Western Pennsylvania has always been a hot spot for whiskey, and since the early days of the country the region has been producing (and aging) whiskey using local grains to end up with a spirit unlike those found anywhere else.
Liberty Pole embraces this history by doing the same for their business with the added benefit of modern technology.
The ingredients are all local, many of the recipes are unique to historical Western Pennsylvania distilling, and the tasting room is a throwback to the history of the Whiskey Rebellion- one of the region's most infamous events surrounding alcohol which took place shortly after independence from the British.
This all comes together to make one unique family run business that should be on everyone's radar.
The Tour at Liberty Pole Spirits
We visited Liberty Pole Spirits for a guided tour of the facility and were blown away not only by the sheer quality of product, but also by how this young distillery is conducting their tours.
Each tour begins with a cocktail at the bar, where you can choose from any of the craft cocktails available on their rotating menu. As we later found out, each recipe is carefully made by the mother of the family and the rest of the family were her willing (and at other times unwilling) test subjects. The result of this was a lot of tinkering of the recipes and a final product that could stand up with any bar in Pittsburgh.
Yes, they're that good.
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After everyone's settled in for the tour with cocktail in hand, the tour begins with the history of the building, their reasoning for the old-time theme, a tour of the distilling process, and a brief look at their ever-growing aging facility.
The tour ends in a themed tasting room that feels like you are transported back to the 1700s. The tour guide leads you through a tasting of approximately five of their whiskeys, starting at their famous corn whiskey and ending with some of the more unusual specials that they have created.
To us, this tour was in line with what we've experienced at some of the world's best distilleries in our travels, and for a small distillery to offer a tour with this level of detail shows a lot of dedication and promise for the future.
A Young Distillery That is Going Places
We had a bit of apprehension when visiting Liberty Pole Spirits because we know that young distilleries often have some growing pains in getting aged products out the door. (Bourbon as we know it doesn't come out that way from the distillation column, but rather spends years inside an oak barrel to develop that we all know and love.)
What surprised us about this distillery was that for being so young they had a line of aged products available in their arsenal. Their secret? Smaller barrels to speed up the aging process.
The smallest barrels at Liberty Pole are as little as five liters, and they are quickly expanding into larger and larger barrels to help meet the current demand, but also for increased output in the future as the distillery grows. This means that they have everything from a sweet white whiskey all the way to aged rye whiskey, corn whiskey (a Pennsylvania staple), all the way to some more unusual runs like a peated bourbon that combines just about all of my favorite flavors into a bottle.
As I am not one to want to wait for aged spirits from new distilleries, and also being someone who happens to really enjoy the product that Liberty Pole has available, I'm really excited at this prospect as it means that I will only have to wait a few weeks for the next batch to become available, not a few years.
In the end, that is going to make all the difference for this new business in Washington, PA, and we're really excited to see what comes next.
Liberty Pole Spirits is located at 68 W Maiden St in Washington, PA and is currently open with limited hours on Thursday-Saturday.