Many of those involved in the Good Food movement believe that craft distilling deserves to be considered part of it, but the question has been raised about whether a distilled spirit needs to contain ingredients produced by local farmers in order to be considered truly local. Many producers now are touting local sourcing as a major selling point.
It was just seven years ago when the married couple of Sonat Birnecker Hart and Robert Birnecker decided to give up high-level professional careers in the Washington, D.C., area, and start up their Koval Distillery in Chicago. As recent as that seems, they did not join the craft spirits movement within the city of Chicago. They launched it.
New Year’s Eve approaches, and the mind turns to bubbly wine. And New Year’s resolutions. And I can tell you from experience that few things stimulate creative thinking about those resolutions than a sparkling wine cocktail spiked with potent distilled spirits.
If you are a fan of whiskey in general and American whiskey in particular, then Michael Veach may have your dream job title: bourbon historian.
The Independent Spirits Expo held in Chicago Sept. 25 was a celebration of the rapid growth in the craft spirits sector. But a panel of industry insiders held earlier in the day discussed some of the challenges distillers face in addressing the growing consumer demand.
With the Independent Spirits Expo coming up Wednesday (Sept. 25) in Chicago, what better way to warm up for one of the year’s biggest craft sampling events than with a tip of the hat to the nation’s original “microdistillers:” the frontiersmen whose stills produced the early bourbons and ryes that became the indigenous American liquors?
Discerning rum drinkers in the Chicago area may debate which locale produces the best variety. Some will say Puerto Rico, others Jamaica or Venezuela or Barbados or a variety of other nations in the Caribbean region. Now, at least a handful of Chicagoland’s craft spirits fans would include a new entry: Plainfield.
The Artisan Distilling Program at Michigan State University opened a tasting room in July. The launch of the bar near the East Lansing campus fulfilled a longtime goal of MSU professor Kris Berglund, whose program had operated in a low-profile manner since he founded it in 1996. “We’ve kind of been the black ops guys,” said Berglund. “Now we’re coming out into the light a little bit.”