A decade ago, we opened Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction in Old City Philadelphia. Borrowing its name from Walter Benjamin’s canonical 1936 essay, the store began as an artists’ collective, rooted in the traditions of American craftsmanship. Founder Steven Grasse developed a line of spirits in that same tradition, using recipes and ingredients drawn from the history of Pennsylvania, and the Art in the Age brand was born. As the experimental arm of his spirits-focused creative agency, Quaker City Mercantile, Art in the Age has remained at the forefront of innovation in the spirits industry.
How did we get there? Like the Transcendentalists who fled the industrial wasteland in search of spiritual truth, we headed to Tamworth, New Hampshire and began distilling for ourselves. We wrote a book, Colonial Spirits, about what drinking was like over 250 years ago. We partnered with local distillers at New Liberty, to create spirits inspired by the history of our city, Philadelphia: from the early days of revolution, through its industrial heyday, up to its current renaissance.