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Business & Merchant

By Christen M. Stroh

When Liberty Pole Spirits opened their doors at 68 West Maiden Street in Washington, PA last July, they knew they wanted to break into the craft distilling business in a way that would bring energy and pride to their community and beyond.

LibertyPole
Jim Hough, proprietor, stands at the bar of Liberty Pole Spirits in Washington, PA. The distillery just celebrated one year in business this July.

“When we opened a year ago, our top priority was to produce quality whiskeys that our customers enjoy and are proud to recommend to their friends,” noted Kevin Hough, distiller. “We also wanted to create a distillery and tasting room environment that was warm and inviting and would serve as a gathering place for whiskey loves from all over.”

Owned by the Hough family, Liberty Pole Spirits pays tribute to the role the Whiskey Rebellion plays in Western Pennsylvania’s history. During the Whiskey Rebellion, when citizens opposed the excise tax on whiskey, they demonstrated their opposition by planting liberty poles throughout the county. Liberty Pole Spirits, in addition to utilizing the name of this symbol, also includes it on their labels of each bottle of whiskey they sell.

Jim Hough and his wife, Ellen, proprietors, run the operation along with their sons, Kevin and Rob, distillers. Jim, who distilled as a hobby, saw a niche market in craft distilling, as it’s relatively new to the western Pennsylvania area. “We saw what a couple other people were doing and how they were able to make a success out of it, and we realized that this is a market that hasn’t been saturated yet,” he said, continuing, “There’s room for growth.”

To celebrate their one-year anniversary, and in conjunction with the Whiskey Rebellion Festival in Washington, Liberty Pole Spirits released a special, limited edition cask strength rye whiskey. “We hand-selected two ten-gallon barrels for their excellent flavor and complexity, and bottled a small amount for release during the festivities,” said Kevin.

Indeed, the past year in business has been a good one – Liberty Pole Spirits has seen a growth in sales and has received recognition at national spirit competitions throughout the year, including a gold medal for their peated bourbon and silver and bronze medals for their rye and bourbon, respectively.

Future plans include a partnership with Pennsylvania Libations, a craft whiskey boutique located in the Strip District; several new product releases, including a cherrywood smoked single malt whiskey that will hopefully be available before the end of the year; and the distillery continues to expand its footprint in bars and restaurants in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Currently, the distillery offers a selection of five different whiskeys: Bassett Town rye (a white whiskey) and corn whiskey, as well as their award-winning spirits - rye whiskey, bourbon, and peated bourbon. Tours are also available on Saturday afternoons and last for an hour, and special events are planned on a routine basis as well. Liberty Pole Spirits are available to drink at a number of bars and restaurants in the South Hills, as well as other locations in the western Pennsylvania area. For more information, find them online at www.libertypolespirits.com.

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