Sunday, August 2, 2015

Bucks whiskey revival's Wharton roots

Dad's Hat distills rye in Bristol

Bucks whiskey revival's Wharton roots


Pennsylvania's too wet to grow a lot of hops. But everything else that goes into rye whiskey (and beer, for that matter) is available locally in commercial quantities. Local is market-able, these days; so Herman Mihalich, son of an oldtime-fedora-wearing Pittsburgh-area barkeep, and his partner John Cooper say they're using grown-in-Pa. rye grain and malt in locally-made bottles at their Dad's Hat Rye Whiskey distillery, in oak casks, at their new Canal St. distillery in Bristol, Bucks County, five miles up the Delaware from the Philadelphia Pure Rye Whiskey Distilling Co. stills that went dry when legal consumption of American alcohol was voted out in 1920.

A handful of Pennsylvania's old Lancaster County and Berlin-area distilleries made it through Prohibition, but commercial production of "spicy, smooth" Pennsylvania rye had evaporated, according to Mihalich, whose dad made enough slaking ex-steelworkers' thirsts to set his son's steps through a corporate career and eventually to Penn's Wharton School, where he met Cooper.

They're currently offering moonshiny White Rye and a selection of three-months barrel-aged whiskeys. Two-year-old Straight Rye rolls out next year. Plus Dad's Hat gives plant tours.

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at,, 215.854.5194 or 302.652.2004.

Reach Joseph N. at or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
Also on
letter icon Newsletter