The broader food movement, and in particular the local food movement (referred to as the locavore movement), has led to celebrity chefs, a rapid increase in farmers markets, the rise of urban farming and the growth of craft brewers.
So it comes as no surprise that artisan distillers (craft makers of spirits) are becoming more numerous.
I attended a Commonwealth Club meeting tonight that focused on Bay Area craft distillers. The description of the event was:
Bay Area craft distillers like St. George and Charbay drive the handcrafted cocktail scene, creating community-conscious and drinkably delicious products that pay tribute to the locavore spirit. Their hyper-local beverages compete with the top foreign and national brands on drink menus across the country.
It was also no surprise that the owners of these small, local distillers described their businesses much like other new artisans do. They talked about being authentic, making great products and finding a niche audience for their specialized offerings.
They also described their industry as having a barbell industrial structure (my words - they said it was dominated by a couple of soulless, money grubbing giant corporations that made mediocre products).
Both were unique and I've never tasted anything quite like them before. Go to their sites for their tasting notes. They do a much better job of describing them than I can - especially after tasting multiple products from 5 distillers.