Uniquely American with enough burn to put a scowl on a cowboy. We know you love it as much as we do, so we found all the best ones in the state. If they're distilling and selling whiskey, they're on our list. Many of these locations are on or a short walk from the Red Line, while the rest are enjoyed via a country drive. Here's the Do317 guide to every whiskey and bourbon distiller in the state.
Written by Sarah Murrell
Indianapolis / 702 Virginia Ave
With a total rebranding under their bandoleros, Hotel Tango is poised to dominate the local spirits market. Their tasting room in Fletcher Place has become the bar of choice in the neighborhood, and it makes sense when you have a look at their huge menu. With cold weather on the way, it's also worth a visit for the enormous stone fireplace that anchors the tasting room — now expanded into the former production space that used to be home to a carriage repair shop. Their whiskey is perfect for a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned by the fire, either theirs or yours in your backyard.
Borden / 19816 Huber Rd
Just a few miles north of Louisville, you'll find a farm-to-bottle distilling works that produces Indiana-grown-and-distilled spirits, including a few outstanding whiskeys and bourbons. The grounds of the distillery are packed with fruit trees and shrubs, making it a great day trip in summer or fall. If you're already on the bourbon trail on your way to the Bluegrass State, stop in to try something a little different: Starlight's Blackberry Whiskey. It's a little sweet and it's made with blackberries from the farm, and it makes an incredible Kir Royale or Boulevardier.
Bloomington / 922 S Morton St
For Indy residents, we'd highly recommend a fall tour that includes Cardinal, Hard Truth and Bear Wallow in a single trip. Cardinal's at the top of the list for a cocktail menu that satisfies both student tastes and parents' weekend palates. Cardinal makes an outstanding bourbon, as well as a lineup of unusual spirits like honey schnapps, coffee liqueur, brandy, nocino and a lot of other international variety. Their Flora liqueur is a soft blend of raspberries, jasmine, hibiscus and elderflower. If you love a certain column-shaped bottle of elderflower liqueur, you'll really love the locally crafted upgrade.
Hard Truth Hills
Nashville / 418 Old State Rd 46
We've raved about this place a lot before, and we're not about to stop any time soon. It's cute and it's cozy, and it fits in perfectly with its southern Indiana surroundings. Driving there from Indianapolis is a winding two-lane tour through farmland and hills, through tree-arched tunnels that are about to change into mesmerizing fall colors. Once you get onto the property, you can take a tour of the production facility and get a truly immersive education on the process of making spirits. Once you've done an adequate amount of tasting, head over to the restaurant for dinner and then take a walk through the woods that surround the whole facility.
West Fork Whiskey Co.
Indianapolis / 1660 Bellefontaine St
She's cute and she's local! Near-northsiders, you have a little neighborhood distillery right in your own backyard, and it's all whiskey, all the time. West Fork is dedicated to crafting the perfect "native spirit" from American grains, and that's all they do: make whiskey, bourbon and rye. Their tasting room is covered in clean, bright-white subway tile and wood, and it's small enough to host a bachelor or bachelorette party that will still feel intimate. West Fork's whiskey is perfect in cocktails, but we'd recommend tasting until you find one to sip straight-up or on the rocks. Old Hamer is the distillery's tribute to a historic spirit distilled by the Hamer family at their mill, and it's worth the trip just to have a taste and hear the backstory.
Sun King Spirits
Carmel / 351 Monon Blvd
Okay, so technically they're not making their own whiskey just yet, but it's definitely on the way. In the meantime, they've teamed up with some great distillers and have whiskey from West Fork and Copper & Kings that has spent some time in Sun King barrels. It's offered on their impressive cocktail list, which includes some frozen bevvies for your adult slurpy needs. We're burying the lede here, though, because the ultimate reason to go is the full smorgasboard of local dining options available in the food hall. So no matter if you like charcuterie or beer cheese, cocktails or IPAs, Sun King Spirits has something to please everyone.
Indianapolis / 636 Virginia Ave
When it comes to mashing up history, great booze and a great location, 12.05 has it all. They make all their spirits in a tiny distilling footprint using a custom-built still, and then use pumps to pump the spirits into bottles or barrels underneath the tasting room. If you come during the week and the tasting room isn't too busy, they might just flip the trap door open and let you have a look at the barrel room. If it is busy, ask about the unfortunate events that inspired the annual Fingerblast party, a commemoration of the lost finger once belonging to co-owner Brad Colver, and ask about the shot-for-shot remake of the Office Space printer destruction scene.
