National Craft Distillery Day is celebrated annually on May 22. It raises a toast to the unique and new brews created by small-batch distilleries. The holiday also recognizes the diversity of distilled spirits and how they can be made more readily available. It is for anyone who loves a tall drink of craft alcohol.
History of National Craft Distillery Day
Spirit distillation is hardly a new industry. Rather, it has a long and rich history and began during the times of the ancient Greeks. The earliest recorded wine distilling recipes can be traced to Anaxilaus of Thessaly. The Greeks took Anaxilaus’s idea and made it their own. Over time, they learned that if they boiled wine in an open container, the hot — but wildly intoxicating — alcohol vapor escaped first. So, they began capturing the vapor, which was almost as well-liked by drinkers as the wine itself.
The wine was slowly heated in a vessel with a small mouth covered by a bowl, and the alcohol collected as condensed vapor inside the bowl. To this setup, a downward-slanted tube was added. The vapor was cooled and collected in the receiving vessel. That’s what we mean by “distill.” The word comes from the Latin verb ‘destillare,’ which means “to drip down.” This process was refined over the centuries until we could get wines like Dom Perignon.
Craft breweries emerged in the 1990s. However, today’s small craft distilleries provide alternatives to the drinks produced by large commercial distilleries. They produce all kinds of spirits — from gin and whiskey to bourbon, rum, and vodka. Craft distillers often add unique flavor to their products with locally sourced ingredients, such as hints of ginger, the tartness of lemons, or traces of cinnamon. As a result, what started as a niche industry now has consumers all over the globe. And as demands for unique spirits grow, more distilleries are producing one-of-a-kind craft spirits.
National Craft Distillery Day timeline
The craft beer movement picks up steam.
Distilleries begin selling craft drinks in markets.
Small-batch distilleries start producing drinks other than beer.
Around 7,200 breweries pop up in the U.S.
National Craft Distillery Day FAQs
What state has the most craft distilleries?
New York, California, and Washington have the highest number of craft distilleries, at a minimum of 122 establishments in each state as of 2019.
What are craft spirits?
Craft spirits are defined as producers making 750,000 gallons or fewer each year. A larger distillery can’t control them, and they agree to follow the association’s code of ethics.
What is the definition of a craft distillery?
The American Craft Spirits Association defines a craft distillery as follows: A distillery that values the importance of transparency in distilling and remains forthcoming regarding its use of ingredients, its distilling location and process, bottling location and process, and the aging process is known as a craft distillery.
National Craft Distillery Day Activities
Celebrate with a drink
You can’t celebrate National Craft Distillery Day without pouring yourself a tall drink of your favorite craft spirit. Sit back and unwind after a long day with your favorite drink on this holiday!
Visit a distillery
Ever wondered how your favorite craft drink is distilled? Get all your questions answered by visiting a craft distillery on National Craft Distillery Day. Many distilleries organize events and taste tests on this holiday, so you can get your pick.
Make your own
Rise to the challenge of distilling your own drinks and try your hand at it on National Craft Distillery Day. You could take a distilling workshop or learn from an online tutorial — there are a lot of options!
5 Surprising Facts About Alcohol
Our brain reacts to alcohol quickly
It takes six minutes for our brain to react to alcohol.
Alcohol isn’t as popular as you think
About 48% of adults worldwide claim to have never tasted alcohol.
Russians drink the highest quantity of alcohol
On average, a Russian drinks almost five gallons of alcohol annually.
Milkshakes weren’t always children’s drinks
A few decades ago, milkshakes contained small quantities of alcohol.
A lot of grapes in red wine
It takes approximately 600 grapes to produce one bottle of red wine.
Why We Love National Craft Distillery Day
It has a long history
Humans have perfected the art of brewing and distilling over many centuries. National Craft Distillery Day celebrates our long love for delicious drinks.
It supports local business
Most craft drinks are locally brewed, and distilleries use locally sourced ingredients in their drinks. As a result, they find it difficult to sell their products in large markets. National Craft Distillery Day supports local breweries and businesses by allowing them to call attention to their distinct brews.
It’s a great way to unwind
Since no National Craft Distillery Day celebration is complete without sharing a drink or two with your friends, this is a great holiday to get together and unwind. Remind yourself of the joys of good company and excellent drinks!
National Craft Distillery Day dates