WYOMING. FAMILY. WHISKEY.
IN THAT ORDER. We’re not owned by some beverage giant or traded on the Big Board. We are independent, family-owned whiskey makers with a world-class distillery in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming. Our company and products are a collaboration between our partners and 97,818 square miles of Wyoming. The state defines us; it’s in our blood and in our whiskey.
A WYOMING FAMILY. Our family first came to Wyoming as ranchers in 1890. In the ensuing 125 years, our family has continued to work raising cattle and hay at our ranches in Spring Gulch and in Kirby. We’ve also had our share of U.S. Senators, lawyers, extreme skiers, two Wyoming Governors and now whiskey makers. But our connection to Wyoming comes from the land, ranching, and those Wyoming views that, even after five generations, never get old.
DISTILLER. Sam is fifth generation Wyoming and our Distiller. Like all the Meads, he paid his dues in Spring Gulch of Jackson Hole and the Kirby ranch to the east. He started working on the hay crew at 10 years old and played enough hooky on the mountain to win the USASA Half Pipe and Slopestyle nationals.
Sam joined the whiskey making side of the family business and has guided our distillery since 2014.
He is responsible for all of the Wyoming Whiskey products from Small Batch, Single Barrel and Barrel Strength to our upcoming Rye and barrel-finished products.
BRAD & KATE MEAD
THE FOUNDERS. Brad and Kate are the founders of Wyoming Whiskey and the keepers of the ranching tradition in the Mead family, overseeing the Spring Gulch and Kirby ranches. Kate runs Mead Ranch Natural Beef and Brad is a pilot and CEO of Wyoming Whiskey. They are pretty much like other business executives, but they do most of it on horseback and with a much better office view.
THE FOUNDING FAZ. When Brad and Kate decided to make bourbon, they turned to “Faz” to figure out how to get it done and he’s been getting it done for Wyoming Whiskey ever since. To keep David’s bio from being too long, we’ll just make a list: lawyer, river guide, late night philosopher, angler, skier, wingman, Yankees fan, and whiskeyman.
THE DISTILLERY CREW
Dennis has been at the distillery from the start and has the important job of Still Operator, manning our custom 38-foot still from Vendome Copper & Brass Works. He is also in charge of milling our grains on a daily basis. He wears his commitment under his sleeve, with the WW tattoo serving as a very permanent reminder of the brand and his role in creating a bourbon that is both consistent and spectacular.
Steve is our Mash Cook, and “go-to” guy at the distillery. It’s Steve who prepares the mash and starts the process of making world-class whiskey every day.
Vince was a humble nuclear robotics engineer when he took the Wyoming Whiskey tour. It must have been a convincing tour, as Vince immediately applied for a job at the distillery. Lucky for us, Vince joined the WW crew and each day brings his big brain and vision to make our distillery run smarter and more efficiently. According to Vince, “making whiskey is the greatest job on earth!” This makes us smile, as we know that happy whiskey-makers make even better whiskey.
Darren is our resident country boy at the distillery. He oversees all our Wyoming-grown grains, which provide the building blocks for our bourbons. Darren also fills all of our barrels with green whiskey, starting our spirit on its 5-year maturation journey to becoming Wyoming Whiskey.
In 2013, Alex headed West from New Jersey to be a Cowboy and study at the University of Wyoming. Alex is responsible for warehousing our whiskey barrels and all of our bottling efforts.
THE WHISKEY SHOP
Brianna (Bre) manages the Whiskey Shop. Bre is the one that makes it happen in Kirby. She handles staffing, merchandising, advertising, and gives a mean tour. She does errands on her dirt bike. And, if you happen to meet her on a pair of skates with a stick in her hand, well, get ready to be schooled.
“Momma Char” is her well-worn nickname in Kirby. She’s been giving tours at our distillery since 2013, and has been earning raves ever since. If you’re in the Big Horn Basin and looking for a great tour, or a bit of down home advice, just ask for Momma Char.
Martha, from nearby Worland, is a tour guide and sales assistant in the Whiskey Shop. Martha joined the Wyoming Whiskey family in 2015 after obtaining her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming.
Lori lives in neighboring Thermopolis and first started working at our Whiskey Shop in 2014. Lori loves the details involved in making our whiskey and sharing a laugh, so if you’re looking for a detail-oriented tour with a smile, Lori is your guide.
