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American Spirit

The United States of America, a land characterised by its diverse geography and vibrant cultural tapestry, plays host to an equally varied and dynamic spirits industry. The journey through the nation’s distilling history unfolds stories of ingenuity, rebellion, innovation, and the undying pursuit of crafting excellent spirits, permeating through various types, regions, and epochs.

Historical Roots

American distillation dates back to the colonial era, with rum initially being a prevalent spirit, notably in the New England region. However, as settlers moved inland and the availability of different grains increased, whiskey started to gain prominence. The infamous Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 encapsulates early tension around taxation and regulation of the spirit.


Kentucky, often hailed as the heartland of Bourbon, crafts this corn-dominant whiskey with a minimum of 51% corn and ages it in new charred oak barrels, abiding by legal production standards. Notable brands like Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, and Wild Turkey hail from here, collectively carving out a stellar global reputation for American whiskey.

Rye Whiskey and Pennsylvania's Legacy

Rye whiskey, with its spicier and fruitier profile compared to Bourbon, carries a significant historical weight, especially in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Michter’s and Dad’s Hat are among the brands reviving the traditionally robust Pennsylvania-style rye.


Moonshine, unofficially branded as the spirit of rebellion and crafted traditionally under clandestine conditions, comes with a raw, potent character. While illegal moonshine operations are historical, legitimate distilleries now produce a legal version, with Ole Smoky being a widely recognised brand.

American Gin

America's approach to gin, while respectful to its juniper-forward British counterpart, offers a more experimental experience. American gins, like those from Aviation, often spotlight local botanicals and a generally lighter, more citrusy palate.


Although not originating from the USA, vodka found a welcoming market in the country. American brands, such as Tito’s Handmade, have garnered substantial acclaim for their smooth and mixable expressions.

Rum in the USA

While rum originates from outside the US, it’s worth noting its impact on the country's spirits industry. Domestic production and adaptations of these spirits, with rum distilleries sprouting notably in regions like Florida, display America’s knack for embracing and innovating upon external influences.

Craft Movement

The American craft spirits movement, especially in regions like Oregon, California, and New York, mirrors a philosophy of quality, locality, and small-batch production. Distilleries like Brooklyn’s Kings County have become emblematic of this wave, marrying traditional methods with innovative approaches.

Celebrating Excellence

American spirits have been consistently recognised on global platforms. For instance, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, one of the most influential spirits competitions globally, has awarded numerous American distilleries across various categories, underscoring the country’s prowess in spirit production.The spectrum of American spirits seamlessly blends the historic with the contemporary, offering a window into the nation's resilience, innovative spirit, and adherence to quality. From the historically rich bourbon and rye whiskey production to the modern craft distillery movement, America’s spirit production tells a tale of traditions, revolutions, and a perpetual journey towards excellence.

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