Distiller Editorial Style Guide

Consult the AP Stylebook for any circumstances not covered here.


ABV all caps, no periods, with “%” 45% ABV
genever  preferred spelling, “Jenever” and “Geniévre” are only to be used in brand names or when there is a specific geographical reason for their use, in which case, italicize. genever

Bobby’s Jenever

Belgium still produces jenever.

rhum agricole
Scotch stands alone. “Scotch whisky” is redundant


Write out zero through nine. More than nine, or if the number appears in the same sentence with one greater than nine use numerals. e.g., “There were 7 out of the 10 people involved at the meeting.”

Use % sign with numerals. Spell out “percent” when dealing with human issues.


eau de vie (singular); eaux de vie (plural) — note italics

whiskeys, not whiskies


em dashes In text, surrounding spaces

In captions, 

Lions, tigers — and bears!
ellipses In text, single character, single space after

Same in captions and headlines, 

Lions, tigers… and bears!
serial comma Historically, no. For some reason.

But use it before “etc.”

Lions, tigers and bears!


PhD — No periods


AM, PM for time of day

Hyphenated vs. Compound words

American oak, Jamaican rum – no hyphen needed for names of woods or spirits, even as adjectives


brandy maker, brandy making (n.)

brandy-making skills (adj.)

byproduct – no hyphen


craft-distilled (adj.) – with the exception of Certified Craft Distilled Spirits™

first-fill (adj.)

microdistillery (one word)

nanodistillery (one word)

new make – no hyphen, even as adj.

off flavors, off notes – no hyphen as noun, hyphen as adj.

single barrel – no hyphen, even as adj.

single malt, American single malt – no hyphen nor caps except in brand name

small-batch (adj.)

Scare quotes vs. Italics

In general, avoid scare quotes. Use only to denote sarcasm or particular stress on a word or its usage.

book titles — italics

common industry terms – no formatting

defining terms — italics

eau de vie (singular); eaux de vie (plural) — italics

foreign words — italics

periodical titles — italics

web site names — appear just as you would plug into a browser

Spelling & Usage

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau Spell out on first reference in an article. “TTB” on subsequent references.
curaçao Use Alt + 0231 in Windows for the “ç.”
distill Double-L
Master distiller Usually “head distiller.” Master distillers have decades of experience and know what to do when things go wrong. Obeys AP style for capitalization.
okay Always spelled out: “Are you okay with that?”
whiskey, whiskeys “Whisky” only in a brand name, only when capitalized. 

Always “whiskey” when referring to the substance. 

“Scotch whisky” is redundant; delete “whisky.” 


Captions Italics. 

Periods only after complete sentences. 

Omit spaces after em-dashes.

Left—Craft distiller doing a distilling thing

Right—This is the distilling thing mentioned above.

Callouts Quotation marks when calling out a quotation.
Formatting Use paragraph breaks, not line breaks

Single space before new sentence

Single paragraph break before new paragraph

Leave smart quotes to layout editor

Quotations Use present tense “I’m a distiller,” says Plummer.


Include both centigrade and Fahrenheit. Numerals, degree symbol, then C or F with no spaces    60°C (140°F)

Units of Measure

Space between numerals and abbreviated units, e.g., “1,000 gal copper pot still”

Hyphenate adjectival form when writing out unit, e.g., “1,000-gallon copper pot still”


List specific style questions here and tag @BradPlummer in a comment.