It's retro, handmade, local, sustainable and pricey. Seems like a winning combination.
And suddenly it is.
Across the nation, entrepreneurs are jumping on the craft distillery wagon, joining small and large corporations in the fine art of whiskey-making.
Why the boom? There's increased appreciation for whiskey and the new types of whiskies being sold: Jim Beam's Red Stag, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey, Wild Turkey's American Honey and Sazerac's Fireball Cinnamon Whisky have helped broaden the spirit's appeal.
Today's distillery fever means you don't have to venture into traditional whiskey strongholds for a tour and tasting. Here's a look at a few places to go for samples. Just remember to bring a designated driver.
Distillery Row, Portland, Ore.: Six independent distilleries have staked out territory in southeast Portland and are making handcrafted, locally distilled spirits. They offer 20 liquors, including whiskeys, rums, vodkas, gins, absinthes and flavored liqueurs. Each distillery is open on weekends for drop-in tastings; there are also behind-the-scenes tours and tour packages of the row. (See website for individual addresses and phone numbers, www.distilleryrowpdx.com.)
St. George Spirits, Alameda, Calif.: This whiskey-maker near San Francisco calls itself "America's original craft distillery." It originally produced fruit brandies, but now offers artisanal whiskeys. Tours provide an overview of the production area; tastings include a selection of six spirits, all made onsite. Call for reservations. (2601 Monarch St., Alameda;  769-1601, www.stgeorgespirits.com)
Stranahan's, Denver: The next time you're in Denver, drop by Stranahan's, one of the first Colorado-born whiskeys. This 94-proof, small-batch whiskey-maker offers a guided stroll through its production brew house, still house, rack house and bottling room floor, plus a taste of Stranahan's hand-crafted Colorado. (2005 Kalamath St., Denver;  296-7440, stranahans.com)
Woodinville Whiskey Co., Washington: More than 95% of world's bourbon is produced in Kentucky; Washington-based Woodinville Whiskey Co. is one of the few bourbon bottlers outside that state. It has won awards for its Age Your Own kit, which sells for $149 and includes two bottles of un-aged White Dog, plus an aging barrel. Its weekend tours are low-key: "We're always eager to meet new friends and show off our distillery and the flavorful spirits we produce." (14509 Woodinville Redmont Road N.E., Woodinville;  486-1199, www.woodinvillewhiskeyco.com)