DistilleryTrail’s Top 10 Most Popular Stories from 2017

 In Blog

2017 has been a phenomenal year for distilled spirits makers and dreamers. A quick look at the numbers shows there’s been roughly one new distillery opened every day for the past year. According to the most recent American Craft Spirits Association Data Project the number of active craft distillers in the U.S. grew by 20.8% over the last year to 1,589 as of August 2017. The same report showed that employment in the craft industry has seen substantial growth. In 2017 industry employment grew 47.8%, adding more than 6,000 jobs for a total of nearly 19,600 full time employees while investments in the craft spirits industry reached close to $600 million.

The Craft Spirits Future is Bright

With so much growth in the industry, some may look at all the new competition with concern while others look at it as affirmation that this industry is on a roll and growing to meet pent up demand for new and interesting locally produced spirits. We are big believers in the latter and think this is a welcome return to America’s distillation entrepreneurial roots as archaic state and federal laws written around the time of Prohibition are slowly but responsibly untangled.

The biggest news story of the year didn’t make the Top 10 list only because it occurred so late in the year but let there be no doubt that the best news of the year arrived on December 24, the day the President signed the new tax law that includes the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. This new law that took effect January 1, 2018 is the largest distilled spirits victory in modern history. The new law helps to level the playing field for craft spirits makers with a reduction in Federal Excise Tax from $13.50 to $2.70 for the first 100,000 proof gallons. This additional cash will stay with the makers, allowing them to hire new employees, purchase new equipment and invest in the communities they serve.

The future for distilled spirits makers is quite bright! Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Stories made popular by the DistilleryTrail audience.
Cheers and Happy New Year!

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No. 1: What is Absinthe and is it Legal? 

The Green Fairy from Moulin RougeThe mystical spirit Absinthe was banned in the United States in 1912. It wasn’t until almost 100 years later that this often misunderstood green spirit was legalized. Read More…

No. 2: It’s Official: Stoli Breaks Ground on $150 Million Disney-like Distillery for Kentucky Owl Bourbon 

Kentucky Owl Bourbon - Kentucky Owl Park Breaks GroundStoli Group, owner of Kentucky Owl Bourbon has broken ground on a $150 Million distillery project in Bardstown, The Bourbon Capital of the World. Read more…

No. 3: Gov. Signs HB100 Re-Defining Kentucky Whiskey and Allowing Vintage Spirit Sales 

Heaven Hill Distillery - President Max L. Shapira Gifts a 1942 Bottle of Old Heaven Hill to Kentucky Gov Matt BevinNew law legally changes the definition of “Kentucky Whiskey.” Read More…

No. 4: Tennessee Whiskey Trail is Officially on the Map & Open for Business 

Tennessee Whiskey Trail Open for BusinessThe Tennessee Distillers Guild officially opened the Tennessee Whiskey Trail with 25 members across the state. And one TN legislature came out challenging Kentucky’s place as the home of whiskey saying, “Because, if you go online and look at the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, their history sucks. It really does…Our history is going to make us famous and put them to shame, I promise you that.” Read more…

No. 5: Bourbon Pompeii: 59 Years After its Burial, Col. E.H. Taylor’s O.F.C. Distillery Opens to Public 

O.F.C. Distillery - E.H. Taylor JrCol. E.H. Taylor Jr’s O.F.C. Distillery once abandoned and buried under concrete has been unearthed and is now open for tours at Buffalo Trace DistilleryRead more…

No. 6: The Complete List: American Distilling Institute’s – 2017 Award Winners

ADI 2017 - Bubble Cap Award – Distillery of the Year Cedar Ridge DistilleryAwards were handed out in six overall categories of craft spirits from small, independently owned distillers, blenders, bitters makers, and producers of aperitif & fortified wines. Read more…

No. 7: Newly Issued Patents Will Chemically Age Rum and Whiskey 20 Years in 1 Week

Lost Spirits Technology - Theo 1 Rum vs. 33 Year Old RumThe inventor has published data demonstrating that the new technology can nearly identically match the chemical signature of a 20 year old rum in under a week’s time. Read more…

No. 8: Buffalo Trace Distillery Granted “Patent Pending” Status for Sour Mash Process

Buffalo Trace Distillery - Colonel EH Taylor Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bourbon, Patent PendingThe “exact Old Fashioned Sour Mash process is proprietary and remains patent pending, it does differ from the standard sour mash process traditionally used in distilling…” Read more…

No. 9: The 4,700 Lb. Heart of the New Old Forester Distillery is in the House

Old Forester Distillery - Vendome Copper & Brass Works Column Still DeliveryOld Forester Distillery had it’s Stairway to Heaven still delivered by Vendome Copper & Brass Works. View the photo gallery for this $45 million project. Read more…

No. 10: And the Winner is… American Craft Spirits Association Announces 2017 Award Winners

American Craft Spirits Association - 2017 Awards BanquetThe American Craft Spirits Association announced the 2017 winners of its 4th Annual Judging of Craft Spirits at the ACSA Distillers Show. Read more…

Bonus No. 11: What is the Angel’s Share? 

What is the Angel's Share?The Angel’s take their cut from every barrel of distilled spirits. It may be a little or it may be a lot but they will not be ignored. Read more…

Bonus No. 12: Castle & Key Distillery Rising from Ruins After Old Taylor Distillery Narrowly Escaped Wrecking Ball

Old Taylor Distillery Postcard - CoverColonel E.H. Taylor, Jr’s dream of building a distillery showplace as a destination for tourists is once again rising from the ruins. Read more…

As we look ahead, we hope to see you make a difference and appear in the 2018 Top 10!

“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.”
~P.T. Barnum, Founder of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

Related Stories
Distillery Trail’s 2016 Top 10 Stories, Vendors & Distilleries 
DistilleryTrail’s Top 10 Stories from 2015 

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