Rehorst has been producing some fantastic local spirits for quite some time. I have always been impressed with how they purposely go out of their way to produce things the old-fashioned way.
Last year I was working on a project for which I was tasked to create a homemade tonic. Guy Rehorst was there to assist when I couldn't find any quinine, which is an integral part of the recipe.
I recently spent some time with Guy to shake, stir and pick his brain about his passion.
Jason Gorman: How did you get into the business of creating some of Wisconsin's finest spirits?
Guy Rehorst: I was always into beer, wine and spirits, since I was a home brewer and wine making hobbyist I developed a curiosity about distilled spirits; it seemed like a logical next step. I also realized that while there were lots of great craft breweries and small wineries and you could find their products in so many bars and restaurants, there weren't any small distilleries.
Everything on the shelves was either imported or made at one of a very small handful of distilleries in the U.S. I was wrong, later finding out that there were about 30 small distilleries in the U.S. at that time – most of which were associated with wineries and producing small batches of brandy. There are now more than 400 small distilleries in the U.S.
So, I eventually decided Milwaukee would be a good market – people here really support local in a big way, and in 2006 we opened what was then Wisconsin's only distillery.
JG: What are your thoughts on the mixologist movement? Has it gone overboard?
GR: I love it. They are really talented people who like going the extra mile and are very creative; they need an outlet and their customers are the lucky beneficiaries of that. Most of them are modest and hate the term mixologist, but they are special and not your typical bartender. What they do may not be appropriate for all bars or situations, but when they are in the right place they do magic. …Read more...