Register | Forgot Your Password? | Close

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona is home to a thriving beer- making industry and winemaking is on the rise but now a Tempe company is trying to lead a bourbon boom in the state.

Arizona Distilling Company is pumping out Copper City Bourbon. What separates Copper City from the big bourbon makers? For starters, it is uniquely Arizona.

"Hands on, handcrafted, small batches. Artisan feel and definitely smoother," said Matt Cummins, one of four partners in the venture. And while many people associate bourbon with Kentucky or Tennessee, bourbon plays a big part of the state's Wild West history.

That's why the label's design has a decidedly Old West feel, said Jason Grossmiller, another of the partners.

"We thought about this long and hard. We want to be Arizona. We wanted that classic look," Grossmiller said.

Rodney Hu, another partner said of bourbon's history, "It was one of the only liquors on the shelves when you're talking about the saloons. It would be beer and bourbon, not vodka or gin. We've been approached to take Copper City bourbon to other states but we want to make sure we can handle in-state first. The feedback we're getting from customers and the bars has been really good."

Arizona Distilling may be the first to produce bourbon in the Valley, it almost certainly won't be the last: in-state liquor production is expected to grow quickly.

Jon Eagan with the distillery said it's a natural progression.

"We saw that opportunity. The beer-making process is more labor intensive and the microbrew segment is about 10 percent of the overall market. Microdistilling is a very, very small segment of the market but it's on a similar growth trajectory that microbrewing has experienced over the past two decades."

Jim Cross, Reporter

share this story:
Attention Comment Users: We have recently changed our comments boards.
We would like you to be part of the conversation and The Voice of Arizona by logging in with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing KTAR (Arizona Sports) account members will need to create a Disqus account or use one of the aforementioned social media logins. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus

World Class Arizona

  • Dignity Health

    World Class People. World Class Company. Excellent care, delivered with compassion, for all in need.

Voice For A Better Arizona

  • Family in Focus

    KTAR spends the week taking a look at the issues a modern Arizona family faces.