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Indiana is home to one of the largest beverage alcohol distilleries in the world and one of the smallest handcraft distilleries. Established in 1847, Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana, LLC is on 78 acres where Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky borders converge and employs a staff of hundreds. The year-old Heartland Distillers occupies Suite 1000 at 9402 Uptown Drive in Indianapolis and Stuart Hobson is president/distiller. Part-time help arrives on bottling days.

Hobson describes his small limited production distillery as a reawakening of Indiana's 200-year-old handcraft distilling heritage "that almost completely died off before and during Prohibition. After being in the wine and spirits business as a retailer for 16 years I realized Indiana had an unfulfilled niche."

He decided to build a reputation one product at a time starting with Indiana vodka. Bourbon, which has to be aged two to four years, will be available next and gin, a flavored vodka, will follow. Hobson describes his attention to six distillations, not just two or three, all perfectly timed to ensure subtle flavors and purity and a distinctive identity as the distinguishing factor between commercial and handcraft distilling. "It takes a lot of patience to handcraft distill."

A tasting proved Indiana vodka to be crisp, clean and easy "going down" with no burn. The sweet finish revealed a hint of creamed corn, for a pleasant degree of complexity.

It all starts with the makings for beer, in Hobson's case Indiana-grown corn and water. In the distilling process the fermented liquid is heated and the vapor rises along a thin tube waiting to be cooled and captured and purified; thus the difference between the parent beer and offspring spirits. It seems quite logical to go from fermenting to distilling and Earth Day seems like a good day to introduce Indiana vodka since Hobson says he's "100 percent ingredient sustainable and by drinking an Indianapolis-made product it's a negligible shipping impact."

Indiana vodka is available bottled in local stores and in restaurants and at bars. Call 317-714-4138 or e-mail for information.

A revolutionary brew older than the USA

Guinness is celebrating the visionary Irish brewer Arthur Guinness' daring reclamation of a failing Dublin brewery in 1759 with a limited edition Guinness 250 Anniversary Stout. Parties worldwide on April 24 will begin precisely at 17:59 local time on draught at Fionn MacCool's in Fishers; Brockway Public House in Carmel; Mo's Irish Pub in Noblesville; Claddagh in downtown Indy, 96th Street and Plainfield; Ale Emporium; Fox & Hound in Castleton and Carmel; Muldoon's in Carmel; Chumley's in Indy; Britton Tavern in Fishers; Mudsock's in Noblesville; Casler's in Fishers; Andrus O'Reilly's; Moondog Tavern; Elbow Room; Beer Sellar; PJ O'Keefe's; Taps 'n' Dolls; nine Irish Bros. in Lafayette and West Lafayette; Fickle Peach and The Heorot in Muncie.

Bottles only at Broad Ripple Tavern, The Mousetrap, OPTs and The Rathskellar in Indy; Pat's Irish Pub in Fortville.

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About The Author

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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