Accolades: Boyd & Blair’s Potato Vodka Lands at #4 on Ultimate Spirits Challenge List

Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka

Pittsbugh’s Pennsylvania Pure Distillers is celebrating today as its Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka is the number one vodka and number four overall spirit in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge Top 100 Spirits List for 2020. The list is judged by blind panels of experts in multi-stage assessments.

The Challenge includes entries from 45 countries and 96 brands. Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka, which starts with Pennsylvania grown potatoes stood out among brandy, gin, whisk(e)y and other spirits to finish in the top five overall. It was also one of four vodkas in the top 100 and 20 places above the next closest vodka.

Boyd & Blair’s Potato Vodka is described by the judges as having:

Fresh aromas of minerals and cotton are soft and elegant. The round and plush texture fill the mouth with a subtle earthy sweetness as hints of lime zest shine through. Ultimately refined, it is a delight to sip on straight or mixed into any cocktail.

2020 Ultimate Spirits Challenge – Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka (score of 98)

The Potato Vodka wasn’t the only spirit to place on the Ultimate Spirits Top 100 list from Pennsylvania Pure. Their BLY Silver Rum scored a 95, good enough for #75 on the list.

Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka is available widely in Pennsylvania’s Fine Wine & Good Spirits shops as well as direct from the distillery and from Art in the Age across the state in Philadelphia.

Rowhouse Spirits Plants Roots in Germantown

Rowhouse Distilling up and running in Germantown

Back in February, Dean Browne closed up his Rowhouse Spirits on Frankford Avenue in Kensington. Plan was to get more space to accommodate some new projects and reopen. But plans and 2020? Well yeah, 2020.

Browne has persevered and wound up landing in East Germantown, at 4717 Stenton Avenue. The Philadelphia neighborhood is suddenly attracting exciting businesses as Attic Brewing, Deke’s BBQ and Merzberger’s of Germantown, the re-branded and retail facing Philly Bread, have all opened their doors nearby.

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OK, We Admit It, It’s Pumpkin Season

Maggie's Farm Pumpkin Spiced Coffee

Pumpkin creep is a thing. Pumpkin spiced lattes show up in August now. It feels like every year, pumpkin beers hit shelves earlier. And distilleries aren’t immune to pumpkin season either. And maybe it’s the first weekend of the NFL, or the crispness in the air, but we’re not even that mad about it.

Here are some ways to spice up your fall with pumpkin and PA spirits.

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Distilleries Offering Local Delivery

Upper Darby Police inspect about $72,000 in liquor seized during a raid. 1930

In these crazy times Pennsylvania distilleries are often reinventing their business models. One of the consumer friendly enhancements some distilleries have made is the addition of local delivery. Typically it means small or no minimums, cheaper delivery fees than shipping and sometimes arrival of the spirits to your front door on the same day. In accordance to Pennsylvania law, all deliveries must be received by someone 21 or older with valid ID. We’ve come a long way from the days of bootleggers and rum runners.

Just remember to tip well.

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New Building Rounding into Shape at Hungry Run Distillery

Hungry Run Distillery - New Building

The crispness in the air has us thinking of outdoor patios, fireplaces, fall foliage and road trips. This recent Instagram slideshow from Hungry Run Distillery has us Googling Vira, Pennsylvania.

Donald and Michelle Logan opened Hungry Run Distillery in 2015 on their own land. They started distilling with a rum and have since expanded into vodka, bourbon, gin and more. Now they’re making great progress on the newest building on the property and these photos speak of wonderful, relaxing days ahead with a whiskey in hand and a fire nearby.

Who’s ready for a road trip?

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Cans, Cans, Everywhere There Are Cans

Maggie's Farm Rum Cocktails in Cans

Yesterday we let slip that we’re a bit obsessed with cocktails in cans. Portable, easily iced, enjoyed on the go, what’s not to like? Not much unless you’re the actual distiller who has to figure out carbonation, canning, procuring and storing cans, producing labels and a public that isn’t familiar with the format, not to mention competing directly with the beast that is hard seltzer. But despite all of that, and yes the pesky pandemic, we are seeing more and more Pennsylvania distillers putting cocktails in cans.

Here are the Pennsylvania distillers producing canned cocktails for sale. Let us know if we missed any.

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Lucky Sign Spirits Opens in Allegheny County

Lucky Spirits Opens in Pittsburgh

You have to believe luck is on your side to attempt to open a distillery during a global epidemic. And Christian Kahle and Matt Brudnok must believe they have luck in spades as this was actually the third location considered for their Lucky Sign Spirits that finally opened on August 8th, in Millvale, PA.

Lucky Sign’s first three products are a gin (eleven botanicals) and sourced bourbon and rye, bottled under their Card Shark sub-label. And they have plans on much more. The focus will be their own single malts. Experimentation will be a theme. Kahle told the Post-Gazette that they will highlight “tasting more of the distillate” over relying on barrel-aging. They’ve also been working on an amaro and a dandelion vodka but plan on producing everything from soju to aquavit. Kahle tells Next Pittsburgh that “we want to hide things in there so people don’t know what to expect — they have to drink it and experience it for themselves.”

Lucky Sign Spirits is located at 215 North Avenue in Millvale and has hours Wednesday through Sunday. They offer bottles and cocktails to go.

PA Distillers Making Hand Sanitizer

Hand Sanitizer Made by Maggie's Farm and donated to Pittsburgh Health Dept.

Even before the Federal Government gave them the green light, several Pennsylvania distillers were moving from spirits production to making hand sanitizer, a suddenly in demand product that even hospitals are openly requesting.

Among the first was Lehigh Valley’s Eight Oaks Distilery. The switch has even been documented by the Associated Press and Popular Mechanics.

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Lancaster Distilleries Adds Two New Products

Lancaster Distilleries Product Line

Lancaster Distilleries, a micro-distillery located in the Zoetropolis Cinema is grandly adding two new products to its lineup on Saturday, March 14th at 12 pm. The downtown Lancaster distillery is adding a barrel-rested gin and a spiced rum to its offerings.

The launch day will feature free tastings, tours as well as brunch specials infused with Lancaster Distilleries spirits from 12 pm to 3 pm.

If you cannot wait, the aged gin is available now.