Talking Whiskey with Stoll & Wolfe
In the early years of the United States, there was a large whiskey distilling industry and culture, although it was almost wiped out during the Prohibition era. Fortunately, the whiskey industry is making a comeback, and many small craft distilleries are popping up all over the country. To learn more about the growing craft whiskey scene, we visited Stoll & Wolfe, a distillery and whiskey tasting room based out of Lititz, Pennsylvania.
How to Taste Whiskey with Stoll & Wolfe
During our visit, Erik Wolfe, one of the founders of Stoll & Wolfe, walked us through the proper way to taste whiskey. See how the process works in the video below:
What Is Stoll & Wolfe?
Stoll & Wolfe is a distillery and tasting room that is located in Lititz, which is in the heart of Lancaster County in Central Pennsylvania. The business has a 40-seat bar and tasting room where you can sample their latest creations and a variety of cutting-edge cocktails. In addition to their own whiskeys, Stoll & Wolfe has a variety of cocktails, beers, and wines that are from the surrounding area, as they believe in supporting local craft brewers and businesses.
The business originally opened as Bomberger’s Distillery, a revival of one of the oldest distilleries in the United States. But, in 2014, the name of the business was challenged by a trademark holder, and the business was forced to change their name. Rebranded as Stoll & Wolfe, the distillery opened its doors in May 2017 and is planning to start distilling soon.
One of the business's main goals is to protect the legacy of whiskey distilling in the United States, and especially in Pennsylvania, which was once a major producer of whiskey. Additionally, the business aims to make tasting whiskey more popular and appealing to the general public, where many people may be intimidated by the big flavors and harsh burn of the alcohol.
The People Behind Stoll & Wolfe
Stoll & Wolfe is the brainchild of Dick Stoll and Erik Wolfe, both Pennsylvania natives with a passion for whiskey. Their wives, Avianna Ponzi Wolfe and Elaine Stoll, have also had a major hand in getting the business off the ground.
Erik Wolfe is a Lancaster County native and one of the founders of Stoll & Wolfe. Although he is from Lancaster County, Erik spent spent much of his adulthood working first in the marketing industry in New York City and later in the foodservice industry. Erik and his wife Avianna came up with the idea of opening a whiskey distillery during the long car ride between Lancaster and New York City, and they turned their love of food and whiskey into a business.
Dick Stoll is one of the last members of an illustrious line of whiskey distillers in the United States that goes back to the founding of the country. He was trained by Everett Beam, of the famous Beam family, where he learned about whiskey and the proper ways to distill it. Dick later became the master distiller at the original Bomberger's Distillery site in Shaefferstown, PA. During his time at Bomberger's, Dick distilled the original Michter's whiskey as well as the famous A.H. Hirsch bourbon, which is one of the most expensive types of whiskey ever created.
What is A.H. Hirsch Bourbon?
The A.H. Hirsch Reserve bourbon is one of the most famous brands of whiskey, and it is one that Dick Stoll created when he was the master distiller at Michter's Distillery. Today, the average price online for a bottle of this famous bourbon sits around $2700, and it costs around $125 for a 1 oz. glass. So what sets this bourbon apart from other whiskeys? It was aged for 16 years, which is much longer than standard whiskeys or similar bourbons, which gives it a smooth flavor with hints of vanilla, caramel, and oak. Additionally, during the process of creating and bottling the bourbon, it changed owners several times, which has led to an interesting and convoluted history that is also appealing to collectors.
The whiskey industry in the United States was a major part of society in the early years of the country until it was nearly destroyed during the Prohibition era, but craft distilleries like Stoll & Wolfe are bringing the tradition back. The success of Stoll & Wolfe and similar distilleries proves that the American public is interested in trying whiskey and new types of cocktails. As a result, restaurant and bar owners should learn more about whiskey, the proper way to serve whiskey, and how to taste it. And if you're interested in learning more about Stoll & Wolfe, check out their website and visit them at 35 North Cedar Street in Lititz, Pennsylvania.