New Distillery Uses Sweet Mash To Create Bourbon

There is a new distillery in Danville, KY and they don’t use the same ingredients that most if not all distilleries use. The distillery is Wilderness Trail and they use a sweet mash instead of the normal sour mash. Why? “It highlighted superior quality with the distillate always appearing “softer” and “more flavorful” than the sour mash technique,” says Shane Baker, owner and master distiller of Wilderness Trail.

distillery: man pouring whiskey from a barrel

Photo courtesy of Wilderness Trail

With the sweet mash, their bourbon can spend two years in a barrel, but have the flavors of an 8 year old bourbon. It doesn’t have the typical over-charcoaled flavor that is commonly found when tasting straight from the barrel. Using sweet mash is risky, but Wilderness Trail seems pretty confident in their technique. Baker wanted to create something different for the world of bourbon, so he tried something different.

“I remember Dave Scheurich from Woodford Reserve told us that ‘everyone makes sweet mash at least once but nobody makes it twice because of contamination, but hey you guys might be able to pull this off,'” said Baker

The company started with producing Blue Heron Vodka and Kentucky Sorghum-based Harvest Rum to get the company off it’s feet. They also outsourced some of their acres to people who wanted to do a start up brand, but didn’t want to have a distillery. Once revenue started coming in, Baker knew he could start tapping into aging his bourbon.

distillery: bottle of wilderness trail on bourbon barrels

Photo courtesy of Wilderness Trail

They currently have about 23,000 barrels sitting in their warehouses. That is actually less than half of their staging capacity. The barrels are a mix of whiskeys: Rye Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, and Wheated Bourbon. This fall they plan to release their six year old whiskey.

Their Bourbon and Rye is sold in Kentucky, Washing DC, Maryland, and Delaware. They plan to bring their whiskeys to Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, and Missouri. Once they hit that 6 to 8 year mark, Baker plans to expand nationally.



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