New Holland Brewing Co. is set to release Bill’s Michigan Wheat – a locally-sourced whiskey that pays tribute to one of the greats in the industry and a friendship between two artists.
It was back in the early 90s when Brett VanderKamp, president of New Holland Brewing Co., first read How to Build a Small Brewery by Bill Owens. This was a few years before the launch of New Holland, but Brett credits the book with giving him the boost to venture out and make the dream of producing artistic and well-crafted beer.
Cut to 2003, the brewery is in full swing and Brett takes a well-needed vacation. New Holland is running smoothly, a well-oiled team of brewers are on board and for the first time in nearly six years Brett has a chance to get beer off his brain.
Enter – Puerto Rico. Gorgeous beaches, clear blue water and lots and lots of rum.
“I had the Ron del Barrilito rums and became fascinated. There was a practical side, because we wanted to offer alternatives to beer at the Pub, but I think it’s fair to say, I also wanted to stretch my creativity again,” says VanderKamp.
Brett returned and quickly went in search of as many resources as he could and found a course taught through the American Distilling Institute (ADI) by none other than Bill Owens. The same man who had brought a clear path to beer, was once again a beverage Sherpa of sorts on the journey to spirits. By the end of the conference, Brett and Bill had struck up a friendship and only a few months later Bill was in Holland, Michigan helping run one of the first distillations on the still that Brett built.
New Holland Artisan Spirits was born from that trip to the Caribbean and two men sharing a common passion. Naturally, with New Holland’s strong brewing roots, whiskey was an inevitability.
“If you look into the future of craft spirits – the future is whiskey,” says VanderKamp. “Particularly in the Midwest with the general proximity to corn, wheat, and barley. Plus, white oak is prevalent all over the area. We have the ingredients necessary to create amazingly creative and well-sourced whiskey.”
It was on a roadtrip of Bill’s that he passed through Holland and he and Brett got together and made a wash on New Holland’s pilot system of a whiskey that would inspire the current recipe for Bill’s Michigan Wheat.
“Bill’s Michigan Wheat was a desire to use local grain from the remarkable farmers in our region,” says VanderKamp. “It has this incredibly soft and delicate flavor to it. Its light biscuit sweet malt and toasty character are so palatable. In fact, it goes down so easy it’s gotten a nickname of “Breakfast Whiskey” around the plant.”
“In the end, we want to continue to create beautifully-made whiskey and spirits. We want to highlight the artistry in our craft and pay our respects,” says VanderKamp. “That’s really why we named this whiskey Bill’s Michigan Wheat – it’s an homage to a great artist and creative force in craft spirits. I think that as time goes on, people will see Bill as one of the legends of the craft distilling movement in the country. It makes me proud to call him my friend.”
About Bill’s Michigan Wheat
Tasting Notes: Tasting notes: Aroma has notes of clove and spice. Soft sweetness on the entry, followed by a rich body with hints of honey and vanilla bean layered against subtle spiciness and a smooth, clean finish.
Suggested retail price: $39.95
For more on Bill’s Michigan Wheat Whiskey, visit its brand page at http://newhollandbrew.com/spirits/whiskey/bills-michigan-wheat/
Bill’s Michigan Wheat Whiskey is set to release in early fall, to find some near you, please check our Beer & Spirits Finder at http://newhollandbrew.com/finder
About New Holland Brewing Co.
New Holland Brewing Company’s deep roots in the craft industry go back to 1997. Our role as an integral member of the artisan approach is something we take seriously, yet engage lightheartedly. We believe the art of craft lives in fostering rich experiences for our customers, through creating authentic beer, spirits and food while providing great service. Recognized for our creativity and artistry, our mission to improve the lives of craft consumers everywhere is seen in our diverse, balanced collection of beer and spirits.
New Holland brews and distills at two locations in Holland, Michigan: our production facility on the north side and our Pub & Restaurant in downtown Holland. The restaurant welcomes guests seven days a week and production tours are on Saturday afternoons. We welcome visitors and locals alike, and appreciate the opportunity to share our artisan approach through warm hospitality and enriching education.
With just under 150 employees, New Holland Brewing Co. sells its beer and spirits across a growing regional landscape, while anchored in the upper Midwest. In 2012, our production facility underwent substantial development including the tripling of our brewing capacity through outdoor fermentation, the addition of a centrifuge and the expansion of our Dragon’s Milk cellar. In 2013, the company is expanding its distilling capabilities, renovating the downtown Holland Pub & Restaurant and focusing on the integration of Michigan agriculture; hops, wheat and barley, into several new and existing brands.