Land-to-Bottle: A Guide to Maine’s Craft Spirits
Taste them at these distilleries, tasting rooms, restaurants and bars.
Whether you call it “land-to-bottle” or “farm-to-flask,” the craft distilling movement in Maine has one clear direction: to blend the best of the state’s agricultural products with time-honored distilling methods, creating a brand of spirits that’s deliciously unique to Maine.
Cold River Vodka/Maine Distilleries, Freeport
Maine Distilleries takes the land-to-bottle concept one step further and goes “ground-to-glass” with its Cold River vodkas and gin. The distillery partners with nearby Green Thumb Farms to cultivate potatoes in Maine’s rich soil as a base for Cold River’s distinct spirits. Distillers add pristine water from the state’s Cold River – plus wild Maine blueberries for Cold River’s flavored vodka. Stop in for a tour and taste.
Maine Distilleries’ Cold River Vodka uses water from its namesake river, locally grown potatoes and wild, Maine blueberries in its flavored liquor.
Maine Craft Distilling, Portland and Freeport
Sips including the Black Cap Barley Spirit are described as “100% Maine products” (the Black Cap is distilled from malted Maine barley and filtered through Maine maple charcoal). For a different taste, sample the Chesuncook, a botanical spirit made with Maine carrots, or the Blueshine, featuring two state signatures: wild blueberries and maple syrup. Tasting rooms in two locations offer free samples, or you can purchase cocktails made with house spirits.
Maine Craft Distilling features tasting rooms in Portland and Freeport offering free samples of its Maine-made spirits, and you can purchase cocktails made from them.
The Maine House, Hallowell
Before heading here, check social media for the bartender’s daily creations featuring Maine spirits, house-made infusions and seasonal ingredients. How about an apple cider cocktail in fall? Sip yours with tapas.
New England Distillery, Portland
At New England Distillery, owner-distiller Ned Wight continues a family legacy that dates to the 1850s. Tour his craft operation to learn how he ferments his products with yeast harvested from Maine Beer Company, and to view the hand-made copper still he uses to craft gin, rum and rye whiskey. Ask Wight to explain how the direct fire beneath his still develops a more robust spirit, or taste for yourself.
Portland Hunt & Alpine Club, Portland
Settle in – even late-night – for Scandinavian-inspired fare and a thorough beverage menu of craft cocktails and spirits, many crafted in Maine. Owner Andrew Volk is happy to answer questions about local spirits and how to enjoy them.
Sonny’s Restaurant and Bar, Portland
While the food menu fuses American and Latin flavors, the cocktail menu gets inventive with Maine spirits and aromatic infusions (one daily special mixed vodka, sherry and champagne with house-made orange-flower water).
Sonny’s Restaurant and Bar in Portland features cocktails that highlight Maine spirits and that pair well with cuisine with American and Latin accents.
Complementing its 100% local, organic and gluten-free cuisine, Vinland crafts original cocktails, many featuring Maine spirits. Try the Negroni blended with house-made bitters and sweet beet vermouth plus New England Distillery’s Ingenium gin.
Portland’s Vinland complements its completely local, organic cuisine with carefully crafted, original cocktails, many made with Maine spirits.
Getting to Maine has never been easier. The Portland International Jetport (PWM) is serviced by American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United, and is also one stop away from thousands of global destinations via international gateway airports including Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago O'Hare, Detroit, New York (Newark and JFK), Philadelphia and Washington Dulles. You can also fly in via Bangor International Airport (BGR), a full-service regional airport offering non-stop, affordable flights to Detroit, New York’s LaGuardia, Orlando/Sanford, Philadelphia, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Washington DC and seasonally Chicago. BGR is one stop from most major US cities and many European cities.