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Best american craft whiskeys feature

10 Best American Craft Whiskeys To Drink Right Now

America is the birthplace of bourbon. This corn-based, sweet, easy-drinking, aged spirit is far and away the most popular whiskey in the US. It (and the rest of the whiskey market) is dominated by big names like Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, Maker’s Mark, and Jack Daniel’s (although not a bourbon). However, other smaller brands are taking a bite out of the market share, with some of our favourites including Widow Jane, Davidson Reserve, and Westward all found on our list of the best American craft whiskeys below.

There might be more than 2,000 distilleries in the United States, but that doesn’t mean the top craft whiskey brands in the country are falling behind. Producing some of the best single malt whiskeys, rye whiskey, corn whiskey, moonshine, and Tennessee whiskey on the market. To say that the US is drenched in whiskey is partly silly and partly true. These are our favourite craft American brands, as chosen by our team of editors and expert Christopher Osburn.

Best American Craft Whiskeys at a Glance

Our list of the best American craft whiskeys goes like this.

Now we’ve had a look at our favourites, let’s check out the complete list.

RELATEDCan’t get enough whiskey? Check out all our news, reviews, and more right here.

Best american craft whiskeys widow jane 10 year bourbon
Widow Jane 10-Year Bourbon | Image: Supplied

1. Widow Jane 10-Year Bourbon

If you’re a bourbon fan and you’ve never heard of Widow Jane (what’s wrong with you?), now is the time to get on the bandwagon. Widow Jane is a brand proving that “sourced” isn’t necessarily a bad word when it comes to bourbon. This New York-based brand sources its whiskeys from Tennessee, Indiana, and Kentucky. These hand-selected bourbons are married together in five-barrel batches before being proofed with limestone water from nearby Rosendale Mines. This award-winning whiskey is known for a flavour consisting of dried cherries, maple candy, orange peels, and sweet vanilla.

Founder: Daniel Preston and Vince Oleson
Founded: 2012
Alcohol volume: 45.5%
Price range: from AUD$179

Shop at Widow Jane Shop at Dan Murphy’s Shop at Nick’s

Best american craft whiskeys wyoming whiskey small batch bourbon
Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon | Image: Supplied

2. Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon

If you’re a whiskey novice, you might assume that all bourbon needs to be made in Kentucky. Well, while around 95% of the sweet, corn-based whiskey is made in Kentucky, technically it can be made anywhere in the US. This is why brands like Wyoming Whiskey have been able to make a name for themselves with small-batch bourbons. This award-winning expression is Wyoming Whiskey’s flagship offering. It’s known for its flavour profile featuring notes of butterscotch, toasted vanilla beans, sticky toffee pudding, cinnamon sugar, and lightly herbal mint. The finish is sweet, spicy, and pleasantly warm.

Founder: Brad and Kate Mead
Founded: 2014
Alcohol volume: 44%
Price range: from AUD$99.99

Shop at Wyoming Whiskey Shop at Liquor World Shop at Drink Society

Best american craft whiskeys wyoming whiskey small batch bourbon 1
Sagamore Spirit Signature Rye Whiskey | Image: Supplied

3. Sagamore Spirit Signature Rye Whiskey

While bourbon gets all the acclaim as America’s “native spirit”, many people believe that applejack and even rye whiskey might have a claim to this title as well with each having its inception hundreds of years ago. Brands like Sagamore Spirit are carrying on this rye tradition with many notable expressions including its flagship Sagamore Spirit Signature Rye Whiskey. This blend of two straight rye mash bills is matured between four and six years in highly-charred American oak barrels. The result is a multi-dimensional, rich, slightly spicy whiskey with notes of cinnamon, clove, sweet honey, toffee, candied orange peel, and peppery rye.

Founder: Kevin Plank
Founded: 2013
Alcohol volume: 41.5%
Price range: from AUD$80

Shop at Sagamore Spirit Shop at Whisky Exchange Shop at Master of Malt

Best american craft whiskeys davidson reserve tennessee whiskey
Davidson Reserve Tennessee Whiskey | Image: Supplied

4. Davidson Reserve Tennessee Whiskey

When many drinkers think about Tennessee whisky, they tend to turn their attention to Jack Daniel’s exclusively (and to a lesser degree George Dickel). We’re here to tell you that the “Volunteer State” has a lot more to offer. One of the best, lesser-known whiskeys is Davidson Reserve Tennessee Whiskey. This award-winner is a Tennessee straight sour mash whiskey known for its high-rye content. Using the Lincoln County Process, it’s filtered through charcoal. The result is a sublimely smooth, mellow, easy-drinking whiskey with hints of candied pecans, dried fruit, toasted marshmallows, vanilla, and oak.

Founder: Jeff and Jenny Pennington
Founded: 2011
Alcohol volume: 50%
Price range: from AUD$100

Shop at Davidson Reserve Shop at Wine Searcher

Best american craft whiskeys st george spirits baller american single malt
St. George Spirits Baller American Single Malt | Image: Supplied

5. St. George Spirits Baller American Single Malt

This is one of the most unique single malt whiskeys in the world. California’s St. George set out to make a Japanese-style single malt whiskey using 100% American-grown malted barley and they actually did it. First, it was pot distilled before being matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and French oak wine barrels. It was then filtered through maple charcoal before being finished in umeshu (a Japanese liqueur made from a tart stone fruit called ume) casks. The result is a fruity, slightly smoky whiskey with flavours like almond cookies, maple candy, tropical fruits, and vanilla sweetness.

