Best U.S. Destinations for Craft Spirits

Craft distilleries give you a chance to get to know the local flavor of the destination you’re visiting.

That’s why Travelocity has teamed up with the American Distilling Institute to create the world’s first Craft Spirits Tourism Index, pointing out the top 20 spots in America for enjoying craft spirits.

The index, which breaks down the top 10 large metro areas (population of more than 1 million) and small metro areas (population of less than 1 million) for craft distilleries, is based off several different factors.

Related: America's Coolest Distilleries

These include the number of craft distilleries per 1 million residents, the number of award-winning spirits from the institute’s “Best of Category” for the 2015 and 2016 Spirit Competition in each metro area, how close the distilleries are to one another, how friendly state laws are for craft brewers and their customers, how accessible they are by air, and how affordable lodging is.

cotton and reed back bar
cotton and reed back bar

The destinations on the list are home to spots like Rowhouse Spirits in Philadelphia, where you’ll find spirits flavored with everything from caraway and dill to fennel, and San Diego's Old Harbor Distilling, where you can get an energy boost with eclectic spirits like their cold brew coffee rum.

rowhouse spirits
rowhouse spirits

You can also stop in for drinks at destinations like Cotton and Reed, which is known today as Washington, D.C.'s first rum distillery.

Take a look at the top picks below.

Top 10 Large Metro Areas:

1. Seattle, Washington

2. Portland, Oregon

3. Denver, Colorado

4. Washington, D.C.

5. San Diego, California

6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

7. Austin, Texas

8. Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

9. St. Louis, Missouri

10. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Top 10 Small Metro Areas:

1. Corvallis, Oregon

2. Wenatchee, Washington

3. Kingston, New York

4. Boulder, Colorado

5. San Luis Obispo, California

6. Mount Vernon/Anacortes, Washington

7. Fort Collins, Colorado

8. Bend, Oregon

9. Glens Falls, New York

10. Santa Rosa/Petaluma, California

America has long had a history with craft distilleries, according to Eric Zandona of the Americna Distilling Institute, who said in a press release that in 1880, the country was home to more than 5,000 distilleries that were mostly composed of small local spirit producers.

While that number had dropped drastically by 1980 due to factors like market consolidation and long-lingering effects of the Prohibition, the industry finally saw a resurgence a few years later.

“In 1982, the American craft spirits industry was reborn and over the next three decades grew to over 1,000 small distilleries spread across the country,” Zandona said in the release. “Today, the industry is thriving and the number of craft distilleries is on pace to double in the next three to five years."