Q & A WITH THE DISTILLER
Q: What is your favorite bottle you helped create, and why should we try it?
A: Hillrock Solera Aged Bourbon, - Exceptional Cask #1 This was Hillrock Estate Distillery’s first Barrel Proof Solera Bottling. After tasting through 18 Sherry Butts filled at the end of 2019 with our Solera Bourbon; we selected this cask. A deeply complex and rich whiskey that showcases power, finesse and balance.
Q: What is your favorite spirit and music pairing?
A: I'm a big jam band guy and I really enjoy Rye Whiskey! I love the spice of Rye whiskey in a cocktail, on the rocks or straight. Sometimes you need a drink whose flavor lasts as long as the jam.
Q: How did you wind up here?
A: In 2007 I visited the Hudson Valley and fell in love with the food, people and creative projects that were happening. So in early 2008 I moved here and started working for Millbrook winery. Four vintages later I switched from wine production to Whiskey when I was offered the Director of Operations and Head Distiller role for Hillrock Estate Distillery. Both companies taught me so much! I’ve been so fortunate to learn from people like John Graziano (Winemaker at Millbrook winery 35+yrs) and Dave Pickerell (Makers Mark, Whistle Pig, George Washington Distillery, Hillrock) These talented people helped teach me what I know.
Q: Which distillery impresses you currently?
A: Golden Harvest. Derek, Ashley and Pete have been doing great things since craft distilling started in NY! You must try their Distiller’s Reserve Apple Jack, and their Core Vodka is so consistent and tasty. ( Tough for a whiskey guy to admit 😉)
Q: What is your favorite clean drinking joke?
A: I’m giving up drinking until Christmas! Sorry, bad punctuation. I’m giving up, drinking until Christmas!