Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #15- Red Brick Craft Distillery, Philadelphia, Pa

Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #15- Red Brick Craft Distillery, Philadelphia, Pa

  I had the good fortune to meet Zachary Cohen and Brian Forrest in March of last year at the American Whiskey Convention at Citizens Bank Park. They had not bottled any spirits as of yet, but they had been hard at work for more than 6 months getting Red Brick Craft Distillery up and running in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Zach worked with Deer Creek Malt House to prepare an educational display for the event that showed the amount of grain that went into a shot and a bottle of whiskey. Even without spirits to pour at the event, he certainly made an impression. He feels strongly about supporting local farmers and grain producers, so we had plenty to talk about. Zach leased the property on Martha Street in Kensington in October of 2014. What once...

Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #2- County Seat Spirits in Allentown, Pa

Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #2- County Seat Spirits in Allentown, Pa

It was a beautiful day to drive into Allentown, Pennsylvania last Saturday.  The owners of County Seat Spirits, Anthony Brichta and John Howe, were busy entertaining their visitors and I popped in to say “Hello.” I was amazed at how much energy there was in the industrial building that is the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center.  Upon entering, you can hear the buzz from Hijinx Brewing Co. on the right and the Colony Meadery on the left.  I couldn’t help but pop my head into both to see those bustling tasting rooms where dozens of people were chatting and sipping samples.  I made my way up and to the left through the building’s hallway to find County Seat’s tasting room full of ladies in matching t-shirts drinking cocktails.  John Howe greeted me with a smile and...

Manatawny Still Works in Pottstown, PA

Manatawny Still Works in Pottstown, PA

Whiskey distilleries tend to be nostalgic for good reason.  So much of our national history coincides with that of American whiskey production in the United States.  There is a great deal of pride in who did what first and in each distillery’s origin story.  Pennsylvania lost its historic ties to whiskey production in the early 20th century and it wants to reclaim its rightful national status as the birthplace of American whiskey.  (Though Kentucky tends to wear that crown, it truly belongs to Pennsylvania.)  The question is, how does a brand new distillery make a name for themselves in a sea of whiskey nostalgia and half true origin stories?  You embrace the history of your town, your state and respect your local community, that’s how.  Be honest with your...

Bluebird Distilling in Phoenixville, PA

Bluebird Distilling in Phoenixville, PA

Bluebird Distilling opened its doors in 2015 in Phoenixville , Pa.  The owner, Jared Adkins, had his work cut out for him refurbishing the old professional laundry warehouse that his new distillery would be located in, but after about a year of renovations, he was ready to get started.  Jared is the type of young athletic go-getter that you’d expect to find biking trails and snowboarding down black diamond slopes.  He’s certainly got the energy to run the distillery, sling drinks as bartender and promote local craft production full time! His choice to set up in Phoenixville was a good one because the town has been undergoing a bit of a transformation over the last decade, and Bluebird Distilling is helping to draw attention to the town. The distillery is sourcing...

County Seat Spirits in Allentown, PA

County Seat Spirits in Allentown, PA

Allentown, Pennsylvania is home to County Seat Spirits.  Anthony Brichta, a native of Allentown, (which is the county seat of Lehigh County) began the business in the autumn of 2014 with his uncle, John Rowe.  One of the things that I respect about this little distillery is its connection to its roots and the history of the surrounding area.  Each spirit they produce is named after a local landmark or, in the case of their wheated bourbon, local history.  County Seat pays homage to the true story of how the Liberty Bell came to stay in Allentown for a brief period of time. In 1777, George Washington suffered defeat to the British and was forced to leave Philadelphia undefended. (He would winter in Valley Forge, which allowed for the 9 month occupation of British...