American Spirit 'white whiskey' expands market

A new craft white whiskey.
Just last fall, partners Jim Chasteen and Charlie Thompson created a white whiskey they called American Spirit Whiskey. Now, they've opened a new whiskey blending and bottling operation in North Charleston, SC, to support the growing distribution of the craft brand in the Southeast.

American Spirit Whiskey label is being introduced to several markets in South Carolina this week. It already had been distributed to more than 250 restaurants and stores in Georgia, where the company was founded.

“We look forward to showing South Carolina residents that our product is one that can be sipped on its own as well as easily pulled out of the liquor cabinet at home or local restaurant to make a quick mixed drink,” Thompson said in a news release.

Chasteen said the company, which is headquartered in Atlanta, hopes the label can change the perception of whiskey as a quality drink.

“Southern culture and nostalgia for classic Americana are at the root of our whiskey, which makes it appealing to a broad range of spirits drinkers,” he said in the news release.

Unaged white whiskies form a fast-growing market niche that in my experience vary greatly in quality and character. Chastee and Thompson say their small-batch product is ASW is made in using bourbon-quality, un-aged whiskey -- 95% grain neutral spirits, 5% spirits from corn, rye and barley, bottled at 80 proof. They use a "specialized" filtering system that removes the bite typical of unaged whiskey.

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