named the 2016 American Distilling Institute’s Best Grain-to-Glass Rye Vodka.
Sweet potato-based spirits have become quite popular in the last few years. One of the best is Corbin Cash Sweet Potato Vodka. You might not know this, but sweet potato vodka costs a lot more to produce than traditional vodka. To make one bottle of this vodka, Corbin Cash goes through 10 pounds of sweet potatoes. This farm-to-bottle spirit is made using 100% estate-owned sweet potatoes farmed in California. On top of that, the water used to make the vodka comes from the natural aquifers on the farm before being filtered.
Everyone likes sweet tea. If it’s mixed with vodka on a hot summer day, it’s pretty hard to pass up. What makes this spirit even better is the fact that it’s crafted in a still on Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina in small batches. It’s distilled four times before being infused with tea leaves that are grown only five miles away. It’s then blended with real sugar cane from Louisiana to create a truly unique farm-to-bottle experience.
Australian-based Four Pillars has taken the idea of farm-to-bottle and made it their motto (or their four pillars). Their stills were made in Germany, but that’s mostly because there probably aren’t a lot of places that make stills in Australia. Their water comes directly from the Yarra Valley and they consider it to be “the best in the world.” The botanicals are mostly sourced from Australia with others coming from around the world. They use fresh botanicals whenever available. The last pillar is their unending attention to detail and commitment to crafting the best gin (and other spirits) they can.
If you didn’t think tequila would make this list, you’ll feel pretty foolish right about now. There are many tequila distilleries doing things in the vein of farm-to-bottle, but no one is doing it as well as Casa Noble. Their tequila is made from 100% blue agave that is handpicked in the regions (Nayarit and Jalisco) surrounding the distillery in Tequila, Mexico. The plants aren’t harvest by a giant, alien-looking machine but by hand by jimadores (agave harvesters). They are extremely well-trained and skilled and can harvest more than 200 piñas (agave cores) per day. Then comes the steaming, fermenting, distilling, maturing, and drinking.
This distillery was named for its owners’ love of fly fishing. All of its spirits, including Straight Washington Whiskey, are made from locally sourced ingredients from sustainable farms. The whiskey is made from 100% locally sourced soft white wheat. It’s distilled twice before aging for at least three years in charred American oak barrels.