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In the United States, we are truly #blessed because there are well over 1,000 distilleries in active operation. That means thousands of people from all backgrounds are pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into crafting spirits for us, the average drinkers, to enjoy. With so many distilleries, we are sure of one thing: the U.S. makes some damn delicious potent potables.
Those potables are the reason why The Manual created our first-ever Spirit Awards in 2018 and why we are back this year with our second edition of The Manual Spirit Awards. We want to raise a glass to the people who bust their butts so we can have a good time, and make sure they are recognized for their efforts. The Manual Spirit Awards highlight the best craft liquor made in America.
For this year’s awards, we’re looking at eight categories: Bourbon, Single Malt Whiskey, Rye Whiskey, Gin, Vodka, Unaged Rum, Aged Rum, and Liqueur. These categories, we feel, represent the widest swath of American-made spirits. We spent months tasting candidates across the country, from large craft distilleries to mom-and-pop operations discovered during our travels. From those, we narrowed it down to three finalists in each category. Did we try every spirit produced in 2019? No, not by a long shot, sadly. But we promise we tried our very best.