Thanks to loosening laws, more and more Florida craft distillers have opened shop over the last few years. Here are a few based near Opal destinations.
Ever since the Florida legislature changed the rules back in 2013 so that small-scale Florida distilleries would be exempt from restrictive regulations meant for larger distilleries, there has been an explosion of innovation and creativity that has been a boon to craft liquor drinkers across the Sunshine State. We share a few of our favorites.
Cotherman Distilling Co. [Dunedin, FL]
Located just six miles north of Clearwater Beach in a former plumbing warehouse off the beaten path, this husband-and-wife-run distillery specializes in a “single malt” vodka made from 100 percent malted barley (called the 727 Vodka) and their recently released vapor-infused Half Mine Gin. Tours of the production process (including samplings in their garage-door punctuated tasting room) are just $10 and include a sneak peek at their latest venture: a whiskey made from unhopped and unboiled beer.
Kozuba & Sons Distillery [St. Petersburg, FL]
In 2016, Poland’s first privately owned micro-distillery – run by a trio of father and sons – relocated stateside to St. Peterbsurg’s Warehouse Arts District to reinvent their operation in an old 1950s icehouse. Today, the gleaming renovated building features a tasting room decked in prohibition-inspired murals and a big, beautiful bar where – after a $10 tour of their copper distilling equipment – you’ll sample all their small-batch spirits: wheat vodka, rye malt whiskey, barrel-aged vodka, white whiskey, and two cordials.
Fat Dog Spirits [Tampa, FL]
Started by three lifelong friends in 2016, this small batch craft distiller produces a premium gluten-free and organic vodka line that includes vodka made from local Florida ingredients, including honey, key lime, orange, and grapefruit. But the product people are buzzing about as of right now is their new Nirvana 420 – a vodka made from hemp seeds just released this past April 20th. Tours of their facility are not currently offered, but you can find the Touch Vodka Line in local liquor stores.
St. Petersburg Distillery [St. Petersburg, FL]
It’s all about the process at St. Petersburg Distillery. From the water to the grains to the spices and botanicals, every component and step is carefully weighed and considered, because they know that’s what makes their signature spirits so distinct. Their Old St. Pete brand, with classic nineteenth-century graphic flourishes on the labels, includes a rum (“a full, rich, vanilla aroma”), gin (“fruity…hints of juniper”), whiskey (“complex aroma of vanilla and sweet corn sweetness…and fruity apple notes”), and vodka (“light vanilla sweetness with subtle notes of rye bread and black pepper”). Tours are by appointment only.
Drum Circle Distillery [Sarasota, FL]
Drum Circle Distillery is known for its award-winning small-batch rums, but the best part of the distillery’s hour-long tour is getting to try some of the experimental unreleased blends, such as Christmas spice or banana rum, at their cedar and cypress tasting bar.
Black Coral Rum [Riviera Beach, FL]
Owned and operated by a Royal Palm Beach native and his father, Palm Beach County’s only rum distillery opened in 2014 along Riviera Beach (just 12 miles south of Jupiter). The small batches are distilled in handcrafted, custom-fabricated equipment, aged in charred white oak barrels, then flavored with all-natural ingredients like Madagascar vanilla beans – without the addition of any artificial ingredients, thickening agents, or added sugar. Plus, they donate $1 from every bottle sold to organizations supporting US veterans. Find their products in any local liquor store.