Craft Spirits July 2021

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Page 58

distilling destinations

THEIR WAY New Jersey craft distilleries eye potential for growth. BY JOHN HOLL

T

he earliest known distilleries in New Jersey go back to the 1600s, but despite that spirited history, the current industry is small and in its craft infancy stage, owners say. But there is potential for widespread greatness again. The Garden State, as it is known, has

lagged behind neighboring states like Pennsylvania and New York when it comes to craft spirits production, with laws only being passed in 2013 that allowed small entrepreneurs to do business. Spirits lag behind both breweries and wineries in numbers and recognition. Currently there are about two dozen

distilleries operating in the state. “People say we are sassy and driven, fair minded and scrappy,” says Ray Disch of Sourland Mountain Spirits in Hopewell. “People like scrappy.” Disch, who like many others, is experiencing growth again as vaccination rates are up

It’s the strong agricultural background of the state—often overlooked because of the view from Newark Liberty International Airport—that many of the distillers are relying on for both their spirits and cocktails. 58 |

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C R AF T S PI R I T S MAG .CO M