Experience Columbus has announced the launch of its new Columbus Distillery Trail, a carefully curated experience co-sponsored by Destination Grandview that welcomes locals and visitors alike to the city’s world-class spirits maker experiences. Columbus’ skilled artisans win international accolades and have led the national craft distilling movement for more than 10 years. In fact, Columbus distilleries are defining one of the most exciting spirits and cocktail scenes in the country, placing the city on the map as a must-visit destination for booze buffs.
Each stop on the trail offers tours and tastings, many with full bar service, while continuing to take great care to ensure guest and staff safety via social distancing, masking and sanitary protocols. This new trail joins Columbus’ existing curated guides to experiencing the best the city has to offer, including the Short North Art Trail (curated by the Short North Alliance) and Columbus Coffee Trail. Anyone 21 or over can download the Distillery Trail’s digital passport to get started here. After making any purchase at four of the stops, visitors earn a custom Simple Times mixer (featuring a delicious Blackberry Lemonade flavor). After visiting all seven, they earn a “The Proof is in the Proof” Columbus Distillery Trail t-shirt. The Distillery Trail passport covers the following stops:
- Upstart Echo Spirits Distilling Co. launched in 2020 against all odds in Grandview, crafting high-end spirits made to be accessible. The distillery aims to echo a time when we got to know the folks making the things we buy, and a laid-back bar offers great cocktails and food deliveries from nearby restaurants.
- One of the country’s fastest growing distillers, Middle West Spirits was named U.S. Distillery of the Year in the Berlin International Spirits Competition and nearly every one of its 15 spirits, including gin, whiskies, bourbons, vodkas and bourbon cream, have brought home double gold, gold and silver awards in key international spirits competitions.
- Endeavor Brewing and Spirits launched as a brewery in 2017 in Grandview and began releasing the results of its distilling operations in 2019. Endeavor’s liquor lineup includes craft brews, vodka, rum, dry gin, and a botanical gin. They also host rotating food trucks.
- Watershed Distillery started up in Grandview in 2010, then opened the state’s first restaurant connected to a distillery, Watershed Kitchen & Bar, in 2017. Its gin and other spirits garner solid reviews, and include seasonal nocino made from spiced local black walnuts and apple brandy.
- Quirky 451 Spirits is tucked into an alley next to a neighborhood dive bar in Columbus’ hip residential neighborhood of Clintonville. Something of a mad scientists’ den for spirits, 451’s interesting riffs on rum, whiskey, mezcal and absinthe start with unusual mash bills and end with remarkable results, like Pizza Pie’Chuga, distiller Chad Kessler’s play on Pechuga mezcal infused with local favorite pizza Mikey’s Late Night Slice. While it sounds like a wholly crazy notion, it makes magic in a Bloody Mary.
- Its bread and butter is distilling vodka and whiskey, but Noble Cut Distillery in Gahanna gets high marks for twisted takes on limoncello, the Italian citrus-and vodka-based aperitif or digestif. Distiller and co-owner Tony Guilfoy also makes his ‘cello in tart and tasty orange and grapefruit versions.
- High Bank Distillery in Grandview Heights has a buzzy full-service bar and restaurant which feature elevated, casual food offerings with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and a balance of both indulgent and healthy options. Its cocktail menu features both classic cocktails and in-house creations. High Bank’s Whiskey War Barrel Proof Blend recently received the Best of Class in American Blended Whiskey Award at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.