Bourbon may be synonymous with Kentucky, but Pittsburgh is on the trail to becoming synonymous with vodka & rum. The local craft beer and craft distillery scene has blossomed in recent years, and found itself in the top-tier of the world’s vodkas and rums — all thanks to the authentic heart of Boyd & Blair Vodka Distillery located on Route 8 in Glenshaw.
When Boyd & Blair opened 10 years ago, they were only the 2nd distillery in Pennsylvania since the end of Prohibition, and the 34th one in all of the USA. Since then it’s like we can’t cross a bridge without bumping into one, but no one does it quite like Boyd & Blair. Check them out on Saturdays when they are open to the public for free tours and tastings from 12pm-6pm.
Boyd & Blair has perfected turning potatoes into potables. They make their own mash out of Pennsylvania-grown potatoes (mash potatoes!), use locally-sourced (non-PWSA!) water, and they screenprint their bottles in-house. Each bottle gets hand-filled, hand-inspected, and hand-sealed. It’s a small operation, but somehow they churn out enough bottles of the finest spirits to service local restaurants and bars, 41 of our 50 states, and 4 other countries.
Their smooth Potato Vodka is a three-time ranked Best Vodka of the 120 Top Spirits in the World, and their 2x copper pot-stilled BLY Rum Silver recently received a 95 rating in the 2018 Ultimate Spirits Challenge — which, as they’ll tell you, “It’s like the Oscars but for alcohol.”
They pride themselves on being as locally-sourced as possible, with both their potatoes (for vodka) and molasses (for rum) sourced in Pennsylvania. They also try to be as sustainable as possible – reusing water, incorporating the distilling process “heads” into cleaning products for themselves and local restaurants, and are working on finding a use for the “tails”. As for their “hearts”, well, they pour that into each and every bottle.
We are in love with their spirits and even more in love with their story and insta-worthy atmosphere. From the outside Boyd & Blair sits in disguise as the Glenshaw Glass Factory, but on the inside you step out of the purely industrial and into industrial chic. Their story is one that’s “all heart”, but we’ll let you take the tour to learn why.
It’s a laid-back, no-pressure, please-sample-everything, cocktails-only-$6 vibe. As if that weren’t enough they offer tours hourly and encourage you to grab a cocktail-to-go as you walk around their humble do-it-all space.
We visited the space on a typical rainy Pittsburgh day, but in nicer weather you’ll find a food truck right outside helping you sip your too-delicious-to-stop cocktails in their simple biergarten-style space. Our only complaint is that we can’t chill there every night.
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