SAM & NANCY
The Distiller & The Sniffer.
Making handmade whiskey takes a few hands.
Sam Mead is our Distiller. When our bourbons are bottled and shipped, it’s for the world to enjoy; but until then, it is Sam’s whiskey. With his family name on the line and Wyoming on the front of the bottle, motivation isn’t lacking, especially when making the best bourbon in America is the only goal.
If there’s a list of world’s best jobs, Nancy Fraley’s gig is surely on it. Her business card reads ‘Nosing Services,’ and she’s in high demand across the Craft Distilling world. Nancy consults with Wyoming Whiskey, working with Sam to find the perfect mix of barrels for our Small Batch Bourbon and singularly intriguing barrels deemed worthy of our Single Barrel label.
With the barrels and batches determined, the bottling and shipping process begins. It’s the end-of-the-line for the Production Team, but just the start of the journey for Wyoming Whiskey.
ONLY WYOMING INGREDIENTS
The Big Horn Basin has everything we need to make great bourbon, and it is important to us to source our ingredients locally. The consistency and uniqueness of these whiskey elements make for a better bourbon that stands apart. It’s the Whiskey of the West.
LOCAL CORN, WHEAT, BARLEY, RYE AND NO GMOS.
WE KNOW WHO GROWS. Brent Rageth from Rageth Farm in Byron, Wyoming has worked with Wyoming Whiskey from the start to select strains of non-GMO corn, wheat, barley, and winter rye for specific starch and sugar yields, the building blocks of bourbon making. We use a corn strain that matures in 92 days, and is hand-selected by Brent. Rageth Farms also delivers summer and winter wheat that is grown exclusively for Wyoming Whiskey, and a winter rye that will be the key ingredient for a couple of rye products that are on the near horizon.
Mash bill for (1) mash cooking will consist of 2,166 gallons of liquid.
Liquid will consist of:
1,100 gallons of water and
450 gallons of backset, or thin stillage.
Grain: 57 Bushel
68% Corn – 3,183 pounds
20% Wheat – 951 pounds
12% Malt Barley – 570 pounds
YOUR WHISKEY IS AS GOOD AS YOUR WATER. And our water is unrivaled. A mile below Manderson, Wyoming lies the Madison Formation, a limestone aquifer where we get our water. This limestone rock is millions of years old and the water that it filters hasn’t seen the light of day since the Bronze age, over 6,000 years ago.
THE SECRET STUFF. While our Mash Bill is in clear view, ask any distiller about their yeast and you’ll usually get a deafening silence. We’ll give you this much. To attain our profile, we use a combination of 2 yeasts; a high-yield yeast and a second proprietary yeast that yields a bit less, but produces a slightly fruitier alcohol.
For more information, you’d probably have to marry Faz or kidnap Sam’s dog. So, let’s leave it at, we use 2 different yeasts.
HOT & COLD
REAL HOT AND REAL COLD. Our whiskey is aged for a minimum of 5 years in the most unique maturation environment in the bourbon world. Kirby is cold in the winter. Wyoming cold. And it’s hot in the summer. Real hot. That’s tough on people, but good for the whiskey.
The Big Horn Basin heats up in the summer, pushing the whiskey in the barrels through the charred oak and producing most of the flavors of the soon-to-be bourbon. The intensity of the heat and drastic daily temperature swings cause the barrels to dramatically breathe in-and-out, taking the best of what the oak and 5 summers have to offer.
FIVE YEARS IN THE RICKHOUSE
DOING THE TIME. We age our bourbon for a minimum of 5 years in one of our 3 rick houses.
There are some newfangled ways of speeding up the maturation process that are being tested by both craft and behemoth distilleries.
Consider us Old School, but we don’t do that. Believing that nothing can replicate the magic that comes from the simple combination of time, temperature, and charred oak barrels, and that the Wyoming environment is one of the things that makes our bourbon singular. You can cheat color and some taste, but for the super smooth finish – only time will due.
EVERY DROP. WE SELL, WE MAKE.
We make bourbon in small batches at our distillery in Kirby, Wyoming. From day one, every drop of Wyoming Whiskey was made in Kirby and aged in one of our three rick houses. That’s not true of every whiskey you run into. We don’t pass judgment, but it means a lot to us and we hope it means something to you.