To make a good whiskey, you need three things: pure water, excellent grains, and a distiller to put it all together.
And if that distiller is a Bourbon Hall of Fame inductee with 15 years as a master distiller under his belt, even better. Wyoming attorneys and ranchers Brad and Kate Mead teamed up with fellow attorney David DeFazio to start their own distillery in Kirby, Wyoming, using only ingredients from Wyoming. The wheat, corn, and barley are grown within 100 miles of Kirby and the water comes from a mile-deep limestone aquifer just up the road in Manderson, WY. The only important ingredient that was missing was Hall of Fame Distiller Steve Nally, who directs every stage of production from milling the grains to aging the whiskey for three years in charred white oak barrels.
The care taken to craft each batch shows; the 88-proof firewater starts out surprisingly smooth, with a creamy caramel lilt that’s followed up by a sharp bourbon kick and culminates in a light vanilla finish. Its mild edges make it an excellent sipper straight or with rocks, while the sharp bourbon body gives it the punch that whiskey enthusiasts expect.
The only problem I’ve found is that Wyoming Whiskey is smooth enough to be the first “session whiskey” I’ve ever heard of outside of an Irish novel. You could sip this stuff all day without a single wince. Hours of testing in the office led to an onset of dizziness, fits of laughter, and the crafting of an elaborate statue made entirely out of snowboard gear.
Wyoming Whiskey is currently available in Wyoming, Colorado, and Texas, with plans to expand into Idaho, Montana, and Utah this winter.
City: Kirby, Wyoming
Ingredients: Locally-sourced wheat, corn, and barley