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Bartenders Tell Us The Local Distilleries They’re Supporting During The Lockdown

Though many of us are spending much (if not all) of our days confined to our homes, we’re still trying our best help out our local bars, restaurants, distilleries, and breweries. By now, you know that all “non-essential” businesses have either been forced to shutter altogether or are only offering delivery and pick up options. This is impacting businesses all over the US in a major way. If this outbreak lasts for months, many of our favorite purveyors of spirits and beer will be out of business for good.

That’s why right now it’s vitally important to support our local brands as much as we can possibly manage. Sure, your list of “must-haves” is heavy on hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and bread. But maybe you should throw in a six-pack of locally brewed beer or a bottle of locally distilled whiskey to your next supply order.

Even though they’re mostly stuck at home, many bartenders are still doing their part to support the distilleries in their areas. To find out who they’re helping, we asked a handful of bartenders to tell us the local distilleries they’re supporting during the lockdown.

Bully Boy Distillers (Boston)

James Arensault, director of food & beverage at Harbor View Hotel on Martha’s Vineyard

I am currently and always support Bully Boy Distillers in Boston. I’m a fan of their whiskeys and growing selection of rums, gins, and vodkas. They even make a bottled old fashioned that’s perfect for quarantine drinking.

Callwood Distillery (Cane Garden Bay, British Virgin Islands)

Everson Rawlings, mixologist at Scrub Island Resort Spa and Marina in the British Virgin Islands

Callwood Distillery. It’s been open for over 400 years and still operating. It is a small handcraft operation, the smoothness and the texture work well for desserts, caramelization, and signature cocktails.

TOPO Organic Spirits (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)

Scott Daniel, bartender at The Ballantyne in Charlotte, North Carolina

We are supporting distilleries from all over North Carolina, ranging from Durham Distillery and TOPO Organic Spirits in Chapel Hill to even closer-to-home outfits such as Southern Artisan Spirits in Kings Mountain and Doc Porter’s Distillery here in Charlotte. Our pastry chefs at Gallery Restaurant are currently featuring Queen Charlotte’s Reserve Rum from Belmont’s Muddy River Distillery to give the ladyfingers in their signature Queen Charlotte dessert a boozy boost. We’re doing our best to support as many distilleries as possible during these strange times.

Dakota Spirits (Pierre, South Dakota)

Zac Johnson, general manager with JJ’s Wine, Spirits, and Cigars in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

I’m supporting Dakota Spirits out of Pierre, South Dakota, and Glacial Lakes located in Watertown, South Dakota. I’m still anxiously awaiting the opening of a distillery in Sioux Falls. Maybe after the quarantine one will open up.

Bulrush Gin (Powdersville, South Carolina)

Brandon Carter, chef at FARM in Bluffton, South Carolina

I’m supporting Bulrush Gin. I like to support people that I like. Tony’s a real good dude and his gin is super tasty too. Try the bourbon barrel-aged if you can find it.

Leopold Brothers (Denver)

Sebastien Derbomez, brand advocacy manager of William Grant & Sons

I really enjoy what the team at Leopold Bros in Denver is doing; their liqueur selection is super tasty. Their Michigan tart cherry liqueur is a great addition to many cocktails. It’s easy to support a distillery like Leopold Brothers during this crisis.

Balcones Distilling (Waco, Texas)

Jon Joseph, bartender at JL Bar Ranch, Resort & Spa in Sonora, Texas

This list could go on and on due to so many spirits and beer being made around the state at a high quality. Being out in the middle of nowhere, what is local to us? This question we have asked ourselves and decided that all of Texas is considered local. We’re always supporting Texas-made spirits from Balcones and Garrison Brothers.

Tropical Distillers (Jacksonville, Florida)

Hayden Miller, head bartender at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami, Florida

J.F. Haden’s Mango from Tropical Distillers is in the workings of a new cocktail. They strive to support local sourcing of natural mangoes. The result is a simple, solid product — a huge plus.

Still Hollow Spirits (Harman, West Virginia)

Nicole Quist, beverage director at Bartaco in Aventura, Florida

I’m based out of Northern Virginia and have stumbled upon a gem of a distillery in West Virginia – Still Hollow. All small batch production, local grain. Be on the lookout for more from them soon. At Bartaco, with our emphasis on agave spirits, we don’t always get to work with local distilleries, thus our support for local breweries. When we can, we do, and we’ve found a great partner in Jack Rabbit Hill Farm in Western Colorado. Excited to get to some South Florida distilleries later this year.

Seven Three Distilling Co (New Orleans)

Alan Walter, spirits handler at Bar Loa in New Orleans

At Bar Loa, we enjoy the Seven Three Distilling Co. in New Orleans. Their spirits pay tribute to the different neighborhoods of New Orleans. The gin is truly world-class. Balden Vodka, also in New Orleans, has a less filtered European style vodka that is delicious.