I’ve been to my fair share of breweries and wineries, but my recent visit to ASW Distillery (ASW) was my very first distillery tour. The distillery, located just across from Sweetwater Brewing, is slated to officially open next Thursday for tastings and tours, so get all the details below!
While ASW is putting the final touches on their opening, I had the pleasure of doing a behind-the-scenes tour before the launch party. My tour was led by Chad Ralston, Head of Growth & Grassroots at ASW – this guy has a serious passion for whiskey, and gave me the rundown of what makes ASW unique in Atlanta.
American Spirit Whiskey is a silver whiskey, meaning it has all the flavor of a bourbon without the bite. While ASW’s partner distillery in Charleston will continue to make American Spirit Whiskey through the end of the year, ASW uses a traditional Scotch style double copper pot still system (used for single malts) to create all of their other whiskies in-house. This process is combined with Southern flavor innovation from Georgia grains in addition to barley.
The mild American Spirit Whiskey is their main product, but ASW also plans on doing quarterly roll-outs of new spirits like bourbon and seasonal fruit brandies.
ASW Distillery does things a bit differently than breweries or wineries you might have been to. They have a secret lounge for their investors on-site (keep that one on the DL), a coffee program with Athens-based Jittery Joe’s, and a mini storefront carrying local and regional artisan goods.
The atmosphere and spirit of the distillery is Southern and Georgia to the core. Local artists from Athens and Atlanta created the mural and sketch art seen around the tasting room, and the distillery worked with a group of Atlanta-based bartenders to develop a list of cocktail recipes to hand out to guests. ASW also donates their spent grain to local farmers, who come by to pick it up from the distillery each week.
ASW seeks to provide an educational experience for guests – since most people have never visited a distillery, ASW will be going into a lot of detail on the whiskey making process on their tours. They also incorporate a sensory element, with drawers full of corn and grains for guests to touch and feel what goes into each drop of whiskey.
Where to Find ASW + The Launch Party on 7/21
You can find American Spirit Whiskey at your local liquor store, as well as Atlanta restaurants and bars like Ammazza, St. Cecilia, and South City Kitchen. For a full list, you can reference the interactive map on their Facebook page here.
The official ASW Launch is next Thursday, July 21st. You can learn more about the distillery and sign up for their newsletter list here – if you invite friends to join, you can win prizes like free tours, tastings, and souvenir bottles. I hope to see you there!