All American Whiskey Interview With Bill Welter
Bill Welter, the distiller behind Journeyman’s Corsets, Whips, and Whiskey whiskey—the 2022 ASCOT whiskey of the year—was on the way to the dentist when he had a minor epiphany. He was excited about an upcoming epic camping trip with his family. He was also fairly proud of the 30,000 putting green at Journeyman, Weller’s Folly, modeled after the greens at St. Andrews, Scotland. “There are plenty of challenges to running a business. Plenty of challenges in life. Sometimes it’s the little things—We’re going tent camping—that get you excited. It helped me put things in perspective.”
WHAT MOMENT DURING YOUR PROCESS STRIKES YOU AS PERFECT?
I’m reflecting back to some of our early distillations and distilling rye back in 2010, and there’s a point during the distillation where the room fills with an aroma of the beautiful sweetness of the rye coming off the still. I would say that moment in time, how wonderful it smells, knowing that you’re doing something right.
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING MISTAKE MAKING WHISKEY?
We got started in 2009. Our first distillation was in 2010, and the world of craft distilling really hadn’t emerged in a way, so there weren’t a lot of resources. A lot of what we created was trial and error, and there were a lot of errors in the beginning. We had some infections in our fermentation that resulted in some really low yields—and the whiskey tasted like bubble gum. I couldn’t bring myself to dump it, so I said let’s throw this whiskey into a couple of barrels. We wrote “The Learning Curve” on the barrels. We’ve learned with whiskey: good in is good out. We still have The Learning Curve . . . and it’s still not good.