To celebrate this year’s anniversary of the Whiskey Rebellion--which occurred near here in 1794--the Strip District's Wigle Whiskey plans to tar and feather its patrons. But don't worry, while the distillery might make its rye whiskey much like it was done in 18th Century, their process for tarring and feathering is much more humane.
The event is a collaboration between the Mattress Factory, Attack Theater, Society for Contemporary Craft, Toonseum, Carnegie Library and the Carnegie Science Center. Each organization will “tar and feather” attendees, with guests will voting on the most inventive method. The winning organization will receive use of the distillery for an evening.
But why tar and feather? Meredith Grelli, co-owner of Wigle, explains that historically Europeans and Americans have protested taxes this way, and that local tax collectors were once tarred and feathered by Pittsburgh distillers.
Along with art-related tar and feather activities, food will be provided by the Pittsburgh Taco Truck, Franktuary, and the Goodie Truck. And Bar Marco will host an afterparty with $5 Wigle cocktails.
In addition to this weekend's event, Wigle is preparing to release several new distilled spirits.
In October, Wigle will unveil its first traditional Genever gin, and will be one of only two distilleries in the nation currently offering that spirit, Grelli says.
And Wigle hopes to have a new line of bitters available before the holidays, with experimental flavors such as lychee or honeysuckle.
"We hope to just keep innovating and introducing people to new spirits, to lost gems of distillation," Grelli says.
Grelli says since opening Wigle has become a destination for whiskey lovers, with enthusiasts traveling from as far as Scotland and Costa Rica, and from throughout the nation. She expects the momentum of craft distilleries to continue growing.
"The craft distilling environment and the industry is really where craft beer making was probably 20 or 30 years ago,” she says. “So we're really at just the start of this.”
Wigle Whiskey is open for cocktails and tastings Wednesday through Sunday. Tours of the distillery can be booked through their website
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Meredith Grelli