Idaho Distilleries benefit from legislation to allow tastings of hard liquor

Idaho distilleries learning how to find niche
Posted at 10:23 PM, May 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-13 00:23:36-04

 Three years after Idaho allowed tasting of hard spirits, Idaho distilleries are feeling the benefits.
That's because they're able to give their customers what they want.
And more and more people want small- batch, craft liquors with a local feel.
A small distillery like 8 Feathers has a hard time keeping up with the Jim Beams of the world.
But co-owner Sandee Price says being small sometimes has it's advantages.

"We have 30 pounds of Emmett cherries in two barrels over there and it's going to be fantastic."
Cherry bourbon was something Sandee Price did on a whim but she and co-owner Marjie Lowe like taking chances and it's paid off.

"It's so much fun,"  says Price,  "I love doing the experimental stuff.  That's cool stuff."
In 2015, the craft distillery industry surpassed 2.4 billion dollars in retail sales. And is growing at close to 30 percent a year.
In Idaho, part of the growth has to do with legislation that allowed tastings of hard spirits.

"When Marji and me got the bill passed, it was a huge game changer for us," says Price, "here we are today at 8300 square feet.  We have 97 barrels of burbon right now and 123 total barrels full."
And just as some microbreweries were bought out by major manufacturers in the beer world, large distilleries are starting to snap up quality craft distilleries like High West in Utah.
And if they can do it, sandee says Idaho can too.
High West Distillery started in Park City, Utah in 2006 and was sold last year to Constellation Brands for 160 million dollars.