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News: The First Bourbon Distilled in Birmingham in More Than a Century


    Nearly three years since opening its doors, Dread River Distilling Co. is launching its inaugural bourbon, one distilled from grain to glass in downtown Birmingham, a feat not achieved on a commercial scale in more than 100 years. Distilled from a mash bill of corn, wheat, and malted barley, Dread River’s newest release is a straight bourbon — aged more than two years — and finished in Caribbean rum casks. Bottled at 90 proof, the spirit is complex and flavorful.

    “Bourbon is what we got into this business to create. That has been the goal from day one, and almost since day one, we have been laying down barrels of bourbon, waiting for this day to come,” says Dread River Cofounder Jeff Dugas. “It has been an incredible journey to get here, and we are very proud of everything we have accomplished in creating this product.”

    Dread River Bourbon will be available statewide via the Alabama ABC distribution network, for both wholesale and retail purchase, beginning May 1. Dread River will be officially launching its bourbon during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, April 29 – May 1, with specialty cocktails, complimentary tastings, and bottles sales throughout the race weekend.

    “The Indy race at Barber is one of our favorite events of the year and coincides perfectly with the release of our bourbon. We are so excited to share this new product with local race fans and those who travel to this event from across the country,” says Dread River Cofounder John Cubelic. “The Barber and Indy brands both totally align with our standards of excellence and our thirst for adventure, so it’s an ideal opportunity for us.”

    Prior to its statewide release, the new Dread River Bourbon will be available in a limited release at the distillery in downtown Birmingham. Pre-orders begin today, March 28, and will be available for pickup during Dread River’s Pre-Release Party Weekend, April 8 – 10. Weekend festivities will include specialty race-inspired cocktails and merchandise, live music, and exotic cars, culminating in a Sunday afternoon watch party for the Indy Grand Prix of Long Beach at 2 p.m. CST.

    While Dread River continues to produce and age bourbon, as well as other spirits, this is a special moment for the company and for Birmingham.

    “I wasn’t here at the time, but my understanding is that the Batch 1 bottles of the original whiskey Dread River released were very highly sought after and hard to come by,” says Dread River Master Distiller Colton Weinstein. “I imagine the same will be true here, since this is truly a Birmingham original and the first of its kind. We are excited about everything else we have aging, but there’s nothing quite like your first.”

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