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