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Stocking that bar cart you impulse-bought at the height of the pandemic just got a bit harder, thanks to a mandate issued by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board over global supply chain disruptions.
The PLCB, aka the state org that runs the Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores, has imposed a 2-bottle-per-day purchasing limit on a variety of upscale champagnes, cognacs, tequilas, and whiskeys.
All told, 43 liquor listings are affected, and the restriction is expected to last indefinitely. Some of the restricted bottles are things you’d save for life’s special occasions — think Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot or Moët & Chandon. But a lot of them are popular spirits: Patron and Don Julio tequila, for example, or Buffalo Trace, Baker’s, and Blanton’s bourbon. Even Jack Daniels is on the list.
Granted, you might not find use for more than two bottles of any of these things in a given day. So will the rationing affect most customers popping into Wine and Spirits shops? Probably not. But the limits will make it harder for restaurants and bars to stock up.
“Supply and labor issues are not helping with [pandemic] recovery,” reads a statement from the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, according to the AP. “We hope the legislature will take all of this into consideration when they return to Harrisburg. The industry still needs help moving forward.”
Supply chain hiccups are affecting consumer goods around the world, from clothing and children’s toys to ketchup, but for the beverage industry, it’s a case of cruel timing. Bars are trying to return to semi-normal operations, but glass and aluminum shortages are making it difficult for upscale brands to manufacture their products with the same top-shelf presentation.
However, not all is lost, even if you do find yourself with a need for a big bunch of nice booze. Philadelphia is home to quite a few spiritsmakers producing fantastic products — and they’re allowed to sell as many bottles as they want.
Here’s a list of local small-batch distilleries that will sell direct to consumers, no purchase limits necessary.
In Philly proper
1603 E. Passyunk Ave., South Philly
With a distillery nestled in a Pottstown industrial complex and a bottle shop-slash-bar on East Passyunk, this is a catch-all purveyor of specialty whiskey, vodka, and the occasional rum or gin. One standout offering? The El Murciélago, a 90-proof whiskey aged in old tequila barrels for an aromatic and spicy sip.
1431 Cadwallader St., Kensington
This Kensington-based distillery (which also doubles as an intimate, rustic wedding venue) celebrates Philadelphia’s rye whiskey roots with its Kinsey label of semi-sweet well-aged libations.
25 E. Allen St., Northern Liberties
When this copper still house started cranking out booze in 2005, it became the first craft distillery in Pennsylvania since Prohibition. Now it’s a local liquor phenom thanks to Bluecoat American Dry Gin, whose hints of juniper and caramel earned it three double gold medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. More of a whiskey person? Try the barrel-finished gin, you won’t be disappointed.
1908 E. Passyunk Ave., South Philly
Though limoncello isn’t on the list of rationed liquors, you should probably be buying it from here anyway. Run by South Philly native and former bootlegger Joanie Verrati, the East Passyunk shop sells a small line of water and cream based ‘cellos in flavors ranging from chocolate to banana and mango.
2628 Martha St., Kensington
Red Brick Craft Distillery is home to the strongest whiskey on this list: a barrel strength single malt that sits between 108 and 116-proof, depending on the batch. But don’t worry, they have a lineup of weaker malts and rums, too.
Can’t make it to their Kensington headquarters? Red Brick retails at various farmers markets around the area; check Instagram for details.
3237 Amber St., Kensington
Likely one of just two Latino-owned distilleries in the United States, Strivers’ Row opened last April with a twist on the malt liquor. “Dominicans don’t really drink whiskey,” owner Francisco Garcia told Billy Penn, so he made his own: the Papa Juan, a corn whiskey infused with barks, spices, and honeys that pays homage to Dominican staple mamajuana.
376 Shurs Ln., Manayunk
Located in Manayunk, this outfit distills one spirit and one spirit only — the Liberty Gin, which uses a simple mix of juniper, cardamon, coriander, and lemon peel to flavor gimlets and martinis across the mid-Atlantic region.
Outside Philly — but close enough for a day trip
100 Bridge St., Phoenixville
575 W. 3rd St., Lansdale
350 Warwick Rd., Elverson
925 Canal St., Bristol
31 Apple Tree Ln., Pipersville
35 N. Cedar St., Lititz
417 W. Grant St., Lancaster