All whiskeys start out as beer, but it’s not the delicious kind we all enjoy. It’s an un-hopped, fermented liquid called distiller’s beer that tastes nothing like your favorite IPA. It made Marko wonder what would happen if we started with delicious, hopped beer (ready to be bottled and enjoyed) instead. 

As Marko says, “When we distill in the pot still, it’s twenty to one reduction, so if you start out with something delicious, you’re going to concentrate delicious.”

A simple sounding idea, but rarely practiced for many reasons including high cost, extra time and effort required, and the challenge to distill with a carbonated beer. But as master distillers and pioneers, the opportunity to take whiskey making up a notch was a challenge we couldn’t pass up. 

So in 1999, we started turning pilsner beer into whiskey. Known as the Pilsner Series, we released five batches in different waves, the last being Release V, with over 20 years of aging. It was the first, and perhaps most recognized, whiskey to be distilled from a bottle-ready IPA in the US. Our next whiskey adventure was distilling highly-regarded Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, called Charbay Whiskey R5. 

We’ve been perfecting the art of making top shelf whiskey starting with delicious bottle-ready beer ever since. Many have followed our pioneering ways but we are the original….