Phoebe Calver Production

Five Things You Didn’t Know About: Empire Rye

Kings County Distillery

Distilling in New York State has come on leaps and bounds during the past few years, with one particularly pivotal moment being the advent of Empire Rye.

In 2015 a collective of six New York State distilleries gathered together to establish a whiskey style for the Empire State. The team have created a style that pays homage to the area’s pre-Prohibition rye whiskey heritage, while also acting as a testament to the ingenuity of the contemporary distillers of the State.

In order to meet the Standard of Identity for Empire Rye, and bear the mark on its bottle, the whiskey must be made according to the precise standards agreed upon by the Empire Rye Whiskey Association.

Five Facts:

  1. 75 per cent of the mash bill must be New York state-grown rye grain – it may be raw, malted, or a combination – and the remaining 25 per cent may be composed of any raw or malted grain, NY-grown or otherwise
  2. Must be distilled to no more than 160 proof
  3. Aged for a minimum of two years in charred, new oak barrels, at no more than 115 proof at time of entry
  4. Must be mashed, fermented, distilled, barrelled, and aged at a single NY State distillery
  5. A blended whiskey containing no less than 100 per cent qualifying Empire Rye whiskeys from multiple distilleries may be called Blended Empire Rye

Empire Rye Founders

Black Button Distilling
Coppersea Distilling
Finger Lakes Distilling
Kings County Distilling
New York Distilling Co.
Tuthilltown Spirits/Hudson Whiskey

First Adopter

Van Brunt Stillhouse

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