Seth Fox (in photo by Ed Zurga for the Times) opened his distillery at the perfect time, reports Susan Saulny. "With its abundance of grain and fruit, the Midwest stands poised to capitalize on the confluence of trends unlike any other region and could, in time, come to rival California, currently the leader in small-scale distilling, experts said," she writes. "Small, private distilleries are opening at a rate of about 10 to 20 a year. There are about 100 across the country. Some are attached to wineries, restaurants and breweries, or, increasingly, are located on farms."
To capitalize on the boom, agricultural states are easing decades-old laws regarding distilleries, and the micro-distilleries — which offer products such pumpkin-infused vodka — are popping up in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and elsewhere. The products are not the only draw, Saulny writes, since the stills themselves have become tourist magnets. (Read more)