February 2021: 25 New Jersey Distilleries

The history of distilling in New Jersey dates to Colonial times. In fact, America’s first distilling license was issued in 1780 to Laird & Company, a family business in the Scobeyville section of Colts Neck. The bottom fell out of the industry during Prohibition, but these days, the Garden State is back on the distilling map. For that, we can thank enabling legislation signed by Governor Chris Christie in 2013. That same year, New Jersey’s first new distillery, Jersey Artisan, went into operation in Fairfield. Since then, a steady stream of distilleries have begun producing spirits like vodka, gin, bourbon, rum and brandy. As befits New Jersey, each operation has its own personality and interests. Some source ingredients locally. Several, located on farms, grow some of their own. This month’s cover story introduces all of the state’s active distillers—plus the venerable Laird & Company, which still blends, ages and bottles its products in Scobeyville.

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