WhistlePig was born in 2007, when Raj P. Bhakta bought the farm or rather a farm in Shoreham, VT. Not the typical place when you think about a whiskey making venture. Raj joined forces with Master Distiller Dave Pickerell (former Master Distiller at Maker’s Mark) to plot the Whistlepig future. Like many startup distillers, the two have been buying aged rye whiskey from another distillery then bottling with their own finishing touches in Vermont. All along, they have been planning for the day when they would produce their own “farm to glass” Rye on the farm. After six years of planning, that dream to create the first ever single malt, one-stop rye shop, with all stages of the process located on site: from growing the grass, to distillation, to barreling and aging, to bottling has come true.
On October 14, 2015 WhistlePig opened its own distilling operation in a converted 100-year-old barn in Shoreham. The distillery will make WhistlePig one of the few American whiskey companies to conduct the entire whiskey-making process in one place.
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“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 WhistlePig Founder and CEO Raj Peter Bhakta. “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.”
Rye Whiskey Revenue Spikes 609% to $106 Million
Rye makes it easy for WhistlePig to stand at the forefront of sustainable agriculture. 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.
“The on-site distillery opens doors to new opportunities for WhistlePig,” said Master Distiller Dave Pickerell. “The new distillery will enable us to continue perfecting our world-class rye whiskey.”