Heads up, Art in the Age fans: If you want one last sip of Snap, Root, Sage or Rhubarb, get to a liquor store ASAP.
The Colonial Era-inspired line of spirits from Philly-based Quaker City Mercantile, which had gained widespread popularity since their introduction in 2009 and become staple ingredients on cocktail menus across the city, is being permanently discontinued. Whatever bottles are currently out in stores and bars are the last ones ever, so “collect them while you can,” suggested the company in social media posts announcing the news.
But despite the sadness some devotees might feel, there’s a good reason behind the cutoff.
Although they were often referred to as “local” products, Art in the Age booze was never actually made in Philadelphia — or anywhere nearby. All four of the botanically infused liquors were contract distilled at a facility in Los Angeles, so the “local” classification they often enjoyed wasn’t entirely accurate.
That will no longer be the case.
Not only does QCM now operate its own distillery — called Tamworth Distilling, it’s in New Hampshire, where founder Steven Grasse’s mother’s family settled in 1637 (his father’s side came to Philly in 1708) — it also recently formed a partnership with New Liberty Distillery in Kensington. Going forward, all Art in the Age spirits will be made “from scratch” in New Hampshire and bottled at New Liberty, which is run by Bluecoat Gin creator Rob Cassell.
Per QCM: “The world changed, and so our business model changed too.”
Under new legislation that allows Pennsylvania distilling license holders to sell their products at up to two off-site locations, the Art in the Age storefront in Old City will become one of New Liberty’s satellites. The retail shop will be transformed into a tasting room and liquor store, and be the only brick-and-mortar outlet selling Art in the Age creations (other than the New Hampshire distillery). The spirits will also be available for online ordering, to be shipped anywhere within Pennsylvania.
Booze sold at the shop will include existing Tamworth Distilling products, New Liberty’s line of Kinsey whiskies and what QCM told Philly.com will be “a new liquid offering every 30 to 60 days.”
What exactly will those new spirits be? The first, dubbed Pennsylvania Dutch Malt Whiskey, is already available for tasting at the shop. As for the future products, Cassell deferred to QCM, which didn’t respond to a request for comment. However, the company did tease on Instagram that “familiar flavors” from Root, Snap, Sage and Rhubarb are likely to make appearances.