While growing numbers of brands bring out bottles each June intended to honor and support LGBTQIA+ communities, it’s important to recognize the many distilleries and spirits brands owned and/or run by queer-identifying professionals all year long.
Here are nine producers and the spirits they make, ideal for pouring during Pride Month and every other time of year.
Located in New York’s Catskill Mountains region, this distillery opened in 2019. Its range includes the Pollinator line of spirits, including a rye whiskey finished with wildflower honey, the distillery’s best seller, and Beespoke gin, which is flavored with what the distillery calls “pollinator-friendly botanicals” like milkweed. (Founder/head distiller Claire Marin is a longtime beekeeper, and currently tends more than 300 beehives.)
The distillery also hosts monthly events, with proceeds benefitting Catskills Pride.
One dollar out of the sale of each bottle of its flagship Live Proud Vodka goes to nationally recognized civil rights charities.
“After being in the food and beverage business for many years, we were looking for a way to give back to causes dear to us,” says CEO Beth Hohlier.
Coming in June 2022: a dill pickle-flavored vodka, ideal for Bloody Marys.
Under the leadership of Master Distiller Marlene Holmes, a veteran of Kentucky’s Jim Beam, this Texas Hill Country craft distillery makes whiskey bottlings including a complex Port Finished Rye tinged with toffee and red fruit.
This purveyor of rice-based Japanese shochu was cofounded by Bruce Bozzi, who leveraged his ties to the hospitality (he’s a former executive VP at the Palm Restaurant Group) and entertainment industries to launch the brand in late 2021 along with friend and co-founder Sondra Baker.
Bozzi maintains a commitment to charitable causes through associations with GLAAD, Project Angel Food and the Human Rights Campaign. In 2017, Bruce was the recipient of the 2017 GLSEN Champion Award.
Washington, D.C.-based Republic Restoratives is women-owned and –led. Their releases include bottlings like Madam, a bourbon and rye blend made to commemorate the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris. The distillery initially made waves with its Rodham Rye, named for former presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. It’s now considered a collector’s item.
Owner Pia Carusone had a prior career in politics; among other posts, she served in the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama administration.
This Pawtucket distillery makes a wide range of brand spirits, from a gin flavored with botanicals foraged from the coasts and valleys of Rhode Island to a “red vodka” made with cranberries from local bogs. Co-owner Cathy Plourde is an avid forager, while co-owner Kara Larson was a home brewer before turning to making spirits.
“We work hard to ensure that our distillery and tasting room is an accepting and welcoming space,” the couple says about the distillery’s values, including providing space for events like the Rhode Island Feminist & Queer Happy Hour and supporting such community initiatives as MassEquality.
Certified by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Saint Luna is a North Carolina moonshine made from molasses and rye. Co-owned by entrepreneur-founder David Suk and bartender Aubrey Slater, Saint Luna’s crisp moonshine is intended to “pay homage to the first ever American spirit,” says Suk.
Under the guidance of CEO and cofounder Chris Seales plus Master Blender Nancy Fraley, this “grain-to-glass” urban distillery focuses on spirits made with grains grown by Texas farmers. Core expressions include “The Musician” Straight Bourbon and “The Naturalist” American Gin, made with three types of citrus.
In fall 2022, the team plans to add a straight rye whiskey to its lineup.
In 2019, Aaron Thorp, an NYC-based sommelier and beverage director who has worked at Le Coucou and Happy Cooking Hospitality, cofounded this liquor brand with Tom Jackson, who has a background in advertising and design and designed the Supergay label. Supergay makes a corn-based vodka in upstate New York, and 10% of profits from the “farm-to-disco” vodka are donated to LGBTQIA+ organizations.
Last Updated: June 16, 2023