In the Spirit – Connecticut Craft Distilleries to Tour and Taste Last Updated 2/17
Photo: Hartford Flavor Company, Hartford
Winter is the perfect time to come out and discover Connecticut’s growing number of craft distilleries, which are turning heads and winning awards from those in the know. Even more exciting, many of these distillers offer on-site tours and tasting experiences, like vineyards and breweries do. You’ll find many of them on the new Connecticut Spirits Trail, and be sure to visit these places that are already crafting a name for themselves.
Taste Award-Winning Liqueurs
Hartford Flavor Company, Hartford
The Hartford Flavor Company’s award-winning Wild Moon Liqueurs are a ground-breaking line of all-natural, botanically-infused liqueurs, unlike anything else currently on the market. Their Birch flavor has been named among a 50-state lineup of most unique spirits, while their Rose and Chai Spice flavors have won silver medals in New York World Spirits Competition. Located next door to Real Art Ways, Hartford’s cutting edge art and film destination, the Hartford Flavor Company makes its home in a restored manufacturing building where the first pay telephones were made. Today this innovative space houses not only the distillery, but several other artisans, craftsmen, and small businesses as well.
Sip Moonshine in a Speakeasy
Onyx Spirits Company, East Hartford
Housed in an old (and possibly haunted) Wonderbread factory with train tracks that come right down the middle of the building, Onyx features a unique speakeasy-themed tasting room accessed through a hidden bookcase doorway, a tribute to the founder’s family history during prohibition. Visitors can taste the entire line of products, from the smoother than smooth Onyx Moonshine to Secret Stash Whiskey, Connecticut’s first whiskey, as well as weekly infusions featuring fresh, home-grown ingredients and herbs. The 2,000 square foot tasting room can accommodate large groups, private events and dinners.
Local Flavor on the Shoreline
Asylum Distillery, Bridgeport
The first distillery to open in Bridgeport (and Fairfield County) since January of 1919, the Prohibition era of the 18th Amendment (which Connecticut never ratified), Asylum Distillery produces craft, small batch gin, vodka and corn whiskey using high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients from grain to bottle. With the motto "Distilling the Spirit of Connecticut”, locally owned and operated Asylum invites consumers to share the experience of transforming non-GMO, Connecticut-grown grains into high quality spirits, and to sample the nuances of taste and aroma that separate a good spirit from an amazing, deep and complex spirit. Their Asylum Gin, Asylum Vodka and smooth-tasting Asylum Corn whisky are top sellers, with an aged corn whiskey joining the line-up before the end of 2016.
Sample a Batch in the Litchfield Hills
Litchfield Distillery, Litchfield
Connecticut’s newest micro-distillery, the Litchfield Distillery makes its home in an old knitting factory in the state’s northwestern hills. Specializing in exceptionally distilled spirits handcrafted from the highest quality, regionally harvested grains and ingredients, their “Batchers’” series includes five handcrafted, premium spirits: Bourbon Whiskey, Double Barreled Bourbon Whiskey, Bourbon Whiskey Port Cask Finish, Vodka and Gin. The Bourbon and Gin were awarded silver medals in the 2016 World Spirits competition. Join a tour to experience first-hand the batching process from farm to bottle.
Perfect Bloody Marys in Bloomfield
Waypoint Spirits, Bloomfield
With almost 11,000 sq. ft. of space in Bloomfield that includes a contemporary tasting room open to the public, manufacturing area and unique event space, Waypoint Spirits passionately craft distills vodka, gin, whiskey, and rum using locally sourced grains and botanicals. Their Labrador Noon Spicy XIII Bloody Mary flavored vodka is the only Bloody Mary flavored vodka on the market. Infused with 13 fresh spices and ingredients, just add tomato juice for an instantly great Bloody Mary. In fact, Waypoint Spirits’ Labrador Noon Vodka recently won a silver medal for best grain to glass craft vodka at the 2016 American Distilling Institute's annual spirits competition.
Uncover a Craft Revolution Along the Connecticut Spirits Trail
The Connecticut Spirits Trail includes fine craft spirits makers from all parts of the state, producing everything from clear spirits such as gins, vodkas and moonshines to brown spirits such as whiskies and rums, and specialty items like liqueurs and eau-de-vies. Visit the website to find tours and tasting opportunities and learn more about the Connecticut Spirits Trail passport.