A handful of New York state craft distilleries is launching a new, regional whiskey, “Empire Rye.”
Christopher Gerling, an enologist and craft-beverage expert, says that local sourcing and geographical identification are key ingredients to Empire Rye and other regional food and drink.
“Craft beverages and local sourcing of raw materials go hand in hand. For many of these small producers, the first step has been to imitate a style that’s distributed nationally – wineries make Chardonnay and breweries have west-coast IPAs. These products can demonstrate quality but also attract casual consumers as well as enthusiasts.
“For long-term success, there needs to be differentiation from what’s available anywhere. You need to find something unique in what can be grown locally to create a product with the most authentic story. From Champagne to Manchego cheese, the classic global foods and drinks relate to the specific agricultural characteristics of the regions they represent.”