Rye Whiskey: Tasting Pennsylvania’s Past

(Positivelypa.com)  If you could taste Pennsylvania’s past, what would it taste like?

Herman Mihalich, founder of Mountain Laurel Spirits and distiller of Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey, might have a suggestion.

“Just before Prohibition, there were over 160 licensed distilleries making whiskey in Pennsylvania,” Mihalich said. And through the 1800s, when Pennsylvania was the nation’s leader in whiskey production, most of that whiskey was a particular type: rye.

When many of the German Mennonites came to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, they brought with them their expertise in farming and in making whiskey. The earliest documented whiskey distilling in the state was in 1760. They were growing and distilling rye, a grain much more popular at that time than today. It was what they had, and whiskey was much easier to store and transport than rye grain at the time.

“They brought that knowledge and tradition over,” Mihalich said. “And rye was easy to grow.”

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