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Micro-boom: U.S. craft distilleries elevating American spirits

May 3, 2013


Source: CBS News

The U.S. craft distillery industry has undergone record-level growth in recent years. Craft distilleries, also called micro-distilleries have more than doubled in two years and the sector has grown from just 50 distilleries in operation in 2005 to over 250 operating across 45 states in 2012, according to the American Distilling Institute.

Sales of whiskey have increased 30 percent over the last decade and Clay Risen, the author of "American Whiskey, Bourbon, and Rye," likens the rise of craft spirits to the explosion of craft beer that began in the late 1990s.

Still, Risen insists that unlike beer -- which can be brewed in several weeks -- craft distillers struggle to balance maintaining the unique process behind their high quality product and keeping up with demand.

"If you're making particularly an aged whiskey, you're talking about a couple of years before you even know if you did it right, let alone whether it's good enough to sell," Risen told CBS News' Jeff Glor.

Tennessee-based distiller Darek Bell echoed Risen, saying "unfortunately we're not" able to keep up with demand.

Darek Bell runs the five-year-old Corsair distillery in Nashville, Tennessee, says his unique approach to spirits -- whiskey made from quinoa and pumpkin-spiced moonshine -- has helped to shake up the liquor industry.

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To read more visit CBS News.


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