Here’s a depressing thought, at a time when we really don’t need any more depressing thoughts: We could be barreling towards a big-box booze future. Dire predictions abound that only chain restaurants and monolithic brands—the Applebee’s and Targets—will make it through this pandemic as independent restaurants flail. Similarly, it’s safe to say the dominant corporate distilleries like Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, and Jack Daniel’s, all of which produce high quality and affordable whiskey, will survive just fine.
Alongside the big guys, though, there are around two-thousand craft distilleries in the U.S. making any and every type of alcohol you can imagine—bourbon, single malt, rye, rum, gin, vodka, even malört, for some reason—that bring much-needed, small-batch diversity to liquor stores. I know I would rather drink in a world where I can go choose between a young peated bourbon distilled in Brooklyn, an amaro made