Spirits: Newfangled American Whiskeys go Beyond Rye, Bourbon

Dec 18, 2008

With his plaid shirt, cowboy hat and neatly trimmed mustache, Jess Graber is as quintessentially Western as sagebrush and the Marlboro Man. So when Graber decided to enter the whiskey business several years ago, he realized that making an eastern whiskey such as bourbon or rye just didn’t feel right.

“It doesn’t make sense to me to make Kentucky whiskey in Colorado,” says Graber, manager of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, which has been produced in Denver since 2004 using barley grown in the northern Rockies. “We thought we should be making something that’s indigenous. That’s generally what whiskey is – it’s a regional spirit, it tastes like where it’s made.”

These whiskeys are essential elements in the nation’s drinking culture. Until recently, many American whiskey drinkers would have considered the production of a different kind of whiskey – such as that proposed by Graber – to be an act of such unpatriotic inelegance that it would be tantamount to serving Chardonnay and Brie at a bull-riding competition.

Read the full article at the SF Gate HERE.