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High West Distillery Named 2016 Distillery of the Year

High West Distillary
High West Distillary receives its second title from Whisky Advocate magazine.

Whiskey enthusiast magazine, Whisky Advocate, named Park City’s High West Distillery as Pioneer of the Year in 2010 – one short year after they opened their doors. Now known for their innovative blends, High West has been named 2016 Distillery of the Year by the same magazine.

Master Distiller Brendan Coyle said when they started distilling - they changed the game in the U.S.

“Typically you don’t have American distilleries that do a lot of blending like we do," Coyle said. "We both produce whiskeys, we source whiskeys from other distilleries – all to create a very unique and complex blended whiskey. And that’s kind of new to the States I would say – so we’re not exactly your typical American distillery. So we innovate with some interesting blends – either cross categories or within the same category such as straight rye whiskey – we have blended straight ryes – blended straight bourbons. Something truly unique - Campfire Whiskey - which is a blend of bourbon rye and a peated scotch whiskey. So yeah, we really wanted to go for the most complex flavorful product through blending.”

Coyle said the distillery is currently working with cask blending and finishing.

“So basically taking a finished whiskey or a finished whiskey blend and then taking that one step further and doing about a final year or a year and a half aging in a wine cask – you know – like a syrah cask or a vermouth cask or something like that," Coyle said. "And that’s something that a lot of people are doing in the industry right now – they can really change up the flavor profile and drive a lot more complexity in the product.”

High West is focusing more and more on tours, education and tasting so that people are more informed about what they’re drinking and Coyle said people are genuinely amazed.

“When people come in – first thing they’re surprised at - the complexity that goes into the process," Coyle said. "Secondly, they’re surprised that whiskey starts its life as a beer. We’re fermenting a beer – making a rudimentary beer and then distilling that one step further into a whiskey and then aging that further into a more complex product.”

Founders David and Jane Perkins recently sold the distillery to Constellation Brands for $160 million but will continue to be involved as ambassadors.