What began more than three years ago as a unique way to give back to those who bravely served our country has taken on a life of its own. Now, the culmination of that mission will be unveiled during a celebration of Wisconsin’s military veterans on Armed Forces Day.
Wollersheim Distillery, based in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, will release its exclusive Red, White and Blue American Whiskey at the event on Saturday, May 18.
The whiskey was distilled using milled red, white and blue corn in accordance with the precise percentage of each color on the American flag and has been aged for the past three years in Wisconsin oak barrels.
All proceeds from sales of the whiskey will benefit veterans living in Wisconsin and help fund essential programs and services.
Since Wollersheim announced the project last summer, the response has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
“We’ve had a number of people telling us they are planning to purchase multiple bottles as gifts for veterans in their lives,” Wollersheim distiller Tom Lenerz said. “We expect this limited bottling to go pretty quickly and would recommend anyone who wants to secure a bottle arrive early.”
The limited-release bottles will be available for purchase for $100 at the event, which runs from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Wollersheim Distillery. The celebration includes a patriotic salute to veterans, live music, tastings, tours, food vendors, speeches by winemaker Philippe Coquard and Lenerz and a donation check presentation. No tickets are required to attend the free event.
“We think this event will have a really big turnout,” Lenerz said. “In addition to supporting a great cause, our guests can experience great food and music while they grab the limited release whiskey.”
Distilling with a Goal
The thought to take up such a project came from Coquard’s desire to give back to those who bravely served the United States.
Though he grew up in France, Coquard said that he’d always heard about the role American soldiers played in liberating his home country during World War II. When the opportunity to create a unique product for a such a worthwhile cause came, he and Lenerz acted on it immediately.
“As a group, we have a lot of respect for the flag, and I think that’s how the idea came about,” Coquard said.
With a goal of producing something so unique that’s never been done before, Lenerz was sure to take his time and intricate care with every step of the distillation process. That started with the distillery’s farmer locating seeds for all three types of the corn and involved performing math to calculate the total grain necessary for each of the three barrels.
Once the distillation process was complete, the aging portion started, and the whiskey was barreled into three oak barrels to make quite the unforgettable taste.
“This whiskey has a very unique flavor,” Lenerz, whose family has deep roots in the military, said. “I personally get a lot of candied cherry and citrus notes, rich caramel and vanilla with a lingering wood spice from the charred Wisconsin oak barrels. This whiskey is one of the most unique products we have distilled and I think it really shows both the unique flavors different varieties of corn can provide.”
For more details, or to RSVP for the Red, White and Blue American Whiskey release, click here to view the Facebook event, or the Wollersheim.com public events listings.
Written By Chris Bucher – Wisconsin Department of Veteran Affairs