The Associated Press has a good story on the trend, focusing on Tuthilltown Spirits in New York. Here are some key facts.
- They saw their chance in 2002, when New York introduced a new class of distilling license for small producers that carries a fee of $1,450, as opposed to $50,800 for the old license. (Woo! Let's move to New York!)
- "It took us about 2 1/2 years from a dead stop knowing nothing about it until 'We can turn this thing on and make alcohol,'" Erenzo said. (On the other hand, I don't have that kind of patience.)
- Small-scale distilleries like this were common in America before Prohibition wiped the slate clean. New York, for instance, now has only 16 licensed distillers, including some larger operations in New York City and wineries that specialize in fruit-based spirits like brandy and grappa.
- They are among some 90 craft distillers active nationwide, according to Bill Owens of the American Distilling Institute.
- Tuthilltown also rides the wave of the "buy local" movement. Their vodkas are made from local apples.