Interview – Technology, Whiskey, Business, and the creation of a new Straight Rye Whiskey from Dad’s Hat at the American Whiskey Convention

Craft Breweries and Craft Distillers seem to be sprouting on every street corner. When you consider that it was only a few years ago that all 50 states allowed home brewing of beer, the rise in small breweries and distillers is providing jobs, local pride, and an antidote to the large conglomerates. One of the best of the new distillers is Dad’s Hat, located in Bristol, a Philadelphia region based distiller of rye whiskey that has racked up award after award since its introduction. In this interview we explore what brought Herman C. Mihalich to his dream of distilling his own rye whiskey in the state where rye whiskey originated. As for the name of their endeavor, he says, “My Dad wore hats. Real hats. The kind you only see in old pictures or movies these days. He had a lot of hats. His favorites were Stetson fedoras, handcrafted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”

For the uninitiated distilling liquor might seem pretty simple. Get a still, raw ingredients, some barrels, and bottles and away you go. However, creating a modern distillery, understanding the business plan, weathering a long period where cash exits the business with no revenue for several years at the minimum is a far more complicated proposition, and Herman C. Mihalich details what it took for Dad’s Hat to get up and running, and now that they are running, what’s next. If you are interested in spirits, entrepreneurship, rye whiskey, business in Pennsylvania, then listen in!

Harris Fogel and Ken Kramar, with editorial assistance by Nancy Burlan, recorded at the American Whiskey Convention, at Citizens Bank Park, posted 4/15/2017 (8:32)

Photographs © Harris Fogel 2017

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