Distilleries of old were often dark and dreary factories never meant for outside visitors. But, in today’s craft spirits world that view of a distillery has gone the way of the dinosaur and it’s been replaced with one of shiny steel and copper, often surrounded by a bar or restaurant. And whether that’s a shiny pot still or a patina covered column still that proudly shows off its age, that still is often featured in the front window to pull curious fans in for a lesson in local spirits history, a tour and the best part, a tasting. At most distilleries, fans will learn about the milling of local grains to make whiskey but in the case of Louisiana, it’s very likely fans will hear about local grasses (sugar cane) that is used to make rum.
To help tell those tales Louisiana Distillers Guild members met with Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser to discuss the economic impact craft spirits has on local jobs, agriculture and tourism. Craft spirits is an industry on the move across the entire country. Eight years ago Louisiana had exactly one licensed distillery in the entire state. Today the state boasts 29 distilleries with several others that are either in the planning stages or under construction.
Distillers discussed with the Lieutenant Governor the often forgotten connection between tourism and attracting visitors to the state and the possible synergies between distilleries and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture. Many local distilleries are supporting Louisiana farmers, using ingredients grown in the state such as sugar cane, rice, corn and strawberries.
Louisiana Factoid: After Florida, Louisiana ranks second in the nation in the production of sugarcane.
Ricci Hull, owner of Baton Rouge Distilling and Louisiana Distillers Guild Board member said, “The Louisiana Distillers Guild will be meeting with Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser again in January 2019 to create a timeline.” He’d like to see the Louisiana Distillery Trail modeled after the Kentucky Bourbon Trail with visitors having a passport type book stamped where fans can get prizes for visiting all the member distilleries.
The Louisiana Distillers Guild was founded in 2018 to represent the interests of local distillers with local, state, and federal organizations. It exists to further the agricultural, economic, legislative and creative goals of the distilling community. Their mission is to share the pride and ownership of Louisiana Distilling with its residents and all who visit our state.
Can Louisiana Distilleries Offer Tastings?
Louisiana state alcohol laws allow distilleries to offer onsite tastings, cocktails made with the distilleries products and direct to consumer sales (DTC) of one case per person per 30 day period. The Louisiana Distillers Guild is a group on the move. Expect great things to happen with craft spirits in Louisiana in 2019.
View all Louisiana Distilleries.
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