"If you could wake up tomorrow and do anything, what would it be?"
Brant Braue's life completely changed when his brother asked him this question in the autumn of 2010. Brant's answer? He'd open a distillery.
Brant went on to create Jersey Artisan Distilling, a distillery focused on classic techniques. The flagship spirit was Busted Barrel Rum, which comes in two varieties: Busted Barrel Dark Rum matures in white oak barrels and carries hints of vanilla and caramel; Busted Barrel Silver Rum is made with custom copper stills and Louisiana molasses. These and the other spirits—including Morena Rum, James F.C. Hyde Sorgho Whiskey, and Hard Ice—have been profiled by the New York Times, New Jersey Monthly, Jersey Bites, and the Star Ledger—and Jersey Artisan Distilling was ranked among the top distillers in country by Thrillist_.
Jersey Artisan Distilling now supplies both variants to restaurants throughout New Jersey, but you don't have to stray from the source to sip its signature rums or whiskey. The distillery hosts tours and tastings—where tour participants get to be the first to try experimental spirits for future release before they hit store shelves—and the team invites guests to join them for special events such as bottling nights, one of the few events where people fill their bottles with liquid instead of tiny ships.
The founders of Jersey Spirits Distilling Co.—John, Sue, and Betty—are all New Jerseyans to the core. And the only thing the trio might love more than their state is the art of small-batch distilling. On tours of their distillery, visitors shouldn't be surprised to see spirits that are distilled as many as 12 times per batch. That incredible amount of care is what gives the house vodka, rum, and whiskey its smooth flavor.
Visitors can taste that flavor for themselves in the house tasting room. It's a testament to the area's history, furnished with reclaimed wood from Jersey's vintage barns and its naturally-occurring Jenga sets. The founders can often be found in the tasting room's cozy environs sampling and discussing their process with visitors. And while they recommend sampling the spirits neat, hand-mixed cocktails are also available.
Since launching in the summer of 2011 by child hood friends Albert and Devin, Bad Seed Cider Co has expanded to produce three distinct hand-crafted hard ciders made from apples grown in the Hudson Valley. During tap room tours, guests can opt to solely visit the cider house or also indulge in samples of hard cider. These include their signature Dry Hard Cider, a really dry cider, the Bourbon Barrel Reserve, a cider carefully aged in barrels from Kentucky distilleries, and the distinctive Belgian Abbey Cider, which is fermented with a Belgian Abbey beer yeast and reflects tart, tangy, and dry notes.