Guide To Massachusetts Distilleries & Spirits

April 10, 2014 6:15 AM

With the oldest working commercial distillery in Massachusetts dating back to just 1997, many people don’t realize that the state’s commercial distilling history is rich, dating back to pre-Revolutionary War times. In fact, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society, John Adams credited molasses (the main ingredient in rum) with helping usher in American independence. The local industry brought wealth in the 1700s, when Boston was home to more than 25 distilleries and Massachusetts was the country’s leading rum exporter. It brought tragedy when, in 1919, a tank owned by US Industrial Alcohol/Purity Distilling Company ruptured, sending a massive 2.3 million gallon molasses wave gushing into the streets of the North End. The Great Molasses Flood killed 21 people.Fast forward to 2014, and a handful of craft distilleries have begun tapping back into a long-rooted tradition here in Massachusetts. Here is a list of the distilleries and what they make.

(Photo from Bully Boy Distillers/Facebook)

(Photo from Bully Boy Distillers/Facebook)

Bully Boy Distillers
Boston
www.bullyboydistillers.com

Bully Boy is a small batch distiller in Boston. The market an award-winning white rum, a Boston rum, vodka, award-winning white whiskey, and an American straight whiskey.

Triple Eight Distillery
Nantucket
ciscobrewers.com/distillery

This shared venture by Cisco Brewers and Nantucket Vineyards dates all the way back to 1997, making it the oldest working distillery in Massachusetts. They produce five kinds of vodka and flavored vodka, gin, rum, liquers, bourbon and a single malt whiskey.

(Photo from Damnation Alley Distillery/Facebook)

(Photo from Damnation Alley Distillery/Facebook)

Damnation Alley Distillery
Belmont
www.damnationalleydistillery.com

Damnation Alley Distillery opened up shop in 2011. The distillery makes three types of vodka, one of which is flavored. They produce three white whiskeys; barley, wheat and a house whiskey made from barley, corn, rye and wheat. In addition, puts out aged (3-6 months) bourbons, ryes and single malts.

Privateer International
Ipswich
privateerrum.com

An ancestor of the distillery’s founder was a merchant and rum distiller. Keeping with family tradition, they focus on rum. There’s an American amber rum, an award-winning silver rum and a gin.

Nashoba Valley Spirits
Bolton
www.nashobawinery.com/spirits

Part of the Nashoba Valley Winery and fruit orchards, this distillery puts out specialties like apple pear, peach and cherry brandies. It also whips up vodka, single malt whiskey, grappa, gin and a cognac-type spirit.

(Photo from Grandten Distilling/Facebook)

(Photo from Grandten Distilling/Facebook)

Grandten Distilling
Boston
www.grandten.com

Grandten in South Boston makes small batch gin, vodka and Irish whiskey along with a handful of liqueurs.

Ryan and Wood Distilleries
Gloucester
www.ryanandwood.com

Ryan and Wood produce an oak-aged rum. In addition, they make a vodka, gin and a rye whiskey.

(Photo from Turkey Shore Distilleries/Facebook)

(Photo from Turkey Shore Distilleries/Facebook)

Turkey Shore Distilleries
Ipswich
www.turkeyshoredistilleries.com

Keeping with the North Shore’s roots in the rum trade (including in name), Turkey Shore offers an assortment of (mostly award-winning) rums, from white to amber and spiced rum.

Berkshire Mountain Distilleries
Great Barrington
berkshiremountaindistillers.com

Around since 2007, Berkshire Mountain makes rum, vodka, and gin (all of which are award-winning), a limited edition gin, a bourbon and a New England corn whiskey. Completely unrelated, founder/Owner/Distiller Chris Weld is the nephew of former Massachusetts Governor William Weld.