WhistlePig Throws Open The Doors To Its New Distillery

Vermont-based WhistlePig had great cause to celebrate recently, officially opening its new distillery back at the beginning of October (I know, we are a little late on reporting this; bear with us). It marks an important milestone for former Maker’s Mark master distiller Dave Pickerell and his crew as they move from sourcing rye whiskey from others, to the actual production of their own product.

At the heart of this new distilling facility is “The Mortimer,” a tall copper still Pickerell designed himself and had constructed by Kentucky-based Vendome Copper. Ironically, about the same time this still was getting up and running, Pickerell’s former employer, Maker’s Mark, was busy getting its newest still operational as well.

WhistlePig Distillery

image via WhistlePig

Pickerell, along with the distillery’s founder and CEO Raj Peter Bhakta, now lay claim to having one of the only American whiskey companies “to conduct the entire whiskey-making process in one place, from harvesting the rye fields to distilling, barreling, aging, and bottling the liquid.” They’re aiming for a closed loop process, describing how:

WhistlePig grows its own rye on its farm, which 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. The grain-to-glass whiskey production process requires closer attention to both the cultivation of the crop and the distillation of the spirit than is common in whiskey companies, and enables maximum quality control.

One of the goals of this launch is to ultimately produce a “Vermont Estate Whiskey,” which Pickerell himself alluded to when I interviewed him a few months back. It will be interesting and exciting to see what new whiskies unfold from this farm as time goes along.

“WhistlePig is committed to bringing the world unparalleled rye whiskeys, and with our distillery up and running, we’ll be a truly rare grain-to-glass operation,” said Bhakta in a statement. “We’re restoring rye, America’s original spirit, as our country’s signature drink, and we’re doing it in Vermont, a home to rye production since colonial days.”

About the author

Nino Marchetti

As the founder of The Whiskey Wash, I'm crazy about whiskey, I can tell you, and I aim to share this passion with you through this site. As for my professional background, I’m a writer and journalist by trade and an Internet dot-com veteran prior to that. My most recent venture prior to this was as the founder and editor-in-chief of EarthTechling, a leading consumer focused green technology news website. I also have an extensive collection of whiskies from both start up distilleries and centuries old operations in Scotland alike, sprinkled with some other odds and ends from around the world, that have provided me with a unique picture of what’s going on with this wonderful spirit.

  • moretears

    More lies from WhistlePig. A company that started its existence denying that it was sourcing whiskey and particularly didn’t want people knowing the whiskey was coming from a foreign country (Canada) is now trying to sell another fairy tale. People who know the exact size of that farm, the acreage, say that they will never be able to produce enough rye grain on that farm to meet their distilling needs — not unless their business plan involves selling a lot fewer bottles of whiskey than they do now. They are going to continue to source whiskey, from Canada and from MGP (the latter is used for their “Old World” product), while producing a few barrels of their own stuff to mix in with the sourced stock.