Where to Sip: Nevada’s Best Distilleries
Looking to really get into the “spirit” of the Silver State? Well! Eat some snacks, drink some water, and pull up a stool, because there are a lot of ways to sip away the days, thanks to Nevada’s unrivaled lineup of top-shelf distilleries.
From one of the world’s only everything-grown-right-there estate distilleries to easy-access Las Vegas distilleries, unique Reno elixir operations, and beyond — and no matter what you prefer in your tumbler, snifter, or shot glass — discover where to dive into Nevada’s distillery scene.
Sip your way around the Silver State, one only-in-Nevada taste at a time.
Nevada Estate Distilleries
Frey Ranch Farmers + Distillers
There are nearly 2,000 distilleries in the United States, but only a couple of them can claim to be estate distilleries—meaning everything that goes into the product is grown by (or on the property) of the people making the spirit. And one of them is right here in Nevada.
About an hour east of Reno and Carson City in the agriculture hub of Fallon—“The Oasis of Nevada”—the Frey family has parlayed five generations of grain farming know-how into a top-shelf whiskey operation. These self-described “whiskey farmers,” led by the husband-and-wife team, Colby and Ashley Frey, have made waves with their 90-proof, non-chill filtered, single-barrel straight bourbon whiskey (three-time gold winner at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition) and single-barrel straight rye whiskey (2021 double gold winner) with kicks as profound as their flavors. Swing by on Saturdays from noon to 4 PM for tastings with the Frey fam.
Las Vegas Distilleries
Downtown Las Vegas and Henderson
Las Vegas Distillery
Artisan Booze District
Lost Spirits Distillery
Nevada H&C Distilling Co.
Desert Cane Distillery
In a place that used to be nicknamed Sin City, you’re never far from a place that serves up the hard stuff. But due to harder laws favoring alcohol distributors (rumored to have been set in stone by the mob way back when), there were no distilleries in the city—or state—until 2011, when Transylvanian transplant George Racz boldly opened Las Vegas Distillery. The Racz-penned Nevada Craft Distillery Bill was signed into law in 2013, opening the floodgates for new Nevada distilleries, breweries, winemakers, and other craft boozeries to get in on the action. Today, Las Vegas Distillery produces whiskey, bourbon, vodka, gin, “rumskey,” legal moonshine, and makes a perfect first stop in the now-burgeoning Artisan Booze District in Henderson—also home to several breweries and wineries—located just 20 minutes off the Strip.
For the distillery tour experience of your dreams—that is, if your dreams are wild enough—head for Lost Spirits Distillery. Get yourself to the massive, avant-garde paradise that is AREA15, check in at the counter, and let a rickshaw driver whisk(ey) you off to a surrealist, multi-building tour through immersive art installations and themed tasting rooms—complete with a wild “interpretation of a vaudeville show on the most intimate stage in Vegas.” Your ticket promises up to five exotic spirits tastings and, as an added bonus, a viewing of what they proudly claim is “the world’s 4th-best animatronic bird show.”
Although the die-hard Nevadans behind Nevada H&C Distilling Co. have been quietly sweeping competitions for years with their Silver State-themed Smoke Wagon Bourbon Whiskey and Silver Dollar American Vodka, their new tasting room—opened in early 2022—holds a different honor: being the first dedicated distillery/tasting room located in Downtown Las Vegas. That qualification is important, because, technically, the title of straight-up “first” goes (appropriately) to The Mob Museum, which serves its thematically fitting, house-distilled, Prohibition-style moonshine and beer in its basement speakeasy.
Worth the Trip: If you’re thirsty while venturing west along the Death Valley Rally road trip, be sure to stop into Desert Cane Distillery, a place that’s putting the rum in the town of Pahrump since 2017 with several traditional and ambitious flavors, all grown—as the name suggests—with sugar cane grown in the Pahrump Valley, just an hour west of Las Vegas.
Distilleries in Reno
The Depot Craft Brewery Distillery
10 Torr Distilling & Brewing
Seven Troughs Distilling Company
Forsaken River Spirits Co.
