The first of many great whiskies to come

Do y’all remember Atlanta’s original craft breweries? We’re talking Marthasville, formed in 1994; Atlanta Brewing Co., formed in 1994 and later renamed Red Brick Brewing Co.; Dogwood, formed in 1996; and of course, Atlanta’s biggest craft brewery to date, SweetWater, formed in 1997. 

These were Atlanta’s craft beverage pioneers, paving the way for the incredibly rich and diverse craft beer scene we enjoy in Georgia today. Without their hard work and determination, Georgia’s libations landscape would be significantly less interesting. And we here at ASW Distillery would likely not have had a remote chance of trying to help put Atlanta on the map for craft whiskey. 

We’ve joined just three other Atlanta-area craft distilleries in trying to provide you with spirits that you can call your own hometown spirits: from Lazy Guy’s bourbon & rye, to Old Fourth’s vodka & gin, to Independent’s rum & bourbon. Our own contribution ranges from two forthcoming bourbons, to brandies if fruit prices ever go back down, to single malts to write home about, made from 100% malted barley and 100% malted rye.

This last spirit, our single malt made from 100% malted rye, is one of just a handful in the country. But we didn’t make it just to be different. (Although we do like to blaze some trails and push some envelopes when we can - it's far better than pushing paper, which 2 of the team members did for many years.) We made it in homage to the single malts we’ve loved for years, fashioned on the same Scottish-style double copper pot stills that some of our favorite Scotch and Irish Whisk(e)y distillers have used for centuries. (Macallan, anyone?) We made it as a testament to one of Georgia’s native grains, rye, which has grown here for centuries. Far better than the European import known as barley.

Yet we also made our Single Malt Rye as a way to show the innovative flavor profiles you can achieve by experimenting with grains. Just like the craft beer pioneers before us — who showed how delicious heavily hopped beer can taste, and how damn good a sour ale brewed using wild, unpredictable yeast can be — we wanted to give Atlanta something unique to call its own, a style of delicious whiskey you find almost nowhere else in the U.S., let alone Georgia. 

We’ve put most of it in new, American oak casks to mature for a later date. Not to mention, we enlisted the talents of one of Georgia’s best artists to design the label. More on that to come. 

But in the meantime, we’ve bottled some of this groundbreaking Single Malt Rye before it spends time in oak. You’ll notice it’s incredibly smooth for the 93 proof we bottled it at, and has interesting notes of chocolate, hazelnut, and pepper. As it spends time in a barrel, it will take on some of the toffee, caramel, and vanilla notes you expect of a Highlands single malt, and may even present hints of Georgia’s terroir in its tasting notes, like cooked peaches and dried figs. 

We look forward to sharing our spirits with you, helping put Atlanta on the map when it comes to craft distilling, and providing you with your very own hometown whiskey for years to come. Thank y’all for sharing in our journey.