Idaho may be known for its potatoes, but the Gem State’s semi-arid climate, diverse soil types and long-growing season create an ideal environment for a variety of crops contributing to burgeoning craft beer, wine, cider, mead and distilled spirits scenes that are drawing rave reviews.
Home to over 70 breweries, Idaho has one of the fastest-growing craft-beer industries in the U.S. and ranks 11th for breweries per capita. It helps that the key ingredients for beer are conveniently grown right here in the Gem State — Idaho tops the nation in barley production and is second in hops. In April each year, Idaho celebrates Idaho Craft Beer Month, honoring the art of brewing and the brewmasters who propel the craft forward.
With three American Viticultural Areas (AVA), over 1,300 acres of vineyards and more than 50 wineries and tasting rooms, it’s no surprise Idaho wines are receiving more recognition and accolades regularly in competition. Southwestern Idaho, home to the Snake River Valley AVA and Eagle Foothills AVA, has the most wineries and tasting rooms — both provide a fun, convenient daytrip for Boise visitors. The Lewis-Clark Valley AVA, which lies along the northern Idaho/eastern Washington border, has a long history of winemaking (grapes were first introduced to the region in 1872) and the area has been wooing wine lovers with a variety of flavorful wines ever since the AVA was established in 2016.
Cider & Mead
For fans of cider and mead, Idaho’s offering is steadily growing, benefiting from proximity to the Northwest’s finest apples and the Gem State’s bounty of local honey.
With seven distilleries, including the country’s first restaurant distillery, Idaho does more than just dabble in distillation. The Gem State counts vodka, bourbon, brandy, rum, gin, whiskey and moonshine among its production. Distilled Resources, Inc. in Rigby is the largest distillery west of the Mississippi. Built from a re-engineered ethanol plant, the eastern Idaho company brands 25 different labels. Their specialty? Idaho-grown potato vodka and organic spirits.
View our culinary Travel Tips for ideas that give you plenty of opportunity to sip and savor Idaho’s fine flavors.