Though sturdy and resilient in the ground, rye couldn’t stand up to the punishment of the Civil War. Along with the rest of the country, the rye industry was torn apart. As the decades passed, the punishment continued; prohibition and two world wars conspired to keep America’s finest whiskey buried in the frozen past. Even during periods of great prosperity, from the Roaring 20’s to the Baby Boom, the country poured all its capital-crop love into the sweetest, easiest grain of all: corn. Poor old rye was hung out to dry. With the lowest sugar content of all grains, it is the most difficult grain to distill. Rye is tacky, bratty, and stubborn… but the labor of love is worth the struggle. Pure, aged rye is more flavorful, complex, and delicious than any corn-based whiskey – just ask The Founding Fathers.
Speaking of fathers, WhistlePig was born in 2007, when Raj P. Bhakta bought the Farm. Rather, he purchased the farm. The point is, he is alive and well and married and a father, and the proud owner of WhistlePig Farm. After spending his last dime on 500-plus magical acres in Shoreham, VT, Raj joined forces with Master Distiller Dave Pickerell (of Maker’s Mark fame) to plot the long awaited return of rye whiskey to the States. The two men got their hands on the best batch of aged rye in North America. A few months later, in February ’09, they hatched a 5-year plan to transform WhistlePig Farm into 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. With the opening of our single-estate farm distillery in the summer of 2015, what was once a pig-headed dream will be a top-shelf reality.