NEPA Scene Staff

Sample Pittsburgh’s Wigle Whiskey and learn the drink’s Pennsylvania history on June 24 in Scranton

Sample Pittsburgh’s Wigle Whiskey and learn the drink’s Pennsylvania history on June 24 in Scranton
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From a press release:

The Lackawanna Historical Society will introduce Pittsburgh’s Wigle Whiskey to Scranton on Friday, June 24 at 7 p.m.

Wigle is a family-owned small-batch craft distillery that features local organic grains in their spirits. Meredith Grelli, co-owner of Wigle, will make a presentation on Pennsylvania whiskey at the Society’s headquarters at the Catlin House (232 Monroe Ave., Scranton) and offer a sampling of three Wigle spirits, including rye, gin, and some “experimental whims.”

Tickets are $20 for LHS members and $25 for nonmembers. Space is limited and reservations are required, so call 570-344-3841 to reserve a spot.

American whiskey was born in Pittsburgh. Throughout the 1700 and 1800s, Western Pennsylvania was the epicenter of American whiskey production. Wigle is named for one of those pioneering Pennsylvania distillers. Phillip Wigle was a good-natured man who was sentenced to hang for his unsinkable love of whiskey. In 1794, Wigle defended his right to distill in a tussle with a tax collector. He unwittingly helped spark the Whiskey Rebellion, which pitted Western Pennsylvania distillers against George Washington’s troops.

After the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s, Pittsburgh continued to make the country’s whiskey. By 1808, Allegheny County was producing half a barrel of whiskey for every man, woman, and child living in America. At this time, the gold standard of American whiskey was a spicy, earthy rye whiskey called Monongahela Rye. At the height of whiskey making in Western Pennsylvania, there were 4,000 documented stills. Today, Wigle Whiskey is the only whiskey distillery in the region and was the first distillery in the city of Pittsburgh since Prohibition.

Wigle Whiskey is working to restore a Pennsylvania tradition championed by these rebellious distillers, making spirits much the same way Wigle and his friends did when Pittsburgh was the center of American whiskey – with a copper pot and local ingredients.

Wigle is a family-owned and operated lark. The distillery became operational in December of 2011 and opened to the public in March 2012 after two years of lobbying to change the state laws to allow for an on-premise model of craft distillery to exist in Pennsylvania. In 2015 and 2016, Wigle was the most awarded craft whiskey distillery in the U.S. by the American Craft Spirits Association and has won “Best in Category Craft Rye Whiskey” (2015), “Best in Category Wheat Whiskey” (2016), and “Best in Category Genever” (2016) in the same double-blind competition of hundreds of whiskeys from around the country.

Wigle devotes an enormous amount of resources to innovation and makes each of its dozens of spirits, including whiskeys, gins, honey spirits and bitters, grain-to-bottle from local, organic ingredients. Wigle never purchases spirits from bulk suppliers.

For more information on the Scranton event, see the Facebook event page.