Whistlepig Distillery

WhistlePig Distillery is based on a farm in Vermont, USA, and has been distilling rye whiskey since 2015. The brand’s fame, and pre-eminent position in the luxury rye whiskey market, however, stems from its acquisition in 2009 of a large parcel of 10-year-old rye...

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WhistlePig Distillery is based on a farm in Vermont, USA, and has been distilling rye whiskey since 2015. The brand’s fame, and pre-eminent position in the luxury rye whiskey market, however, stems from its acquisition in 2009 of a large parcel of 10-year-old rye whiskey distilled in Alberta, Canada.

WhistlePig took this Canadian rye whiskey and matured it further, experimenting with different types of cask ageing. WhistlePig 10-year-old Rye first appeared in 2010, after a period of extra cask finishing in virgin oak and ex-bourbon barrels and was an immediate hit, gaining 96 points in Wine Enthusiast - the highest ever score for a rye whiskey.

The company then proceeded with further experiments in cask ageing and sourced more Canadian rye for a string of highly successful aged rye whiskeys. WhistlePig’s unconventional cask maturation policies have much in common with the kind of experiments familiar to Scotch whisky fans, with wine casks from Rivesaltes, Sauternes, Madeira and many more being used to create unique new Whistlepig ryes.

The success of Whistlepig’s experiments with sourced whiskey enabled them to build their own farm-to-bottle distillery, which opened its doors in 2015 and runs alongside the blending and bottling operation. WhistlePig now use all local ingredients for their own whiskey, distilling their own rye grains, diluting with their own water and ageing their spirit in casks made from their own Vermont oak trees.

Master Distiller Dave Pickrell, formerly of Maker’s Mark, was heavily involved in the WhistlePig story, helping to source the Canadian stock that got WhistlePig started and remaining as a consultant until his death in 2018. When the decision was made to build a distillery at WhistlePig farm, Pickrell guided the distilling operations, designing the copper pot still himself and even identifying the correct charring and toasting levels for the new barrels made with the farm’s oak trees.

WhistlePig now market a series of different cask-finished sourced whiskeys alongside some limited editions containing their own Vermont rye whiskey, which are named FarmStock Rye.

The early Farmstock Rye bottlings contained Whistlepig distillery rye whiskey blended with Canadian whiskey, but in June 2021 the company announced the release of their first ever 100% Whistlepig distillery whiskeys: WhistlePig Farmstock Beyond Bonded Rye, and WhistlePig Farmstock Beyond Bonded Bourbon - unexpectedly, the company had been making a bourbon, with local corn added to the high rye mashbill.

WhistlePig’s co-founder Raj Bhakta stepped down from the company in 2017 following an acrimonious board dispute and went on to buy the Dupeyron Armagnac house. In January 2019, WhistlePig sold a minority stake to investment bankers BDT Capital Partners, with Bhakta releasing his remaining equity in the company. Later that year WhistlePig received a $55m line of credit from JP Morgan to fund expansion.

In December 2020 WhistlePig announced an international distribution partnership with Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, who also acquired a minority stake in the distillery.

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