Nashville / 4484 Old State Rd 46
Whiskey distilling is uniquely American, and at that, a uniquely Kentucky product first made in the hills and hollers of Appalachia. Nashville, Indiana is a little slice of those foothills, and Bear Wallow leans into the vibe with a collection of Gnaw Bone and Wolf Creek series whiskies and Liar's Bench Rye. Bear Wallow's most famous collection is the Hoosier Hooch, which comes in every color and flavor of the rainbow. Bear Wallow is right in the middle of the Brown County action, right on the banks of Gnaw Bone Creek.
Old 55 Distillery
Newtown / 311 E Washington St
Old 55 is named after the state road that cuts through the middle of Newtown, Indiana. It's another prime example of a truly farm-to-bottle spirit brand, with the grains produced either on the family farm or from farms adjacent to the distillery. Whiskey sippers will appreciate their bottles of rye, whiskey and bourbon, all distilled from Northwest Indiana's finest grains. Their most unique spirit by far is a bourbon made from the sugary kernels of Indiana sweet corn, which takes on a deep amber shade inside the barrel and a nose and flavor like caramel corn, making it well worth the drive.
8th Day Distillery
Indianapolis / 1125 E Brookside Ave
You can only buy the rye and whiskey straight from the source at 8th Day's bottle shop and cocktail bar within the Circle City Industrial Complex. Some other worthwhile reasons to visit CCIC: the winter farmer's market and Centerpoint brewing, meaning you can get a full week of groceries, a full pint, a cocktail and a bottle of whiskey to take home all in the same building. It's a great place to bring a bachelor/ette party for a cool tasting experience a little ways off the beaten path.
Three Rivers Distilling Company
Fort Wayne / 224 E Wallace St
When it comes to distilling booze from corn, Fort Wayne flexes hard with hometown favorite Three Rivers Distilling. They only make two, a bourbon and a rye, because that's all they need to get it right. They're making waves with the Pilot Series, an ongoing experimentation with off-center spirits like brandy. Though TR dominates the clear spirits category, the cleanliness of the moonshine flavors produces a mellow base spirit, which turns toasty and smokey in barrels. Try these out in your next Manhattan.
The Indiana Whiskey Company
South Bend / 1115 W Sample St
It's got a gorgeous riverfront, the only likeable executive branch contender in Indiana, and a cheeky and delicious whiskey distillery. Damn you, South Bend, damn you. Their flagship spirit is called "Just Whiskey," and they've got a cinnamon Sweet Heat, and a maple-flavored whiskey named "Breakfast of Degenerates." They're as good to drink as they are fun to have on your shelf, and you can join their club of supporters to get in on fun stuff like parties and releases, plus a bottle of booze every year for the rest of your life for $300. Party.
Oakley Brothers Distillery
Anderson / 34 W 8th St
We've all been sleeping on this recent Anderson arrival, with a slick interior and spirits to match. Flyover is the flagship whiskey, distilled entirely from Indiana corn and aged in bourbon barrels, picking up some of the first barrel tenants' deep caramel flavor and toasty amber color. The other is the Hell or Rye Water Rye Whiskey, made with a hefty dose of rye, giving it the spicy kick that still sips smooth if that's your thing.
Munster / 9750 Indiana Pkwy
Have you heard of this little mom-and-pop brewery with a small distilling operation and restaurant on the side? Well, we'll let you in on the secret: it's great, and they make liquor now. Divine Rite delivers on the bite you'd expect from a 3 Floyds product, and the label art kind of begs you to take a shot before a show. While the beer side of things continues to be the brewery's focus and always will be, their distilling arm has proven that those three Floyds are just as good at the liquor game.
Hammond / 5417 Oakley Ave
One of the first breweries in the state to cross the liquor rubicon when Indiana loosened its distilling laws, 18th has proven themselves more than capable producers of fine spirits. Think of this distillery as a sort of appetizer course before you head into Chicago, as they serve a whole menu to go along with your cocktail selections. They've also perfected the art of Indiana-made bourbon, and it's worth spending the time to do more than supermarket sweep your hoppy faves.
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