Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down for a chat with Master Distiller Ryan Vierheller of Blue Dyer Distilling Co. For a relatively young man (yes, young relative to a 61-years long-in-the-tooth me, dear reader), he’s been working at distilling for a long time, having started to learn his craft as a pre-teen from his one-time bootlegger grandfather in Stafford County, Virginia.
My wife Cindy and I first visited Blue Dyer last October, intrigued by the thought that there was rum being distilled just down the road from us. Vierheller’s partner, Walker Dunbar, who was on tour-guide duty that particular weekend, showed us around the operation. After tasting the rum we bought a couple bottles to take home. A month later, we went back for another visit, which led me to write Food-truck sandwiches & rum.
After that article was published, Vierheller got in touch. I asked if they were going to be distilling any bourbon (my favorite tipple), and he said they planned to make their first whiskey “soon.” Intrigued, I stayed in contact, as I looked forward to tasting Blue Dyer’s first whiskey. That prospect, along with additional developments for the business, led to this interview.
Below you’ll find links to three video segments excerpted from a much longer conversation. While Vierheller had hoped to have his first whiskey available by December 2016, various factors delayed things along the way, and he now hopes to sell his first bourbon-style whiskey (made with corn, rye, and two types of malted barley, aged in charred-oak barrels) sometime in May. Also, Vierheller announced on April 5, 2017 that they will also be distilling gin, and expects to release the first bottles in late May or early June.
I think you’ll find this interview provides some insights into what’s going on with a growing start-up business (they sold their first bottle of rum just last July). It will be interesting to see if we can sit down for another interview in the future to find out what’s happened and what may be coming up next.
Vierheller interview, part 1
Running time: 4:01
- 0:38 — Discussion of a possible new course on distilling and brewing for the College of Southern Maryland.
- 2:10 — Comparative difficulties of running a distillery versus a brewery.
- 2:45 — Discussion of distillation science.
Vierheller interview, part 2
Running time: 6:03
- 0:30 — Comments on how things are going for Blue Dyer Distillery, Co.
- 1:12 — How their rum differs from most other distillers, especially in terms of flavor and color.
- 2:23 — How much rum they’ve made.
- 2:43 — Lining-up a distributor.
- 3:12 — Successful expansion into the market.
- 4:08 — Planned expansion of sales into Virginia, the original home of Blue Dyer corn liquor 130 years ago.
Vierheller interview, part 3
Running time: 2:49
- 0:16 — What foods go well with Blue Dyer rum?
This video was shot with an iPhone 6+. The video was edited on the same phone with the Splice Video Editor from GoPro. ♦