There is no denying the resurgence that is happening in craft distilling. A decade ago, it was a term unheard of in the Philadelphia area, but today we are seeing distilleries open at rates similar to those of craft breweries a half-decade ago. It has grown to the point where bars can now focus their spirits program based solely on local, a concept that would have been completely impossible just a few years back.
It’s a growth that still seems to be on the ground floor of as well. The next few years are sure to bring even new levels of growth and new depths of whiskey as distilleries have had time to develop aged spirits. Right now though, the quality is already at an impressively high level for how young the movement is. If you have yet to really dive into the world of Pennsylvania spirits, you’re missing out on something special.
Fortunately late March brings about the perfect opportunity to dive headfirst into the world of Pennsylvania spirits though. The Pennsylvania Spirits Convention is being held on March 23rd at Citizen’s Bank Park, home of the Phillies. The convention is the largest of its kind, boasting over 35 distilleries from the state.
The event will feature opportunities to meet the distillers, sample over 120 different spirits, imbibe in a cocktail competition featuring 35 of Philadelphia’s premier bartenders, shop an artisan craft market, enjoy local food fare, and take part in various panels and lectures from the leading voices in the local industry. There will also be local farmers, millers, and maltsters on hand, helping to explain the importance of the ingredients being used. A full list of seminars and panels can be found here.
The convention is hosted by the Delaware Valley Fields Foundation and serves as a fundraiser for their various missions including their SeedSpark program which is helping fund a project with Penn State University to bring back heirloom small grain seeds to Pennsylvania farmers that haven’t been grown or researched for nearly 100 years.
Tickets to the convention are available now and range from $75 for General Admission to $100 for VIP, which includes a commemorative Glencairn tasting glass, access to discussion forums, a tasting buffet, master tastings and early access. There are also Designated Driver Tickets available for those not taking public transportation. Tickets and more details are available here.
For those looking to delve into the national whiskey scene as well, they are also hosting the 2nd annual American Whiskey Convention the next day.