Verdi Local Distillery
High Mark Distillery & Barrel House
This classic drinking town was sliding cocktails across the bar by the hundreds a full generation before Las Vegas joined the party. Thanks to Nevada’s artisan booze explosion of the 2010s, Reno now boasts several distilleries, each serving up their own memorable, small-batch, locally sourced concoctions.
The Depot kicked things off by restoring a 1910-built railroad building and installing Reno’s first combination brewery/distillery, utilizing northern Nevada grains in their whiskeys and gins, and filling their restaurant menu with fresh, local ingredients. About a block away you’ll find Ferino Distillery—masters of Italian liqueurs, cordials, and digestivos inspired by owner Joe Cannella’s Sicilian roots, which the expert staff are proud to show you, including in cocktail form.
10 Torr Distilling & Brewing stands out as one of the world’s only makers of vacuum-distilled spirits, ideal for bringing out the flavors in their London dry-style gin, vodkas (including an adventurous habañero and jalapeño style—amazing for cocktails with a kick), and coffee liqueur, which all go down great with live bands playing inside or games in the dog-friendly patio.
Travel Nevada Pro Tip
Care for some authentic tastes of the Silver State in Downtown Reno? Do some minor sleuthing to locate the speakeasy operated by Seven Troughs Distilling Company—named for a famous mining district and modern-day ghost town—whose 19th-century approach yields spirits true to frontier standards, including “an authentic recreation of Nevada’s first legal whiskey.” Or hit up Forsaken River Spirits Co. for a gin made from 13 different local botanicals and herbs, smoked rye, and genever (a Dutch-originated cross between whiskey and gin you have to taste to believe).
For more adventurous flavors, visit Verdi Local Distillery’s rustic, intimate bar, nestled against the toe of the Sierra Nevada, offering whiskeys infused with flavors of coffee, apple cinnamon, peanut butter, and even garlic. Or head to High Mark Distillery & Barrel House for Blind Cat mash moonshine, Apple Jack (and Apple Jane, its lighter-proof “younger sister”), and vodka—all old family recipes made with Nevada grains or apples grown exclusively for these old-school ‘stillers.
Nevada’s Best Bottle Shops
Reno, Gardnerville, and Las Vegas
Battle Born Wine
Craft Wine & Beer
You can find plenty of liquor stores in Nevada in just about every town. But we feel morally obligated to let you know about a few standout spirit emporiums where the expertise is as impressive as their selection.
In a quaint old building that’s been an integral part of Carson Valley history for more than a century, sommelier and Gardnerville native Troy Phillips has been curating fine wines, whiskeys (and whiskys—if you don’t know the difference, he’ll happily explain), all manner of spirits, craft beers, and far beyond. Although some eyebrows were raised when Troy opened Battle Born Wine in 2008—at just about an ounce and a half past legal drinking age—it didn’t take long for his knowledge and ability to zero in on any individual tastes to convince locals, a wide radius of Nevadans, Lake Tahoe visitors (30 min away), and more to make Troy their personal “spirit guide.”
An hour north, Midtown Reno seduces spirit sippers to more cocktail lounges than you can shake a jigger at. But if you’re looking to take something home (or to your room), swing into Craft Wine & Beer. Opened in 2011, Ty Martin and the rest of the Craft crew have been the Biggest Little City’s most discerning purveyors of exquisite everything, both in bottles and at the intimate bar. If you’re thirsty while hopping around soaking up Midtown Reno’s bohemian vibes, don’t miss this spot.
Meanwhile, just a few blocks from the Las Vegas Strip, the palate-perceiving superheroes that have run the Whisky Attic since 2005 offer an educational journey through the history and modern landscape of the world’s finest whisky, one taste at a time, in what may be the most amply and carefully curated collection of brown spirits on this planet—perfect for couples and even large groups—with something surprising for every class of connoisseur. Each experience includes a private consultation with a whisky expert, a lesson and training “in the sensory perception,” and (of course) a tasting of some of the best whiskys you may ever sip.