by Bob Benenson, FamilyFarmed
Many of those involved in the Good Food movement believe that craft distilling deserves to be considered part of it. Most start-up distilleries are entrepreneurial and artisan businesses, which Good Food advocates seek to encourage. And many are local, in the sense that they work to develop local and regional markets before they scale up and reach out to other areas.
One question that has often nagged at this industry sector, though, is whether a distilled spirit needs to contain ingredients produced by local farmers in order to be considered truly local.
There have been distilleries that have led the way on this issue, such as Koval, the distillery that played a key role in creating a spirits-making industry in Chicago when it became the city’s first licensed distillery since Prohibition in 2008. Koval uses locally sourced ingredients that are also certified organic and kosher.
But if you cruised the tasting floor at the annual Chicago Independent Spirits Expo on Sept. 30, it was hard not to notice how many more distilleries are touting local ingredients as selling points for their products.
The following is a photo essay that underscores the point. Good Food on Every Table will follow up soon with an analysis of trends in craft distilling, based on the thoughts of industry leaders shared at the Expo.
All photographs are by Bob Benenson/FamilyFarmed.