Jason Grossmiller of Arizona Distilling Company on SB 1397: "It's a Shame."

Categories: Chef and Tell

Evie Carpenter
Jason Grossmiller of Arizona Distilling Company in Tempe.
Jason Grossmiller
Co-Owner, Distiller
Arizona Distilling Company

Arizona Distilling Company seems to be making a habit of blazing trails for the state's fledgling micro-distilling scene. When it released Copper City Bourbon last June, it was the first legally distilled spirit made in the state since Prohibition. And with its Desert Durum Wheat Whiskey just last month, Arizona Distilling put forth the state's first ever grain-to-bottle spirit.

See Also: Inside the Arizona Distilling Co. with Jason Grossmiller (Slideshow)

The microdistillery comes courtesy of co-owners Rodney Hu, Jon Eagan, and Jason Grossmiller, who founded the company together in 2012. Grossmiller is the company's distiller, which means he's the one in charge of all the science that goes into every bottle of the company's bourbon, gin, and whiskey. And if you ever get a chance to see the operation, you'll realize just how big a task that is. Just about every aspect from distilling to bottling is done by hand inside a warehouse in Tempe.

Evie Carpenter
Arizona Distilling Company uses American oak barrels for its Copper City Bourbon.
Grossmiller got into the distilling business after leaving his career as a blackjack dealer.

"I was the cooler," Grossmiller says, referring to the dealer who comes to a table when guests are winning a little too much. "So needless to say, I wanted to do something else."

He and Hu considered opening a brewery but realized they didn't want to compete with local behemoths like Four Peaks. So instead Grossmiller bought a "hillbilly still," put it in his backyard, and started making his own agave spirit. He'd later go north to work with Dry Fly Distlling in Spokane, Washington, during the distillery's first whiskey release before cashing out his 401(k) and going all in on Arizona Distilling Company.

See also: How to Make Bourbon with Arizona Distilling Co.

But unlike Washington, a state that's home to dozens of micro-distilleries, Arizona has only three microdistilleries. As microbrewing did not so long ago, micro-distilling and craft spirit are taking hold across the country -- except, you might say, here.

Location Info


Arizona Distilling Co.

508 W. 1st St., Tempe, AZ

Category: General

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My Voice Nation Help

The final engrossed language of SB 1397 caps craft distilled spirits at "not more than twenty thousand gallons...in a calendar year." It's sitting on Jan Brewer's desk right now.

Caps suck, but they're there to protect the three tier distribution system. Hopefully the 20,000 gallon limit is better.

Cheers for Arizona's growing craft beer, wine and craft spirits industries!

Francisco Cortez
Francisco Cortez

Look like I'll be supporting the Arizona Distilling Company

Laura Ory
Laura Ory

By the way, if anyone wants to try these I know they have them at The Gladly...I'm sure more do too!

Steve Dreiseszun
Steve Dreiseszun

Why, in a state where lawmakers trumpet personal liberty, free markets and a reduction of bureaucratic obstacles does this happen? Because protectionism for the big guys is the reality here. $$$ makes the policy decisions.

Laura Ory
Laura Ory

Being considered a craft distillery should be about the method...not limiting production and ability to grow. Don't hold a small business down, AZ!

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