What could be better than a Colorado straight whiskey? Perhaps a Wyoming one. Wyoming Whiskey is being produced in Kirby, Wyoming (near Thermopolis) under the guidance of Master Distiller Steve Nally, formerly of Maker’s Mark back when it was a small family-owned distiller. Wyoming Whiskey is the first whiskey distiller in the Equality State and is looking to make a splash with their initial offering in December 2012.
Wyoming Whiskey is using ingredients from local sources only to distill their bourbon. This should give the bourbon a flavor and tenor not seen in other bourbons. With Steve Nally at the helm, the expectation is that it will be similar to Maker’s Mark but with some distinctive flavorings from the local ingredients. The water is from an artesian well in a nearby town that the distillery has delivered twice weekly. Wheat is grown in the front yard of the distillery and the corn and barley come from nearby. Not just Wyoming ingredients but Wind River area ingredients.
The distillery was founded in 2009 by three attorneys from Jackson - David DeFazio and Kate and Brad Mead (Brad is brother to the current governor of Wyoming but doesn’t hype the connection). They were able to secure the capital required to run the distillery for nearly four years before having to sell any product – a difference from most distillery startups. Those startups generally need to sell product as quickly as possible to supplement their shoestring budgets. Securing that capital also meant that they were able to build a first-class distillery from scratch rather than building what they could afford and upgrading it later. The only downside has meant that everyone who knows about the project has been forced to wait patiently while the whiskey matures.
Wyoming Whiskey is planning on releasing two hundred barrels for its first shipment. They also set aside twenty barrels as a private reserve. These were sold to various supporters around Wyoming, including a group of highway workers who all chipped in to buy a barrel. These private barrels were an advance sale and bought on faith that it would be a good product – no bourbon had been produced yet. Since then the company has been hard at work and earlier this month put barrel number three thousand on the shelf.
And, for now, the whiskey sits and waits and matures. In December, those two hundred barrels will be ready for their grand premiere.