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New Richmond (WQOW) - Wisconsin is known for its tradition of brewing beers, but today, new bourbon was released to the public from western Wisconsin's 45th Parallel Spirits. It is the culmination of a process that takes a lot of patience, but it might slowly start gaining in popularity.
"For me, this morning when I was driving here I was like "I can't believe it's finally the day," said 45th Parallel Spirits owner Paul Werni.
It takes at least two years of aging for a whiskey to earn the title "straight bourbon." For Paul Werni, that wait is finally over.
"We always wanted to get involved in the aged spirits, and right now the aged spirits are hot. That's what's moving, I think the younger generation is really pushing that. You have a group of people that have grown up on micro brews; they want something with a little more flavor," Werni said.
The New Richmond distillery makes gin and vodka, and now they can add another liquor. Dozens lined up for the launch of the distillery's newest product Sunday, called Border Straight Bourbon.
"There weren't any distilleries in this area, so I looked into the laws in Wisconsin and in Minnesota. I called up both state governments and asked them why there weren't any distilleries in either state, and their responses were that they didn't know," said Werni.
Distilling has grown since Werni decided to open his own operation several years ago. He is not surprised by that, because the area has everything needed to distill quality whiskey right here.
"If you go down to Kentucky, you go to those distilleries, they get all their grain from up here. We have one thing Kentucky doesn't have; we have extremes. For aging, we have extreme cold, we have extreme hot, and that's perfect for the aging process," Werni said.
The version unveiled today is made mostly from corn grown just miles down the road from the distillery. Wheat and rye versions of the whiskey are expected to be released in the near future.
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