According to the Craft Spirits Data Project, active craft distilleries in the United States increased by around 17% in 2022. So, consumers continue to enjoy plenty of options when it comes to selecting premium, American-made spirits.
To help narrow that field, we’re looking for the best craft and small-batch spirits producers – family-owned distilleries, grain-to-glass operations and distillers using only the best local ingredients in their products. We invited a panel of industry experts, as well as food and drink writers, to nominate their favorites in each category.
Now we need your help selecting the best whiskey, rum, vodka, gin, brandy, specialty spirits, craft mixers and canned cocktails, as well as the best tasting rooms and distillery tours in our annual Readers’ Choice Awards. Vote for your favorite once per day, per category until voting ends on Monday, May 15 at noon ET.
Click on each category below to vote:
Best Canned Cocktail Company
Canned cocktails make it easy to enjoy your favorite mixed drinks — Photo courtesy of iStock / S847
Ready-to-drink canned cocktails have exploded onto the scene in recent years, and the trend looks like it’s here to stay. These bartender-quality options run the gamut from classics, like a vodka soda or gin and tonic, to creative concoctions. The best part? They’re a convenient way to sip your favorite drink at the beach, a backyard barbecue or a holiday get-together.
Vote: Best Canned Cocktail Company »
Best Craft Brandy
The term “brandy” refers primarily to spirits distilled from wine — Photo courtesy of jeka1984 // Getty Images
Brandy is making a comeback in popularity, thanks partly to renewed interest in classic cocktail recipes. The term “brandy” refers primarily to spirits distilled from wine, and more broadly to spirits distilled from fruits (also called “eau de vie”). We asked a panel of travel and spirits experts to nominate their favorite American craft brandy distilleries, and now we need you to pick a winner.
Vote: Best Craft Brandy »
Best Craft Gin
Gin is distilled with an array of botanicals â not just juniper berries these days — Photo courtesy of Lara Hata // Getty Images
Gin gets its name from “genievre,” the French word for “juniper.” Popular worldwide, this spirit begins with a neutral base spirit distilled with an array of botanicals (no longer just juniper berries) to give it its distinct aroma and flavor profile.
We asked a panel of experts to nominate 20 of the best craft gin distilleries in the USA. Many of these work in small batches using locally sourced ingredients, some are family-owned and most distill their base spirits using a blend of traditional and modern techniques. All take pride in crafting unique gins worthy of sipping as well as mixing into a classic gin and tonic.
Vote: Best Craft Gin »
Best Craft Mixer Brand
Craft mixers elevate any craft cocktail — Photo courtesy of Kemal Yildirim // Getty Images
A great cocktail calls for great ingredients, and that applies to more than just the booze. The craft distilling movement has buoyed a similar wave of companies handcrafting their own lines of cocktail bitters, tonics, mixers, syrups and sipping vinegars, all with an eye toward elevating the cocktail experience.
We asked a panel of travel experts and American spirits experts to nominate their favorite craft mixers, and we need your help crowning a winner from our pool of nominees.
Vote: Best Craft Mixer Brand »
Best Craft Rum
Rum distilling first came to the U.S. during the 1600s — Photo courtesy of RyersonClark // Getty Images
Sugar cane plantations in the Caribbean began distilling rum during the 17th century from molasses, an inexpensive byproduct of the sugar refining process. The spirit came to the U.S. in 1664 with the opening of the first rum distillery on Staten Island and continued to grow in popularity through the Revolutionary War.
Rum has come a long way since those early days, and distilleries across the nation are experimenting with how to craft the finest variations. We asked a panel of travel experts and American spirits experts to nominate 20 of the best craft rum distilleries in the USA.
Vote: Best Craft Rum »
Best Craft Specialty Spirits
Specialty spirits are a fun break from the traditional — Photo courtesy of bhofack2 // Getty Images
Gin, vodka, rum and whiskey are all great, but the American thirst for craft spirits has grown beyond the bounds of the traditional to embrace specialty spirits from around the globe. Modern-day distilleries now craft liqueurs, absinthe, aquavit, amaro and a host of other libations alongside their flagship spirits.
Vote: Best Craft Specialty Spirits »
Best Craft Vodka
Craft vodka allows distillers’ creativity to shine — Photo courtesy of Jag_cz // Getty Images
Russia and Poland were distilling vodka as early as 1,200 years ago, and it has since become one of the world’s most popular spirits, thanks in large part to its versatility in mixing. But vodka doesn’t just belong in cocktails. While some distilleries compete to create the smoothest, clearest and sometimes most flavorless variation, others are embracing vodka by making it with local, high-quality ingredients (including potatoes, wheat, corn and even grapes) with minimal distillation to allow the natural flavors to shine.
Vote: Best Craft Vodka »
Best Craft Whiskey
The American craft whiskey scene continues to add new and exciting distillers — Photo courtesy of svera // Getty Images
The American craft whiskey scene has really come into its own in recent years, expanding beyond the traditional Tennessee and Kentucky bourbons to include ryes, single malts, blends and white whiskeys made with a combination of Old World and new school techniques.
We asked a panel of travel experts and American spirits experts to nominate 20 of the standout craft whiskey distilleries in the USA. Help us spotlight the best of the best by voting for your favorite nominee.
Vote: Best Craft Whiskey »
Best Craft Distillery Tour
Distillery tours take you behind the scenes, so you can see all of the work and skill that goes into making craft spirits — Photo courtesy of E+ / Portra
The only thing better than sipping your favorite craft whiskey or rum is getting a behind-the-scenes look at where it’s made. We asked a panel of travel experts and American spirits experts to nominate their favorite craft distillery tours in the country, and now we need you to choose a winner.
Vote: Best Craft Distillery Tour »
Best Spirits Tasting Room
Tasting rooms provide a nice location to sample old favorites and new releases — Photo courtesy of iStock / frantic00
Accompanying many of the country’s best distilleries are tasting rooms, offering enthusiasts a chance to sample a distillery’s wares onsite or close enough to it. Beyond the allure of the spirits themselves, many tasting rooms set themselves apart with an especially knowledgeable staff, compelling atmosphere, live music or an irresistible selection of food.
Our panel of experts have nominated 20 of the top spirits tasting rooms across the U.S., and now it’s your turn to honor the best of the best.
Vote: Best Spirits Tasting Room »
Remember, you can vote once per day in each category. The 10 nominees with the most votes in each category will be announced on 10Best.com on Friday, May 26.