4 New England craft distilleries are among the best in the U.S., according to USA Today readers


Craft whiskey at Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Co. in South Kingstown, R.I. Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Co.

You’ll find some of the country’s best craft distilleries right here in New England, according to USA Today readers.

Four craft distilleries — two in Vermont and two in Rhode Island — earned nods on the best craft distilleries in America lists, which were released Friday as part of USA Today’s 2019 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards.

If it’s rum you’re after, head to Newport, R.I., where Newport Craft Brewing + Distilling Co. ranked No. 9 on the publication’s list of best craft rum distilleries. The No. 1 craft rum distillery is Wicked Dolphin Distillery in Cape Coral, Fla.

“Thomas Tew Rums, made by Newport Craft Brewing + Distilling Co., are named after a famous Rhode Island pirate who once lived in Newport,” USA Today wrote. “The dark amber Single Barrel Rum is distilled in a traditional copper pot still and aged in oak barrels to impart richness and complexity. Distillers hand-select spirits one barrel at a time, and each bottle is labeled with the barrel it came from.”


While in Rhode Island, it’s worth staying for the whiskey since Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Co. in South Kingstown ranked No. 10 on the publication’s list of best craft whiskey distilleries. The No. 1 distillery for craft whiskey is Ironroot Republic in Denison, Texas.

“Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Co. in Rhode Island crafts three bourbons, five single malts and a few seasonal whiskies,” the publication wrote. “The single malts often take inspiration from beer, even using darker malts traditionally associated with stouts and Belgian ales. The limited edition wheated single malt is distilled from wheat bear.”

If vodka is more your speed, head over to Jeffersonville, Vermont, where Smugglers’ Notch Distillery ranked No. 7 on the publication’s list of best craft vodka distilleries. The No. 1 distillery on this list is 619 Spirits in San Diego.

“Smugglers’ Notch Vodka is made from Idaho-grown grains and water from the Mount Mansfield watershed of Northern Vermont,” according to USA Today. “The grain wash gets distilled in a four-column still and passed through a multi-stage filtration process for a smooth vodka with just a hint of sweetness. Smugglers’ Notch Distillery also makes an organic gluten-free vodka made from corn.”

And, finally, the publication’s readers think Vermont is also home to one of the best specialty distilleries. Saxtons River Distillery in Brattleboro earned the No. 10 spot on the publication’s list of best craft specialty spirit distilleries. The No. 1 spot on this list is Desert Door Texas Sotol in Driftwood, Texas.


“Among the specialty spirits from Saxtons River Distillery in Vermont are a maple liqueur made from distilled Vermont maple syrup aged in American oak, as well as a coffee liqueur made with Arabica beans roasted in Vermont, cold brewed and infused into a house-distilled spirit,” USA Today wrote.

For the 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards lists, USA Today travel experts select 20 nominees in topics ranging from food to lodging, destinations to things to do, and then ask readers to cast votes to determine the top 10.

Check out all of the craft distillery winners here.