Getting in the spirit! Craft spirits that is.

The craft beer craze has been around for quite a while, and is now being joined by a new level of interest in distilling. According to, distilling could well become the next boom industry, but there is a lot of conflicting information out there about the distillation process. Their website states “In the most basic sense, distillation is a process used to separate a composite mixture into base elements. It involves a change of state, usually from liquid to gas, and then subsequent condensation to return the now separated elements to liquid state.”

Simply stated, distillation is the process by which a liquid is heated to create a vapor and then condensed back into a liquid again. This process is used to separate alcohol from raw materials such as fruits, grains, wines, and beers. Once the raw material has fermented, it is then heated. Since different base elements in the material have varying boiling points, the elements separate and the resulting distilled material is then collected in a vessel, with the undesirable elements extracted from the drinkable alcohol.

There are many distilleries across the country, and if you are an aficionado, perhaps you’ll want to include a tour of one or more of these standout distilleries on your next vacation. Increased public interest in craft spirits distilling is driving tourism to many points across the U.S. according to the American Distilling Institute’s website, which lists America’s top 20 craft spirits tourism destinations. They state, “ADI and Travelocity worked together to develop the first ever craft spirits tourism index, the purpose of which is to help draw consumer attention to the great spirits that craft distilleries are producing, and support the growing interest in craft distillery tourism.” In fact, Travelocity has created a web page focused on spirits-related activities that can be booked directly from the Travelocity website – either as a standalone local activity or part of a whole vacation.

Here are the top 10 large metro areas for craft spirits tourism according to the ADI:

  1. Seattle

  2. Portland

  3. Denver

  4. Washington, DC

  5. San Diego

  6. Philadelphia

  7. Austin

  8. Minneapolis

  9. Louis

  10. Grand Rapids

If big cities don’t appeal to you as a vacation destination, here are the top 10 small metro areas for craft spirits tourism, with each state boasting two areas:

  1. Corvallis, OR

  2. Wenatchee, WA

  3. Kingston, NY

  4. Boulder, CO

  5. San Luis Obispo, CA

  6. Vernon/Anacortes, WA

  7. Collins, CO

  8. Bend, OR

  9. Glen Falls, NY

  10. Santa Rosa/Petaluma, CA

This year, if you want to plan your vacation around an interest in craft spirits distilling, it’s now easier to do than ever. Depending on your level of interest, you might even want to consider attending the 5th Annual Craft Distilling Expo in October 2017, or the ADI conference in March 2018, held in Portland, Oregon.


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