Roots From Earlier Civilization
The history of craft spirits is one that is never universal, but rather a by-product of local tales and stories depending on the area that they are made, at least when speaking about the contemporary times. When viewing its history, you will find out that production of craft spirits has gone through a series of regulations under the law as opposed to the larger corporations that make the more popular brands. Everyday, experts believe that new craft spirits makers emerge, making it more difficult to actually map out its timeline and story.
The making of craft spirits can be traced back as far as the time of the ancient Greeks, when they experimented on mixing liquids that came from the idea of distilling wine. Since the result of these processes was seen as somewhat intoxicating, it was during this era when making spirits was associated with forbidden magic.
Craft spirits distillation was also rendered not just for the purpose of social drinking. During the dawn of the second century B.C. in Egypt, the earlier makers had the goal to obtain substances from nature and use these for healing practices, more than the other goal of creating a beverage for leisure. For instance, ancient Greek sailors also tried evaporating drinking water from seawater.
In ancient Persia, which was then the seat of medicine during that time, distilling became a formal practice in medical schools.
Albertus Magnus (1193-1280) was the first to clearly described the process which made possible the manufacture of distilled spirits.
Arnaldus of Villanova (d. 1315), a professor of medicine, is credited with coining the term aqua vitae. ‘We call it [distilled spirit] aqua vitae [life water], and this name is remarkably suitable, since it is really a water of immortality. It prolongs life, clears away ill-humors, revives the heart, and maintains youth.’
The art of craft spirits making only grew unprecedented rates, and expanded to be commercialized in the 17th century, along with the massive production breakthroughs of the other types of liquors like whiskey.
Contemporary History and Challenges
Today, the business of craft spirits is growing and with more facilities joining in the field, it is also able to contribute to the economy. As what has been discussed earlier, sharing the history of this beverage may depend on the area or the region it is produced. You will be surprised as to how distinct the stories are.
The most approximate to the actual definition of craft spirits is just new and contemporary. One of the first craft distilleries that produce such products only came about in the 20th century. Distilling at home remains very strict, also because of the past accounts of “exploding stills and accidental poisonings,”.
The future of this sector is bright, yet interestingly enough, still under construction. Associations are clear about defining a drink so it can be categorized under this group. However, unlike before, regulations are now more lenient in favor of those who want to share their mix.
Apart from the scope of the production, the ingredients from which they are made are also a big issue. Within the craft movement, using industrially produced spirits is controversial. Some ‘blenders,’ as they are sometimes called, market their products as if they produced them grain-to-glass.
The recent Covid-19 pandemic has been a devastating blow to much of the Craft Spirits market and will take some time to recover from.
In spite of these challenges in place, the sector is growing. Predictions by craft spirits advocates indicate that the volume of production will continue to increase greatly globally and in Canada as more and more Craft Distilleries are being built.