Essential Pittsburgh
4:31 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

The Great Whiskey Shortage Driven by Demand for Traditional Spirits

 

Credit Official Wigle Whiskey Twitter

In the past, the United States has faced a shortage of various products, such as oil. Now, according to publications such as the Smithsonian and Esquire, the nation is facing a new type of shortage-whiskey.

Demand for the drink is way out in front of the distilleries’ ability to produce. Meredith Grelli co-owns Wigle Whiskey in the Strip District, she came across town to talk about the great whiskey shortage and whiskey history in Pittsburgh.

Grelli noted that the shortage is due to the popularity of whiskey coming back in a big way.

“As Americans, we’ve sort of gone through this evolution. We were really interested in wine for awhile, and got very educated about wine. Then we became home brewers, and became very interested in beer, and that continues. And now it feels like spirits are kind of the final frontier.”

She also noted that whiskey has long been an important drink in the Steel City.

“Henry Clay Frick actually owned the largest distillery in the country… he’s running it, he gets the sense that coal and coke are his future, so he sells off a third of his family’s distillery. He sells a third of that distillery to Judge Thomas Mellon, so that he can lease his neighbor’s land, because his distillery is on the Connellsville coal scene... and is ultimately able to then convince Andrew Carnegie to get into business with him… All Pittsburghers know that Pittsburgh is of course a steel town, fewer understand how much of a whiskey town it was and how whiskey really built the steel industry.”

Wigle Whiskey opens a garden and barrelhouse on May 30. More info can be found at their website.