You don’t have to know anything about whiskey to impress your dad this year. And you don’t have to look to the Scots—because American whiskey is on the rise.
Established in 2016, the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission created standards for any whiskey made in the U.S. to be classified as “single malt.” These whiskeys must be made from 100 percent malted barley and distilled at one distillery located in the United States. Traditionally, corn and rye have dominated the U.S. whiskey scene, so the addition of single malt whiskey distilled using 100 percent malted barley represents new terrain for distillers and consumers.
American distillers produce a distinctive taste, often using locally sourced ingredients, and considering the impact of altitude and climate. A number of distillers come from the craft-brew culture, and this informs how they approach the distilling process, essentially following the exact process for brewing a beer, except for adding hops and then distilling the alcohol out of the beer.
Gifting American Single Malt Whiskey
“Giving a special bottle of whiskey to a loved one invites a shared experience, it’s not just handing over a gift,” says Kathy Humphrey, marketing director for Copperworks Distilling Company. “A gift of whiskey invites sitting down together with it, sipping and enjoying it over great conversation—a memorable thing to do with a loved one.”
For those looking to give a gift of this growing spirit for Father’s Day, here’s a few craft distillers producing American Single Malt Whiskey. Check with each distillery for a listing of states where they can ship their spirits.
Copperworks Distilling Company
Named “2018 Distillery of the Year” by the American Distilling Institute (ADI), Copperworks Distilling Company produces small batches of American Single Malt Whiskey in their Seattle, WA waterfront distillery. Other gift options for those in the Seattle area include a distillery tour or a deep dive into the nuances of whiskey making with one of their blending workshops.
Also in Seattle, Westland Distillery offers rotating cocktail flights, as well as traditional whiskey tastings of their three core expressions, along with small plates of locally sourced meats, cheese, and chocolate.
House Spirits Distillery
Moving south to Portland, Oregon, House Spirits Distillery offers a variety of options for sampling their Westward American Single Malt Whiskey. Take a Westward Whiskey-focused Distillery Tour, order a Westward Whiskey: Grain to Glass Flight, or participate in one of their monthly Cocktails 101 classes. Also, as part of Feast Portland, a celebration of the Pacific Northwest’s craft food and beverage culture, House Spirits will be offering a special class featuring an interactive tour of their whiskey-making process.
Bull Run Distillery
In addition to producing small batch “Oregon Single Malt Whiskey” available in Oregon and Washington State, Portland based Bull Run Distillery offers an “Old Fashioned” Bull Run Experience. This event includes a tour through their distillery followed by a tasting of whiskey-focused spirits and then customizing an Old Fashioned.
For over 10 years, Denver-based Stranahan’s has used their natural Colorado surroundings to make their single malt whiskey from only four ingredients: 100 percent malted barley, yeast, water and time in the barrel. The water actually comes from Rocky Mountain snow melt. Choose from Diamond Peak, Snowflake, Single Barrel and more.
Triple Eight Distillery
Cisco Brewers are the brains behind Triple Eight Distillery, which produces single malt whiskey on the island of Nantucket. And the fact that this whiskey matures on the island plays a big part in its appeal. During the maturation process, the whiskey is stored in wooden casks that are susceptible to the various weather patterns that impact the island: a combination of Polar Maritime (cool and moist) and Tropical Maritime (hot and humid). Stored in a ventilated warehouse, the barrels are washed over by the ocean breeze, which helps mature the spirits!
Celebrating at Whiskey Festivals
For a fun-loving Father’s Day gift, consider a ticket to a festival featuring craft spirits including American Single Malts. PROOF, held this year on July 7, at the Fremont Studios in Seattle, is an annual event sponsored by the Washington Distillers Guild. Attendees can interact with more than 40 Washington distillers and food from local restaurants. The Oregon Distillers Guild hosts a similar event annual event titled Toast that takes place in the spring.