Wyoming’s Whiskey: Kirby distillery releases first of its product
Kirby – Whiskey fans travelled in hoards to attend the launch event for Wyoming Whiskey on Dec. 1, from as far away as Australia.
“It has been a wild and wonderful few days for Wyoming Whiskey,” said the company in a press release. “From the response of Wyoming’s retailers to our first offering, to the 3,000-plus folks who came to Kirby to the kind words we received from every corner of the state.”
With owners Brad and Kate Mead, Master Distiller Steve Nally, his wife and Director of Tourism and Public Relations Donna Nally, founder and Chief Operating Officer David DeFazio and Governor Matt Mead present at the event, along with numerous other dignitaries, the excited crowd shared in Wyoming Whiskey’s groundbreaking day.
“There is one question I want to answer now that I have been asked more times than I care to count,” commented DeFazio. “Number one – it’s good, and number two – it’s ready.”
Governor Mead agreed, saying, “I work very hard in the office trying to figure out policy position on this or that, and I travel across Wyoming. More often than not, the first question people asked me wasn’t, ‘What are you doing on healthcare?’ it was, ‘When is the whiskey going to be done?’”
Mead offered congratulations to Brad and Kate, also noting that the fine product represents Wyoming.
“What makes it special in my mind is that this is truly a Wyoming story,” he explained. “It takes guts to say we are going to start a product that has never been made, we are going to do it in the town of Kirby, and we are going to persevere.”
Mead continued, “Brad, Kate and David, you’ve had guts, and guts goes into every bottle of Wyoming Whiskey. This has been an amazing team story.”
When they decided to distill bourbon whiskey in Wyoming, Brad notes that they had two requirements in mind – it had to be premium product, and it had to be a Wyoming product.
They invited Bourbon Hall of Famer Steve Nally from Kentucky as master distiller for the project, and Brad mentioned, “We got one of the very best.”
“It was important to us that, at the end of the day, this be considered Wyoming’s Whiskey,” he said.
Kate added, “Steve and Donna have helped us fulfill our dream of creating a really great whiskey.”
“When David called and asked if we were interested in coming to Wyoming to make bourbon, I though he was pulling a prank,” said Donna. “We are very honored to be here today.”
“This all came about because two people had a vision, and they said we can do something that has never been done here before,” Steve commented. “They are modern pioneers.”
Steve added that, through the process, support from Wyoming’s citizen, towns and government has been overwhelming.
Donna continued, noting that while her accent gives away that she is a Kentuckian, “Today, Steve and I both feel that we are definitely Wyomingites. We could not have done what we are doing in making the best bourbon in the world without the support of all of you folks from Wyoming.”
“We are putting out an excellent product,” said Steve. “Here’s to Wyoming.”
One group of tasters, Doug Weatherly and Jacque Hanson from Lincoln, Neb., and Mike and Lenore Weatherley of North Platte, Neb. travelled all night to attend the event.
“I became a whiskey baron two years ago when I found out they were doing this,” commented Doug at the event. “I drink Jack Daniels, and I wanted a whiskey that was closer to me.”
“I really like it,” he added of the Wyoming’s first bourbon product.
While tasters from across Wyoming and surrounding states agreed that Wyoming Whiskey is a top-notch product, Whiskycast reviewer Mark Gillespie attended the launch event and awarded the product a 95.
“The nose is smooth with notes of fresh baked wheat bread, fresh cut saw dust, orange peel and subtle touches of black cherry and vanilla,” Gillespie noted. “The taste is mouth filling and smooth. There’s a mild cinnamon note with no bite and notes of dried orange peel and honey.”
Gillespie continued. “The finish is long, smooth and dry with mild orange peel, vanilla and oak sawdust.”
Maybe the most notable comments by Gillespie came when he said, “It is one of the best bourbons I’ve ever tasted, and I’m scoring Wyoming Whiskey a 95.”
While Wyoming Whiskey is largely sold out across the state, and the next batch due to be bottled “when it’s ready,” according to Steve, Wyoming will continue to anticipate more of its high-quality bourbon product.
For more information, visit wyomingwhiskey.com. Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.