Wigle Whiskey

Over the last few years craft distilleries have popped up all across the U.S. primarily as a result of the relaxing of some antiquated distilling regulations. There's a distillery within walking distance of my house and several more just a short drive away. But the one that is killing it, in my opinion, resides across the state.

Wigle Whiskey is the first distillery in the City of Pittsburgh since Prohibition. Every distillery has, or should have, a great story behind it. Wigle takes the name of a Whiskey Rebellion insurrectionist named Philip Wigle. Back when this country was in its infancy Western Pennsylvania was the epicenter of American whiskey, primarily known for its exceptional rye whiskey. In his first term as President, George Washington imposed a tax on whiskey, the first tax on a domestic product under the newly-formed republic. Many farmers resisted such tax and Philip Wigle went so far as to torch the house of a tax collector. Washington didn't much care for the unrest so he sent troops who quickly quashed the rebellion. Wigle was arrested and sentenced to hang, hence the noose on the bottle labels, but he was later pardoned by Washington.

I am not discounting the fact that I enjoy rye whiskey a great deal as a significant reason why I like Wigle Whiskey. The cornerstone product of the distillery is rye whiskey, more specifically Monongahela Rye, known throughout the country in Philip Wigle's time as a high-quality, spicy, earthy rye. But the history and innovation doesn't stop there. They produce a tasty dutch-style barrel-rested gin, which is made from whiskey like it was for 600 years before vodka became the base in today's gin. They also partner with local craft breweries to produce a Brewers' Series that use mashbills or yeast strains used in the production of beer to create new and interesting whiskeys. Their packaging, bottles, labels, etc. is top-notch.

On their website, they say that they are the most awarded craft distillery in the U.S. in 2015 and 2016 by the American Craft Spirits Association. I am excited to see what creative products come out of Wigle in the coming months and years.


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