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May 23, 2024

Art in the Age is back with 2 new spirits, but without the Old City tasting room

The brand stopped selling alcohol in Pennsylvania and closed its Third Street shop after it lost its shared liquor license last year. Owner Steven Grasse plans to reopen the storefront elsewhere.

Food & Drink Distilleries
Art in the Age Spirits Provided Image/Art in the Age Spirits

Art in the Age has returned with a new name – Art in the Age Spirits – and two new products: Siege of the Wolves Spiced Rum, left, and Dunce Bourbon Whiskey.

Steven Grasse is back selling booze in Philadelphia after his former tasting room in Old City, Art in the Age, suddenly closed last August. 

Grasse has acquired a new distilling license under the name Art in the Age Spirits and has opened a bottling facility in Ambler, Montgomery County. Two new spirits, created with the Art in the Age's sister distillery, Tamworth Distilling in New Hampshire, will be available at bars and restaurants next week: Siege of Wolves Spiced Rum and Dunce Bourbon Whisky. They already can be ordered online

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Grasse, who was named the 2023 Drinks Innovator of the Year for his crab-inspired whiskey, opened the Art in the Age shop at 116 N. Third St. in 2008, initially selling its liquors alongside clothes, books and other boutique items. When Pennsylvania reformed its liquor laws, Art in the Age partnered in 2017 with Kensington's New Liberty Distilling, using its liquor license to sell its spirits and open the tasting room. But New Liberty Distilling "unexpectedly" revoked the license, prompting the store's closure, according to Art in the Age

Now, the brand has returned with its own liquor license and a new name. Grasse plans to reopen the tasting room and bottle shop, and wants to add food options, too. He's currently on the hunt for a new space, but said it won't be at the old Third Street location.

Though many bemoan Pennsylvania's restrictive liquor laws, Grasse considers it "the land of milk and honey." 

"You can do more here than you can in any other state," Grasse said. "I know most people find the state stores prohibitive, but if you're a local distiller or winery, you can do anything and it's great place to be. We're very excited to be part of that in a much different way than we were with the previous situations sharing the license."

The two new spirits will be available at, Bar Hygge, Broken Goblet, Glory Beer Bar, Hops/Scotch, Johnny Brenda's, Prohibition Tap Room, Say No More, Tannery Run Brewing, The Keep Easy and The Morris. 

Siege of the Wolves Spiced Rum, might taste familiar to long-time Art in the Age consumers — its described as a combination of Grasse's former Root liqueur and Sailor Jerry Rum products. The other new spirit, Dunce Bourbon Whiskey, is an 80-proof, five-year-aged rye bourbon meant for easy drinking. 

Siege of the Wolves costs $31.99; Dunce Bourbon Whiskey is priced at $34.99.

In August, Grasse plans to roll out a maple whiskey made with syrup tapped from the maple trees beside gravestones at his New Hampshire farm. It's called Grave Robber. 

Long-term, Grasse said he wants Art in the Age be a go-to in the Pennsylvania liquor market, noting the state is one of the top buyers of spirits in the world. 

"I to want to dominate Pennsylvania," Grasse said. "That's my eventual goal – my big, hairy, audacious goal."