Look out breweries, here come Maine distilleries. There are 70 of you, and only a dozen spirit makers, but they are gaining fast.
From Gouldsboro to York, 12 craft distilleries are laying down the shot glasses to give us a taste of what brewers have known for years: Mainers have a thirst for local libations. On Thursday the first Maine Distillery Trail launched. Cue the designated driver.
View the map at www.mainedistillersguild.org and let the tour begin. From established outfits like Sweetgrass Farm Winery in Union, to newer distilleries like Wiggly Bridge in York, to nano makers like Round Turn in Biddeford to just-opened urban offerings such as Stroudwater on Portland’s Thompson’s Point party block, this trail is marked by distinctive new tastes.
At Split Rock in Newcastle you can try organic blueberry and horseradish vodka (which we highly recommend). Made in a reclaimed barn, the state’s only organic outfit (handily located on US Route 1) has tourists making a detour.
According to the newly established Maine Distiller’s Guild, there are “over 50 different products, ranging from popular whiskies and vodka to more obscure herbal spirits such as absinthe and fernet. If there is a particular type of spirit that you prefer, chances are you can find a locally made version.”
Like hard copy? Pick up a map at participating distilleries like Tree Spirits in Oakland and in Brewer at the home of Twenty2 Vodka. Though not on the map yet, Hardshore Distilling Co. on Portland’s gentrifying Washington Avenue is days away from opening. Go off-trail for this one!