Philadelphia Spirits Week started on March 23, 2017 and will go on until April 2nd. Dozens of distillers from around the United States have descended upon the city of Brotherly Love providing samples of some of the finest whiskies I have ever tasted. Having gone to the Whisky Revival a few months ago in Atlantic City, I was looking forward to another round of tasting and meeting the great men and women of the industry.
Two of the largest events were hosted at Citizens Bank park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies. These included the Pennsylvania Spirits Convention on the 23rd and the American Whisky Convention on the 24th. The Pennsylvania Spirits Convention focused primarily on spirits distilled in Pennsylvania. After all, Pennsylvania and not Kentucky is the birthplace for American whisky. The American Whisky Convention however had more distilleries from all over the country and I got a chance to taste some things I have never tasted before including one gem that is no longer produced.
I also had an opportunity to shake hands with Jimmy Russell himself. The living legend (he pointed out the emphasis is on “living”). Jimmy is the Master Blender of the distillery that produces Russell Reserve and one of my favorites, Wild Turkey 101. Some of the distilleries represented were only two years old. Another, Copper & Kings produces brandy made in Kentucky that is aged in bourbon barrels. It was fantastic.
As you would also expect, there was plenty of food, items for auction, motorcycles, cigars and lectures on distilling. In addition, there were a few authors who have produced books on the subject conducting book signings, a copper company and a few farms showing off their grains for future distillers. In all, there were 58 vendors on display at today’s festivities. But that was just the Friday event.
All around Philadelphia for the next few days there are more activities in different venues. The National Constitution Center is featuring a show on the Rise and Fall of Prohibition, Ashton Cigar Bar is hosting a Buffalo Trace Single barrel tasting, a Bluebird Distillery is hosting cocktails at there place in Northern Liberties and much more.
This is the weekend to visit Philadelphia. There is so much to see and do for the whisky lover (did you catch that? I slipped in another spelling of whiskey). With all of the historic attractions in Old City, there is something to do for the entire family during your stay.
Don’t live in the Delaware Valley? There are three events like this in Pennsylvania to provide an opportunity to as many of the constituents as possible to partake in an event like this. Don’t live in any of the neighboring states? Go on-line and find an event like this near you. Having attended 2 cigar events and 2 whiskey events in the past two years has left me with regret over not having done this years ago.
There is no doubt about it. With the quality of farming in Pennsylvania and he rest of the country, a distilling revival was inevitable. I cant wait until these places have been around for 10 years. Can you imagine the quality and quantity of the stuff coming out of barrels by then?