Pittsburgh gets its first distillery since before Prohibition
on 25/05/11 at 7:01 amSpirits
Though distilled spirits run in the region’s historical veins as much as coke or iron, there hasn’t been a whiskey still in southwestern Pennsylvania in decades — not a legal one, anyway — and there hasn’t been a distillery of any kind within Pittsburgh’s city limits in nearly a century. But that changes this summer, when an “artisan” whiskey distillery opens in the Strip District.
Wigle Whiskey will be distilled on the ground floor of the Pittsburgh Wool Co. building near 24th and Smallman streets, beneath the Schoolhouse Yoga classroom. Its owners, Eric Meyer and his father, Mark, and other family members named the whiskey after Philip Wigle, one of two men convicted of treason and sentenced to hang for his role in the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794.
From the Rebellion and a century onward, southwestern Pennsylvania was an important whiskey-producing region, and its Monongahela rye was more widely consumed, at least into the 1800s, than Kentucky bourbon. At one point, by one author’s account, more than a quarter of the young nation’s distilleries were within 50 miles of Pittsburgh.