Arkansas Distillers Guild

Arkansas Distillers Guild

The Arkansas Distillers Guild is an association of distillers working together to promote the local, Arkansas distillery scene. Meet the distillers in Arkansas that make up the guild and learn more about their mission. Let’s start with the history of distilling spirits in Arkansas goes all the way back to the nineteenth century, when spirits were mainly distilled for consumption at home. Some smaller distillers would provide spirits for drinking establishments nearby, while some opened taverns in their own homes. Larger operations didn’t start emerging until the end of the 1800s.

At that time, there were many distilleries to be found all throughout Arkansas, but of course the introduction of prohibition in the early 20th centuries stopped legal distilling in Arkansas for many years. But in the 21st century, Arkansas has returned to its former distilling glory, and the Arkansas Distillers Guild was set up in 2021.

Let’s take a look at some of the distilleries you can find in Arkansas today, as well as the laws and licensing requirements and fees around distilling.

Butler Creek Distilling

Butler Creek Distilling was founded in December 2019 by Vicki Schneider and Greg Schneider who spent the previous 10 years running Railway Winery in Beaver. To counteract the frequent flood risks that would result in crop loss in their vineyard, they made the decision to turn their attention to spirits.

Core Brewing & Distilling Co

Core Brewing & Distilling Co. was established in 2010, and have been brewing beer in Northwest Arkansas ever since! Their focus has now moved to other beverages, particularly hard seltzers, and they have also introduced a range of ready-to-drink cocktails called the 25th State Craft Cocktails.

Crystal Ridge Distillery

Crystal Ridge Distillery opened its doors in March 2020, and is owned by Danny Bradley who received a PhD in poultry science, and has a background in poultry nutrition before he opened the distillery with his son, Asher, and wife, Mary. At the distillery they produce bourbon, moonshine, vodka, and whiskey.

Their wood-aged product comes from other distilleries but is sold under the Crystal Ridge label. Meanwhile, their non-aged product is made on site, and Bradley is particularly proud of their moonshine. Their nostalgic aesthetic of their public tasting rooms makes Crystal Ridge a worthy place to visit when walking down Central Avenue.

Delta Dirt Distillery

 

Delta Dirt Distillery was founded in 2021 by Donna and Harvey Williams, who run a very hands-on operation, alongside their son, Thomas. The family have been in Phillips County residents for generations, and have a lot of pride in the downtown Helena area. Their corn and sweet potato-based vodka, Sweet Blend, is a favorite among Arkansas vodka drinkers.

Fox Trail Distillery

Fox Trail Distillery is taking Northwest Arkansas by storm! They’re known for their cold brew coffee liqueur named Oak & Bean, gin made with Ozark botanicals, and yellow corn-based, small-batch vodka.

Fox Trail Distillery has been open to the public since April 2019, and visitors are treated to mixology classes and bespoke cocktail recipes. It’s a great place to visit in the Pinnacle Hills area, as it’s surrounded by lots of nightlife and restaurants.

Hot Springs Distillery

Hot Springs Distilling is a small Arkansas brewery that produces Spa City Vodka, Falls Creek White Whiskey, and Bear Clap Bourbon, and is owned by Keith Atkinson and his son, Scott. The father and son were inspired by a vacation to Scotland in 2012.

The small-batch whiskeys they sampled in Scotland inspired them to tour more distillers at home, and Hot Springs Distilleries was founded in 2018, with their tasting room opening in June 2021.

Postmaster Spirits

The former Newport post office is home to the Postmaster Spirits distillery, a building dating back to 1915. As such, it is brimming with history and beautiful architecture, and – some believe – ghosts! Owner of the distillery, Ross Jones, began distilling when he and partner Phillip Finch purchased Old Ed Ward’s distillery and moved the operation to its new location. Postmaster Spirits became controversial when it released an orange-based vodka called Trump Tonic, followed by a peach-based version named Mmm Peach.

What Are The State Fees For Alcohol In Arkansas?

As well as traditional sales taxes, alcoholic beverages such as beer, liquor and wine are subject to excise taxes on a state level as well as a federal one. Every state has implemented excise taxes on alcohol, as well as on motor fuels such as gasoline, and also on cigarettes.

Arkansas’ standard sales tax of 6.5% is also applicable to liquor purchases, while sellers of liquor have a responsibility to pay a state excise tax of $2.50 per gallon, as well as federal excise taxes, for all liquor sold.

What Are The Licensing Requirements For Distillers In Arkansas?

You need several licenses to legally create spirits in the state of Arkansas. These are federal licenses, but state requirements also apply as well.

You must put in a request for a manufacturing spirits license, and this can be submitted with a TTB 5110.41 Basic permit. The TTB 5100.24 Distilled spirit plant permit allows you to manufacture spirits, but an extra license is needed to purchase a distillery and the necessary equipment.

What Are The Distillery Restrictions And Laws In Arkansas?

Current federal laws provide you the right to purchase and operate a distillery to produce non-alcoholic products. This gives you the legal right to own a distillery, and create, possess, or sell the products made there. It also allows you to distill water, create essential oils and other non-alcoholic fluids, and create fuel as long as you have the appropriate licenses.

When it comes to possessing stills and moonshine in Arkansas, you could be liable for hefty fines if you’re found to be in possession of spirits that haven’t been taxed, and if you’re found transporting these spirits, then your vehicle will be taken from you.

Founding Distilleries in the Arkansas Distillers Guild

The Arkansas Distillers Guild Nonprofit was established on April 15, 2021 by the following founders. According to OpenCorporates their status went from active to inactive on May 29, 2022.

  • Crystal Ridge Distillery, Inc- Director
  • Fox Trail Distillery, LLC- Agent
  • Martin Tinnin- Incorporator
  • Martin Tinnin- Organizer
  • Rock Town Distillery, Inc- President

Final Thoughts

We hope our article on distilleries in Arkansas has inspired you to support the local distilleries, and even take a tour of those who have tasting rooms or who are open to the public. Arkansas has a rich history of independent, small-batch distilleries, and while this slowed down during the era of prohibition, Arkansas has returned to its former glory today!

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