By Walter Hojka
New undertakings are occurring at Swilled Dog, located in the Pendleton County Industrial Park in Upper Tract. The company has added capacity to its cider production, opened a distilled spirits tasting room, and plans to operate its own distillery.
Kim Kirk, chief experience manager for Swilled Dog, said, “We want to be able to give back to the community by bringing in tourism and economic development, sourcing locally and donating to animal-related charities.”
The expansion includes three 10,000-liter stainless steel tanks. The larger tanks will allow the company to increase cider production and offer consistent-tasting batches of product. Cider will then be canned in-house and distributed in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Florida.
With a newly arrived still from the Netherlands, Swilled Dog is working to establish an on-site distillery. The business purchased white oak barrels from the West Virginia Great Barrel Company, located in White Sulphur Springs. The barrels are made from Appalachian hardwood and are toasted and charred to produce what the company touts as the “perfect” whiskey and bourbon. The company will purchase corn for the distillery from local suppliers.
Though the distillery is still being completed, Swilled Dog has already embarked on creating whiskey blends from sourced spirits. The newly opened whiskey room offers a pleasant atmosphere in which to try Swilled Dog’s five kinds of whiskey.
The whiskey varieties are already receiving some attention. Swilled Dog received a gold and a double gold award at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and a gold award in the World Whiskies Awards.
The Swilled Dog cider and whiskey tasting rooms are open Fridays, 2-8 p.m., and Saturdays, 12-8 p.m.