Founder: Jörg Rupf
Founded: 1982
Alcohol volume: 47%
Price range: from AUD$280

Shop at St. George Spirits Shop at The Whisky Exchange Shop at The Whisky List

Best american craft whiskeys redwood empire pipe dream bourbon
Redwood Empire Pipe Dream Bourbon | Image: Supplied

6. Redwood Empire Pipe Dream Bourbon

If you’ve ever been to Northern California, there’s a good chance you’ve visited Redwood National Forest to behold the massive, majestic Redwood trees. The whiskey brand created in its name’s flagship whiskey is its Redwood Empire Pipe Dream Bourbon. This award-winning, high-corn bourbon is a blend of bourbons matured between four and twelve years. This results in a full-flavoured, complex whiskey with hints of candied pecans, peppery rye, vanilla beans, dried fruits, and rich, oaky wood. It’s sweet, warming, and well-suited for slow sipping on a cool evening.

Founder: Michael Bayes
Founded: 2015
Alcohol volume: 45%
Price range: from AUD$149

Shop at Redwood Empire Shop at Honey Barrel Shop at Master of Malt

Best american craft whiskeys few straight bourbon
FEW Straight Bourbon | Image: Supplied

7. FEW Straight Bourbon

This popular, award-winning straight bourbon comes from the folks at Evanston, Illinois’ FEW Spirits. It’s a three-grain bourbon made with sweet corn, barley, and spicy, peppery northern rye. Made in small batches, it’s matured in charred oak barrels. It’s well-known for its bold, complex flavour profile consisting of wintry spices, cracked black pepper, cinnamon, toffee candy, vanilla, and rich oak. It’s the slightly spicy, sweet, peppery whiskey guaranteed to appeal to both rye whiskey and classic bourbon fans alike.

Founder: Paul Hletko
Founded: 2011
Alcohol volume: 46.5%
Price range: from AUD$125

Shop at FEW Shop at Kent Street Cellars Shop at Nick’s

Best american craft whiskeys westland american single malt whiskey
Westland American Single Malt Whiskey | Image: Supplied

8. Westland American Single Malt Whiskey

Westland is one of the distilleries leading the way in the new age of American single malt whiskey. Its flagship expression is a five-malt barley mash bill (Washington Select Pale Malt, Munich Malt, Extra Special Malt, Pale Chocolate Malt, Brown Malt Washington Select Pale Malt, Munich Malt, Extra Special Malt, Pale Chocolate Malt, and Brown Malt) that’s fermented, distilled, and matured in new, charred American oak barrels. First released in 2014, this Pacific Northwest-produced single malt is highly rated and known for its notable flavours of dried cherries, toasted vanilla beans, rich oak, toffee, chocolate, and caramel.

Founder: Matt Hofmann
Founded: 2010
Alcohol volume: 46%
Price range: from AUD$99.99

Shop at Westland Shop at Dan Murphy’s

Best american craft whiskeys nelson brothers reserve bourbon
Nelson Brothers Reserve Bourbon | Image: Supplied

9. Nelson Brothers Reserve Bourbon

Brothers Andy and Charlie Nelson come from a family of distillers. Sadly, the family brand shut its doors back in 1909. More than 100 years later, in 2013, the brothers re-established the family name in the whiskey world by launching Belle Meade Bourbon and then opening Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery in Nashville in 2014. One of its most popular whiskeys is its Nelson Brothers Reserve Bourbon, a high-rye bourbon known for its flavours of pipe tobacco, orange peel, candied pecans, vanilla, caramel, and cracked black pepper.

Founder: Charlie and Andy Nelson
Founded: 2014
Alcohol volume: 53.9%
Price range: from AUD$189

Shop at Nelson Brothers Shop at Bourbon Brothers Shop at Blackwell

Best american craft whiskeys westward american single malt stout cask finish
Westward American Single Malt Stout Cask Finish | Image: Supplied

10. Westward American Single Malt Stout Cask Finish

Another big name in the American single malt whiskey world, Westward (not to be confused with the aforementioned Westland) make a variety of award-winning, noteworthy expressions. Our favourite is its Westward American Single Malt Stout Cask Finish. This 92-proof whiskey begins as a traditional single malt whiskey before being finished for a full year in casks that were seasoned with stout beer. This results in a bold, rich whiskey with notes of roasted grains, candied pecans, vanilla, and rich dark chocolate. It’s a complex, memorable whiskey that will make you rethink your ideas of what a single-malt whiskey should be.

We even made our own bottle of whiskey with Westward, check it out here.

Founder: Christian Krogstad
Founded: 2004
Alcohol volume: 45%
Price range: from AUD$139.95

Shop at Westward Shop at Dan Murphy’s

How Man of Many Chose the Best American Craft Whiskeys

With more than 10 years of experience reviewing whisky, beer, wine and other spirits, Man of Many’s team of editors have selected a list of the best American Craft Whiskeys. They’ve taken into account price, flavour, and availability when compiling this list, while also leaning on author Christopher Osburn who has more than 15 years of experience writing about alcohol and lifestyle topics. As our resident drinks expert, Chris is the perfect person to unpack these rare and hard-to-find drams.

Interested in more whisky stories? Here are a few stories to get you started:

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American Craft Whiskey FAQs

What is the best American craft whiskey to try for the first time?

Widow Jane 10-Year Bourbon is a great first whiskey for those looking to step into the craft scene. We love this one because of its flavour profile and value-for-money, expect dried cherries, maple candy, orange peels, and sweet vanilla.

What is the best strong American craft whiskey?

Nelson Brothers Reserve Bourbon is our favourite American craft whiskey for those looking for that extra 'burn'. It's bottled at 107.8 proof or 53.9% ABV. It kicks.