KIRBY — Wyoming Whiskey debuts tomorrow, Dec. 1. A gala coming-out party to be attended by Gov. Matt Mead is planned at the distillery in Kirby according to David DeFazio, one of the partners in the venture.
A highlight of Saturday's party will be the auction of bottles two through five from the first batch. The first bottle will be placed in a locked display case at the distillery. DeFazio said proceeds from the auction will go to a Hot Springs County charity. There's no estimate of how much money the four 750 milliliter bottles will fetch.
Pre-orders have been good at liquor retailers around the state. A Jackson dealer has more than 500 bottles already sold. Central Liquors in Cheyenne has already pre-sold several cases and a lot of single bottles, according to owner Gino DeMarzio. Town & Country Supermarket Liquors on Greeley Highway in Cheyenne has also pre-sold several cases and several single bottles. Galles Liquor Mart in Casper has already pre-sold close to 30 bottles of Wyoming Whiskey.
DeFazio partnered with Brad and Kate Mead, all of Jackson, to build the distillery and hire master distiller Steve Nally to start the process of producing the all-Wyoming product bourbon. Nally and his wife Donna moved to Wyoming from Kentucky where he worked for Maker's Mark for many years.
The barrels containing some 8,000 bottles from the first batch have been locked in a storage building for four years, the time required for a batch to age. Three such buildings provide secure storage for the white-oak charred barrels. The distillery plans on selling to Wyoming outlets only the first year. Next year they estimate that 250,000 bottles will be available (in October) and then interstate sales can take place. The distillery's finished products are sent to the Liquor Division of the Wyoming Department of Revenue. Retailers then place orders with the state in Cheyenne. It is estimated that Wyoming Whiskey will cost retail about $40 a bottle after the state and retailers add their mark up to the basic cost and shipping charges.
Kirby is located a dozen or so miles north of Thermopolis. It's easy to miss the turnoff to the distillery. The building sits away from the highway several hundred yards.
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