Food Scene

When the Spirits Move You: Tempe Distilleries

Written by Angela Muniz

With a now-established wine and craft beer scene, Arizona’s distilleries and their small batch spirits are becoming the state’s next wave of innovative and artisanal beverages. Tempe is home to two distilleries within three miles of each other. It makes for an easy day of spirit-hopping and their mix of tasting rooms, tours and craft cocktails provide an intoxicating perspective on this emerging industry.

Adventurous Stills

2215 E. Fifth St., Tempe | 480-292-8770

A stop at Adventurous Stills lives up to its name. Started by a trio of friends who enjoyed spending time outdoors, they brought that same sense of discovery to spirit making. Not ones to take the path more traveled, they crowd-sourced funding for the endeavor and then hand-built their still and distilling equipment. The Adventurous team started producing in 2015 and opened the tasting room in an industrial area of Tempe two years later. Its portfolio of gin, vodka, whiskey, rum and bourbon are named for popular Arizona hiking destinations. In addition to their own line, they also offer a “Taste of Arizona” flight with other locally produced spirits. The tasting room is open Thursdays to Saturdays. Tours are offered on Fridays and Saturdays every hour.

Adventurous Stills Tempe barrels credit Adventurous Stills
Adventurous Stills Tempe barrels credit Adventurous Stills

Arizona Distilling Co.

601 W. University Dr., Tempe | 602-391-3889

The team behind Arizona Distilling Co. has been producing spirits since 2013 and now boasts an award-winning portfolio that includes gin, vodka and Copper City Bourbon, Arizona’s first legally made whiskey since the prohibition. Whiskey lovers should also try the Desert Durum Wheat, made from Arizona grains.The distillery moved to larger digs in 2018 and now includes a tasting room and lounge nicknamed the “Old Walrus.” It’s a nod to Arizona’s first governor, George W.P. Hunt, whose portrait hangs over the bar where, in addition to spirit flights, there are cocktails crafted by bartender partner Micah Olsen and a new bites menu. Open Wednesday to Sunday, tours and tastings are offered on Saturdays and should be scheduled 24 hours in advance.

AZ Distilling Co bar and bottles
AZ Distilling Co
Written Tempe Contributor