New Holland Spirits: The first distillery to stout a whiskey
“We are the first distillery to stout a whiskey.”
We heard that bold statement and had to travel to Holland, Michigan close to the banks of Lake Michigan to check out New Holland Spirits.
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“This is a very Dutch community. Obviously being Holland we were founded by a lot of Dutch immigrants,” Brad Kamphuis told us. “New Holland has been founded on being the next New Holland so it’s been bringing the town forward, bringing our community forward through our beer and spirits program.”
New Holland Brewing started in 1997. It has since stemmed into a giant project that includes restaurants and spirits. Their Dragon’s Milk beer is America’s number one selling bourbon barrel-aged stout.
In 2005, they applied their expertise from brewing and began distilling.
“Really our story is pretty unique being a brewery and a distillery. We have the expertise of brewing and fermentation and mashing, and we added the creative side of distilling on top of that, which is really just an extension of brewing,” Brad explained. “You need to know how to make good beer in order to make good whiskey."
Their still is 85 years old
Using a still that was built in 1934, New Holland began experimenting. The still itself was the seventh one commissioned in New Jersey post prohibition. It was built for Baldwin Dew Distilling Company but was mothballed away for decades until revived by New Holland in 2008. It's their workhorse and makes every drop of their whiskey.
One such whiskey is their Beer Barrel Bourbon — a beer barrel finished whiskey that began production in 2012, which we’re featuring in our next box that ships in June.
“Being resourceful we had a lot of these beer barrels stacking up and getting in the way,” Brad told us. “Once we emptied the beer out of them we didn’t know what to do with them. That was the creative spark we had to create the Beer Barrel Bourbon.”
Lifecycle of a New Holland barrel
The barrels come from Tennessee, get filled with Dragon’s Milk beer twice, they then take mature bourbon and finish it in the beer barrels.
New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon is the beer drinker’s bourbon, according to Brad.
“If anyone who wants to get into whiskey and doesn’t know where to start, Beer Barrel Bourbon needs to be their first whiskey to try.”
What’s in the box
Beer Barrel Bourbon and Beer Barrel Rye — Expect a nice sweetness flavor to it accompanied with a stouted character. One is bourbon based and one is rye based.