WhistlePig has announced the long-awaited opening of its distillery, marking a major transition for the rye brand. The Vermont farm has apparently had an uphill battle to get their facility permitted and licensed, but it appears that the neighbor objections and zoning restrictions that were blocking their way have been overcome. On their blog, you can scope pictures of their launch party featuring bucolic scenery, Adirondack chairs, L.L. Bean-inspired fashion, and a bruiser of a custom Vendome Copper still.
WhistlePig’s products are currently sourced from Canada. The farm has also been growing rye for contract distillation, but none of that has made it to bottles or shelves just yet. Now, they’ve got the equipment they need to go truly grain-to-glass, though it’s likely their spirits will continue to be sourced for several more years based on the age of their main product lines.
Image courtesy of WhistlePig
Their press release also highlights their focus on sustainability as they transition to grain-to-glass: “[Rye} is a naturally sustainable crop that needs very little fertilization. Pigs are fed the spent rye grain so it doesn’t end up as waste, and oak trees logged on the farm are turned into barrels to age the rye.”
I’m interested to see when they decide to release a totally vertical product. Right now, WhistlePig’s youngest product is 10 years old, which seems like an awfully long time to wait. In an interview with Davin De Kergommeaux in Whisky Advocate, Founder Raj Bhakta was quoted saying “We have the opportunity to sell younger whiskey,” he noted, “but we are storing our stocks and doing barrel experimentation. Five years from now the critics will come to see there was a much greater vision here.”
I’m not sure if that means they’re planning to introduce a five-year product, or that they’ve got contract-distilled spirits made from estate rye that have already been in the barrel for five years. Either way, I’m looking forward to trying their first totally Vermont expressions.
Margarett Waterbury is the author of Scotch: A Complete Introduction to Scotland's Whiskies and a full-time freelance writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Whisky Advocate, Food and Wine, Spirited Magazine, Artisan Spirit, Edible Seattle, Sip Northwest, Civil Eats, Travel Oregon, Artisan Spirit, and many other publications. She is...