Wigle Distillery offers tours of their Strip District operation

February 2, 2012 12:00 am
  • Wigle Whiskey co-owner Mark Meyer adds enzymes to cooking mash at the distillery.
    Wigle Whiskey co-owner Mark Meyer adds enzymes to cooking mash at the distillery.
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There's a rich history of whiskey making and drinking in Western Pennsylvania, but in the years since Prohibition, most distilleries never returned to the region and many of us have lost touch with this piece of local history.

Wigle Whiskey, a new distillery in the Strip District, hopes to end that drought, both by producing local whiskeys and by reminding the community about Pittsburgh's historical connection to a delicious spirit. While the white (unaged) whiskey won't be for sale for at least another couple weeks, and the aged whiskey will take another couple of years, they've already started holding weekly tours of the distillery that offer people a taste of whiskey along with a fun and unusual history lesson.

When I arrived at Wigle on a recent Saturday afternoon, I was a bit skeptical. Twenty dollars will buy a fair amount of good whiskey, so I wondered whether a tour and a tasting would justify the price.

Tours start in the best possible way -- with cocktails and snacks served in the distillery's tasting and event space. The spacious, modern room was surprisingly pretty and well appointed, and the mood quickly warmed up as the eight of us sipped two seasonal cocktails and nibbled on cheese, nuts and chocolate, all purchased from Strip District merchants.

Tours are limited in size, and the intimate atmosphere encourages questions and discussion. Wigle Whiskey is a family affair, jointly owned and run by various members of the Meyer and Grelli family. Eric Meyer, "Wigle-in-Chief," leads the tours, but his sister and her husband, Meredith and Alex Grelli, were also on-site during my tour, helping to pour cocktails and talk whiskey before the official presentation began. Head distiller Mark Meyer (Eric and Meredith's father) also made a brief appearance.

China Millman: 412-263-1198 or cmillman@post-gazette.com .
First Published 2012-02-11 01:49:15
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