William Goldberg, owner and distiller at Oak and Grist Distilling Company in Black Mountain, discusses his products.
To most, “Appalachian liquor,” conjures images of bootleg stills churning out illicit white lightning. But the Asheville area is poised to become a white-hot center for craft cocktail spirits.
In particular, locally made gin is about to experience a boom. And there’s a reason for that. With few restrictions on its botanical makeup beyond juniper, the liquor lends itself well to a signature style.
That’s attractive to a fledgling company looking to make its mark in a burgeoning industry. Locally, at least four new distilleries have recently opened or are planning to open in the coming months, more than tripling the number of Asheville distilleries in 2015, from two to seven. Each has their own version of gin — and all have other liqueurs and liquors in the works.
“Gin is having an explosion right now,” said James Donaldson, co-owner of the Apothecary Beverage Company, which has a distillery called The Chemist and a separate but adjacent bar, Antidote, under construction on Coxe Avenue, next to Wicked Weed’s Funkatorium. “Based on different botanicals, and how much juniper we can put in, it can be really diverse.”
The bar is slated for a summer opening. Later, the distillery will release its first batch of open-flame distilled botanically…
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