Newswise — A handful of New York state craft distilleries is launching a new, regional whiskey, “Empire Rye.” Christopher Gerling, an enologist and craft-beverage expert, says that local sourcing and geographical identification are key ingredients to Empire Rye and other regional food and drink.

Gerling says:

“Craft beverages and local sourcing of raw materials go hand in hand.  For many of these small producers, the first step has been to imitate a style that's distributed nationally –  wineries make Chardonnay and breweries have west-coast IPAs.  These products can demonstrate quality but also attract casual consumers as well as enthusiasts. 

“For long-term success, there needs to be differentiation from what’s available anywhere.  You need to find something unique in what can be grown locally to create a product with the most authentic story.  From Champagne to Manchego cheese, the classic global foods and drinks relate to the specific agricultural characteristics of the regions they represent.”