Art in the Age
Philadelphia’s Art in the Age (of Mechanical Reproduction) isn’t your average booze company. For starters, it doesn't make typical spirits, and it produces more than just liquor.
The company’s signature organic spirits are Root, Rhubarb, Sage and Snap, but it also makes or partners with other artisans to produce apparel, tote bags, preserves, soaps, stationery and quilts.
Art in the Age says none of its spirits are flavored vodkas or "sickly sweet liqueurs". Its products are assertive, 80 proof spirits, distilled using the ingredients they get their names from.
The company’s Root spirit, for example, traces its own roots back to an herbal remedy made in the 1700s called “root tea”. Made with sassafras, sarsaparilla, birch bark and other wild roots and herbs, the recipe was taught to colonial settlers by Native Americans
As it was passed it down from generation to generation it grew in potency and complexity, particularly in Pennsylvania where the ingredients grew in abundance
When prohibition hit, a Philadelphia pharmacist removed the alcohol from Root Tea and rechristened it “Root Beer”. He did this so that "hard-drinking Pennsylvania coal miners and steelworkers" could enjoy it in place of alcoholic refreshments.
Root Beer was introduced at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia and the rest, as they say, is history.
Located in Philadelphia’s Old City, AITA’s flagship store - with its preserved exterior machine company signage - hosts performances and exhibitions, as well as a curated selection of its products.
AITA founder Steven Grasse tells you all about the company in this Huffington Post video interview.
Of course, Grasse is no newcomer to the world of booze and AITA is no indy-hipster project. Grasse is the man who created Hendricks Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, and oversaw the rebranding of Narragansett beer.
Image Credit: AITA