Vermont Liquors from Vermont Grains

One distiller I didn’t mention in this week’s Times-Argus story about local liquors is WhistlePig, based in Shoreham, Vermont.

WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey is a 100 percent rye, 100 proof whiskey. It’s currently made of Canadian whiskey and bottled in Shoreham, but WhistlePig is in the process of growing rye so that, eventually, the 10-year-aged whiskey will be able to call itself a Vermont rye whiskey.

Jay Bothwell, the Montpelier bartender who made nights at the old Black Door memorable, describes WhistlePig as “really smooth” and admires WhistlePig’s founder Raj Peter Bhakta for his approach to using the land in Shoreham.

“He’s taken over a farm and is seeding rye,” Bothwell notes. “He’s dedicated to continuity [of agriculture] in the use of the land.”

Caldonia Spirits* founder Todd Hardie, too, is looking to use Vermont grains–specifically, corn from Westfield’s Butterworks Farm–in future batches of whiskey. It will be interesting to see how Vermont distilling affects farmland use. Will large patches of land be preserved from development, to grow grains for mash? Time will tell.

*Caledonia Spirits will be offering tastings of its distilled beverages at the Montpelier Farmers Market on Saturday, January 7 (10am-2pm in the VCFA gym).

Happy new year, everyone!

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