Kentucky is famous worldwide for its many distilleries with legendary brands such as Jim Beam, Makers Mark and Wild Turkey. Most offer cool factory tours and product samplings.
The Bluegrass State is so famous for distilleries that travel between these distillery tours has been pegged the “Ky Bourbon Trail,” with maps and brochures detailing how to get to and from each of them. The Ky Bourbon Trail has become quite famous, attracting tourists from all over America and the world.
Here in neighboring Ohio, we have our own little niche of distilleries brewing, straight-up, so to speak. Ohio is very well known for its numerous craft beer breweries but many are unaware it is also gaining ground as a top state of small-batch, “up and coming” start up “craft” distilleries. The Buckeye state now has a fast growing list of 27 distilleries.
Although the names are not nearly as famous as the Jim Beams and the Evan Williams, the spirits produced in Ohio are top quality, home-grown and the pride of the Buckeye state.
Buckeye Bourbon Belt Distillery Trail of Ohio
Ohio distillery tours will take you all over the state. These cool distillery tours, historical farm distillery tours and craft distillery tours are guaranteed to entertain and educate you. Tours usually include the actual tour itself of course, distillery tastings and opportunities to purchase the spirits you just tasted. Some even have dinning rooms and eateries. Typical tours last from 30 to 60 minutes and it’s always good to call ahead to check on availability.
With our growing list of 27 distilleries in Ohio, it’s probably about time we Buckeyes create and designate our own “distillery trail” and name it something we can be proud of that will attract tourists to come and visit.
So, I guess I’ll do the honors. How about we call It the “Buckeye Bourbon Belt Distillery Trail of Ohio?” That sounds pretty good, if I do say so myself and it about covers it all. Let’s go with that then.
Great Miami Distillery Trail & Tours
Believe it or not, of the 27 distillers in Ohio there are eight actually within about a 45-minute drive of the Urbana/Indian Lake region, which sort of makes this area the “melting pot” of local distilleries in the Miami Valley.
In fact, before Prohibition, grist mills and distilleries dotted the Miami Valley landscape. Spirits were distilled the old-fashioned way, with honest craftsmanship drawing from the area’s deep, mineral-rich water of the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer.
So, with that being said, I shall deem this area the “Great Miami Distillery Trail.”
Take a tour
OK, enough of the name calling and such. Now let’s get straight to it and get to know some of these very cool local area distilleries. These eight small batch, artisan and craft distilleries in our neck of the woods are really making a name for themselves. In fact they are also even impacting the local economies and tourism markets.
Discover the science and the art behind the craft of distilling. Meet the master distillers and see the behind the scenes making of fine spirits in Ohio.
Sometimes bigger is not always better. Check out your area small batch distilleries.
Staley Mill Farm & Indian Creek Distillery
This very cool artisan distillery is located in New Carlisle. Stillhouse tours are scheduled on Saturday’s at noon, 2, 4 and 6 p.m. Whiskey History tours are by reservation only. Visit the retail shop and their new tasting bar. Farm tours are also availability.
Flat Rock Spirits Stillwrights Distillery
This craft distillery in Fairborn makes straight bourbon whisky, moonshine and rum. Distillery tours are only $5.
S & G Artisan Distillery
This very popular Yellow Springs small-batch distillery is dedicated to fine spirits, exceptional schnapps and unusual liqueurs. Famous for their Apple Pie Moonshine, visit their tasting room in the Millright Center in downtown Yellow Springs.
This family-owned and operated distillery is located in the small city of Tipp City and as such can keep a close eye on quality and taste. Their line of fine liqueurs are produced from the best ingredients available. They opened their storefront in April of 2012 and the hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Middle West Spirits
This 16,000-square-foot open-air distillery located in Columbus serves as a spirits shop, a brand showcase, educational venue, and tasting room. They also offer a service bar/restaurant. One hour tours are offered on weekdays and weekends and are $10 per quest and include optional tasting flight of select OYO brands.
Middle West Spirits won Gold and Best Bourbon awards at the 2018 American Distilling Institute’s International Judging of Craft Spirits
Crystal Spirits (Buckeye Vodka)
Buckeye Vodka in Dayton was brought to market in 2011 and is the number one selling Ohio crafted vodka. It is distilled with an award-winning formulation in the rolling southwestern hills of Ohio. The superiority of the corn used to make Buckeye Vodka gives it its pleasing aroma and superb taste. The corn grown on the farms of Ohio and in the Midwest is considered better than any other place on earth.
Founded in 2010, this microdistillery in Columbus is the first distillery in Ohio to open with a restaurant on site, which by the way has a great view of the distillery. They offer a great walk-through tour of the distillation process from grain to bottle. Tours last approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes with plenty of time to purchase a bottle or souvenir.
Belle of Dayton Distillery (Dayton, Oregon District)
This cool distillery is located in downtown Dayton in the Oregon District. Brothers Murphy, Mike, and Tim LaSelle were lured by the century-old mystique of producing great liquor in the Miami Valley and formed their own artisan distillery in 2013. They have won national and international awards from top judges and critics across the world. Their products are available in many retailers in Ohio and throughout America.
Ron Brohm is a regular contributor to this newspaper.