photo of bottles of whiskey displayed alongside a glass version of the American Whiskey Convention logo

Here’s a list of Pennsylvania whiskey distilleries (and a few stories too)

Pennsylvania was once the country’s largest producer of whiskey, and rye whiskey was its showcase.

I wrote about this history and the Pennsylvania rye renaissance for NPR affiliate WHYY and its Billy Penn news site. I am personally fascinated by this trend and its history. A couple years back, ahead of the American Whiskey Convention, I found an angle that made sense to be published on Generocity.org, the nonprofit industry news site my company publishes. This year as the convention returned, I felt like I’d be stretching our editorial focus to force another story. Instead I asked friend and Billy Penn editor Danya Henninger if she was interested. Thanks much to Danya for a thorough edit on what I delivered her. Turns out I’m a far more experienced business and economics reporter than I am culture.

I have written here about my relationship to alcohol, and specifically how I’ve come to most enjoy whiskey. Heck, I even have opinions about what cups should be used for what liquid. But this was something else: a chance to begin putting to work the years of my tracking an industry in change.

Do read the story. Here I thought I’d share a few stories I’ve had squirreled away and maintain a list of Pennsylvania whiskey distilleries (because I suspect this will keep growing and I don’t want to annoy Danya anymore with updates). Find both below.

Here are a few notes on Pennsylvania whiskey:

  • Philadelphian Benjamin Rush complained about Scots-Irish distillers on the Pennsylvania frontier in the 1780s, stating, “The quantity of rye destroyed and of whiskey drunk in these places is immense, and its effects upon their industry, health and morals are terrible.”
  • By 1814, we see newspaper ads showing off about aging benefits of American whiskey. Kentucky being distant from New Orleans markets showed aging in barrels did a thing; Philadelpia was too close to market to find that value
  • Philadelphia was a major commercial hub, including backwoods whiskey.
  • On June 30, 1869, a raid was made on unlicensed distilleries in the Twenty-Fifth Ward of Kensington.
  • Philadelphia had quite the Prohibition reputation, like other big U.S. cities
  • In 1933, Fortune reported on the South Philadelphia distillery of Publicker, aiming to offer 17-year distilled whiskey in 24 hours, the cleaner chemical future. The address was 3229 South Delaware Ave. Carl Haner form Publicker had the recipe for 24-hour aging whiskey
  • In 1980, whiskey fell below 50 percent of alcohol sales for first time in American history; rise of whites (vodka gin and hanged tequila and rum) surged post prohibition and World War II

Here’s every Pennsylvania whiskey distillery I know:

  1. 1675 Spirits (Bucks County)
  2. Altered State Distillery (Erie County) — produces a rye
  3. Barley Creek (Monroe County)
  4. Barrel 21 Distillery (Centre County) — produces a rye
  5. BlueBird Distilling (Chester County) — produces a rye
  6. Boardroom Spirits (Montgomery County) — produces a rye
  7. Brandywine Branch Distillery (Chester County) — produces a rye
  8. Chicken Hill Distillery (Elk County)
  9. CJ Spirits (McKean County) — produces a rye
  10. Cooper Spirits (Philadelphia) — produces a rye
  11. County Seat Spirits (Lehigh County) — produces a rye
  12. Crostwater Distilled Spirits (York County) — produces a rye
  13. Dad’s Hat Rye (Bucks County) — produces a rye
  14. Dead Lightning Distilled Spirits (Cumberland County)
  15. Disobedient Spirits (Indiana County)
  16. Eight Oaks Distillery (Lehigh County) — produces a rye
  17. Five Saints Distilling (Montgomery County)
  18. Hazard’s Distillery (Juniata County)
  19. Hewn Spirits (Bucks County) — produces a rye
  20. Hidden Still Spirits  (Dauphin County) — produces a rye
  21. Hughes Bros Distilling (Bedford County) — produces a rye
  22. Hungry Run Distillery (Mifflin County)
  23. Lakehouse Distilling (Franklin County) — produces a rye
  24. Liberty Pole Spirits (Washington County) — produces a rye
  25. Lucky Sign Spirits (Allegheny County) — produces a rye
  26. Midstate Distillery (Dauphin County) — produces a rye
  27. Nomad Distilling (Lycoming County)
  28. New Liberty Distillery (Philadelphia) — produces a rye
  29. Manatawny Still Works (Berks County and Philadelphia)
  30. Mason Dixon (Adams County)
  31. Pennsylvania Distilling (Chester County) — produces a rye
  32. Red Brick Distillery (Philadelphia)
  33. Silverback Distillery (Monroe County) — produces a rye
  34. Stoll and Wolfe (Lancaster County) — produces a rye
  35. Strivers’ Row Distillery (Philadelphia)
  36. Thistle Finch Distillery (Lancaster County) — produces a rye
  37. Wigle Whiskey (Pittsburgh) — produces a rye