Stoll & Wolfe Distillery is unburying a national treasure, a rye whiskey that hasn’t been distilled in roughly 29 years. You could be one of the first to sample the latest incarnation of this whiskey.
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The rye whiskey Stoll & Wolfe Distillery plans to resurrect next month has a long and storied history. It’s made from a grain called Rosen rye, which is historically documented as an important component of one of the oldest and most well-respected distilleries in Pennsylvania, Michter’s Distillery in Schaefferstown.
Michter’s Distillery closed its doors for good in 1990, but its master distillers found new homes within the Pennsylvania spirit business. One such distiller named Dick Stoll is responsible for bringing the fight for Rosen rye to Stoll & Wolfe’s front door.
Stoll was the last distiller to use Rosen rye and knew he wanted to work with the grain once more, but there was one huge obstacle in his way: Rosen rye was no longer commercially available. When Michter’s closed up shop the demand for the grain disappeared, and farmers no longer had a reason to grow the particular kind of rye. Stoll wasn’t ready to give up though.
Delaware Valley Fields Foundation (DVFF) stepped in to solve the problem, recognizing that this gap in the grain market presented an exciting opportunity for local farmers to expand their offerings. With a meager 5 ounces from the USDA seed bank courtesy of the DVFF partnership, the first Rosen was planted in 2015 in Lititz, Pennsylvania. In 2017 these mere 5 ounces had grown to nearly an acre.
In July of 2019, 500 pounds of Rosen rye were milled from the land in Lititz, and Stoll’s dream inched towards reality.
The milled Rosen will be mashed and fermented on September 3rd at Stoll and Wolfe Distillery in Lilitz. That mash, distilled on September 7th, will be barrel aged soon after, leaving a short window for whiskey aficionados to taste a little bit of the long-forgotten past.
It won’t be the last taste though! Stoll and Wolfe Distillery led the charge on reproducing whiskey from Rosen rye, and will be the first distillery to offer competitive pricing on heritage grains in Pennsylvania, but many more will follow its lead.
DVFF will continue its work to return Rosen rye to Pennsylvania’s farms and distilleries, gifting harvests to different farmers and distillers yearly in an effort to preserve the hundreds-of-years-old tradition of making Pennsylvania rye whiskey in the Keystone State.
Decades ago, Dick Stoll mashed and distilled Rosen rye, becoming the last distiller to work with the grain. This September he’ll do it again for the first time in decades.
To find out more about the advocacy, outreach and support of the Delaware Valley Fields Foundation and their work in conjunction with The American Whiskey Convention click here.
Proceeds from the American Whiskey Convention fund the DVFF’s Seed Spark campaign, a partnership with Penn State’s Agricultural Extension, supporting the research and development of Heritage grains. Learn more here.