Whiskey is entering the burgeoning bourbon market with a bit of Pennsylvania
all about the corn, you know.
headquartered in the Strip District, will officially unveil its first bourbon
May 29 during a Bourbon Birthday Bash at its Barrelhouse tasting and storage
site on the North Side.
are you going to make a bourbon?' was a question we had to answer every day for
the three years we have been around,” says Meredith Grelli, a co-owner of the
distillery begun as a family effort led by her father, Mark Meyer.
says they wanted to produce a bourbon to “make it more Wigle, make it more
process developed when one of their grain suppliers — Nigel Tudor of Weatherbury
Farm in Avella — suggested using Wapsie Valley corn, a darker-colored corn that
was dominant in the state in the 18th century. The historical link was appealing
to Wigle, which is named after Phillip Wigle, one of the rebels of the Whiskey
Rebellion in 1794.
result is a bourbon with a slightly darker tone than many and a taste that is
hearty and rich, but smooth.
Shonk, operations manager of the Barrelhouse, says Wapsie Valley corn has less
sugar and more protein than the yellow variety, meaning it creates less alcohol.
Yellow corn probably would be more effective for a large distiller for that
reason, he says.
bourbon puts Wigle into a market that is having a sharp upswing. The Distilled
Spirits Council of the United States reports bourbon sales have increased 40
percent in the past five years in a market where a 2 percent to 3 percent annual
growth is good.
of the Wapsie Valley corn seems like a good strategy. Wes Henderson, chief
innovation officer of the Louisville distillery that makes Angel's Envy bourbon,
says he is excited to hear about a new small-batch, artisanal offering. But the
key, he says, is to differentiate it from other liquors.
has produced about 400 bottles of bourbon, Grelli says, 100 of which are “cask
strength” at 105.2 proof and the others at 92 proof. The bourbon will sell for
$70 a bottle at cask strength and $58 for the lower.
first bottling will be followed by one probably in August, she says. Some
product will be sent to Philadelphia in June, and then to the other states with
which Wigle deals.
wanted to give Pittsburgh first shot,” Grelli says."