Distilling the South

A Guide to Southern Craft Liquors and the People Who Make Them

By Kathleen Purvis

Featuring Six Liquor Trails through Eleven States

208 pp., 7 x 9.5, 30 color plates, 6 maps, appends., index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-4061-7
    Published: May 2018
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-4062-4
    Published: April 2018

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Intrepid Kathleen Purvis traveled extensively throughout the South to create this first-ever guide to the region’s burgeoning craft-liquor movement, capturing her journey in the creation of six original Liquor Trails. As fascinating as the craft itself are the distillers’ experiences and backstories. Purvis chronicles them with verve and insight, bringing her knowledge of southern foodways and traditions to bear on the flourishing of the distiller’s art. She shows how new entrepreneurs, part of the all-American food and drink renaissance, are positioning themselves to find both the inspiration and land ranging from West Virginia to Louisiana for their farm- or farm-ingredients-based distilleries. They are creating new and sought-after bourbons, whiskies, rums, gins, and much more. Their cordials are flavored with pumpkins, raspberries, peaches, and other local products; not long ago, a West Virginian’s black walnut liqueur won the prize for the best nut cordial at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Driven by legacy and passion, today’s distillers are creating a new southern tradition--one that you can now explore with an inimitable writer. Each Liquor Trail covers one or several states and features particularly worthy distilleries that Purvis has personally selected. The trails also feature maps, a complete listing of distilleries in each territory, on-site photographs, and some dynamite drink recipes direct from the distillers.

About the Author

Kathleen Purvis is an award-winning food writer, food editor for the Charlotte Observer, and the author of two cookbooks, Bourbon and Pecans.
For more information about Kathleen Purvis, visit the Author Page.


"This handy reference book is a collection of trail maps to distilleries, recipes for cocktails, and interviews with the men and women who are leading the craft spirits charge throughout the South."--Garden & Gun

“Takes readers on a boozy tour. . . . features six liquor trails through 11 states, insights into their history and tips for getting the most out of tasting.”--Flavors

"Traversing eleven states, Purvis explores both local hotspots and off-the-beaten-path distilleries with a focus on the micro-regional styles that make each state's spirits unique, like the 'farm to flask' distillers who partner with local growers for truly homegrown hooch."--The Local Palate

"Distilling the South is like a logbook on a road trip with a friend, with everything one needs to know to find and explore Southern distilleries of all kinds. Each trail is replete with backstories about their inspiration, and how each one fits into Southern foodways, highlighting the people distilling."--Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“I maintain a strict personal policy that if Kathleen Purvis guides me to a drink, I drink it. She's never steered me wrong (especially when it comes to bourbon), and I'm thrilled that everyone will now get to benefit from her rigorous, wise, witty road map.”--Kat Kinsman, author of Hi, Anxiety: Life with a Bad Case of Nerves

“Kathleen Purvis offers a timely introduction to the remarkable flourishing of craft distilling and the wide range of spirits and styles that are available in the South today. She provides fascinating context for the rise of the craft movement in the twenty-first century, engagingly telling the stories of the distillers and their businesses. But Purvis also offers still more: a unique way for readers to explore the southern landscape and culture.”--Robert F. Moss, author of Southern Spirits: 400 Years of Drinking in the American South