craft distilleries

Ah, rum, with its legendary pirates bellowing for grog, tiki umbrellas peeking up from neon-colored cocktails, tequila-spiked punch at college parties. Rum, universally imbibed and yet often scorned. Most rum is "the distilled essence of industrial waste," in the words of Wayne Curtis, author of And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails. That waste is molasses, the byproduct of sugar production.

Courtesy of Dry Fly Distilling in Spokane, Washington.

A Hood River distillery has the top-selling brand of liquor, according to sales numbers released by the state of Oregon. But other craft distillers say those hot numbers don’t reflect their experience.

Before liquor sales were privatized in Washington state in mid-2012, small local distilleries were featured in state-owned shops there and throughout the Northwest. Now, top craft distillers say national brands are hogging the shelf space in Washington, the biggest market in the region.