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GrainHenge Whisky’s Second Release Comes With Quite A Story

GrainHenge Whisky’s second release comes with quite the tale, as the spirit of Francis the Pig lives on with the new Elevator Row Single Malt Whisky.

In a prepared statement from GrainHenge, the whisky maker explained that it was the summer of 1990, and a little pig escaped from C/A Meats Abattoir, located at the south end of Elevator Row in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.

Red Deer started as an agricultural center, and Elevator Row featured a number of grain elevators from every major grain company in Alberta. Farmers would bring their grain to one of the different company’s elevators to get weighed, before it was shipped by train to Vancouver.

Elevator Row Single Malt Whisky.
Elevator Row Single Malt Whisky (image via GrainHenge Whisky)

The abattoir located near the old 45th street overpass is a stone’s throw from the present day location of Troubled Monk, home of GrainHenge Whisky.

It was here that the little pig known as KH27, escaped his deadly fate by clearing a 1.2-meter wall made out of plywood sheets, and ran south to the woods along the bike trails east of West Park, west of Red Deer Regional Hospital.

News of the pig’s exploits began to swirl. The name “Francis” stuck, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. Or, as GrainHenge’s story describes, it could’ve been named for Sir Francis Bacon, English philosopher, scientist and author. It’s still a debate.

A fugitive for five months, Francis the Pig became a local legend in Alberta. School children wrote pleas to save Francis from slaughter, residents spotted him rummaging through garbage and battling off coyotes, all the while, the pig was able to outsmart trackers.

He traveled the urban woods of West Park, to the rural area of Woodland Hills before he was finally captured. And now the tale is immortalized in the new Elevator Row Cask Strength Whisky.

Elevator Row’s flavor profile comes from the malty flavor of its pale ale, Pesky Pig, named after the pig that never went to market.

For this 43-month-old expression, cask strength whisky lets the speciality malt of Pesky Pig rise to the forefront.

When head distiller, Garret Haynes, rewrote this recipe for distillation, he used Pesky Pig’s mash bill for inspiration, tripling the speciality dark Munich malt so notes of golden raisin and dried fruits would be present in the finished spirit.

Distiller’s notes for the Elevator Row Cask Strength Whisky:

  • Price: $100 CAD
  • ABV: 58.2%
  • Nose: Golden Raisin and dried fruit with brown sugar, malted barley, and a mix of oak and caramels.
  • Palate: Brimming with warmth, dried fruits, vanilla, caramel, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, and nutty flavors. Hints of Christmas Cake.
  • Finish: Smooth, and slightly sweet with lingering fruit and baking spice.

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Gary Carter

Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether that be a novel project, a start-up, an organization, a fresh-face to the journalistic world, or even something as simple as a short story. A native Texan and a Pacific Northwest convert, he is a whiskey enthusiast who cut his teeth on it ... literally!

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