Meet The New Distiller Of Rogue Spirits

Our search for a new distiller to help us Grow The Revolution at Rogue Spirits is over.

Meet Jake Holshue, a young guy who’s already made quite an impression in the world of craft distilling and a true Rogue.

Jake Holshue, the new Level 10 Spirits Wizard at Rogue Spirits.

Jake Holshue, the new Level 10 Spirits Wizard at Rogue Spirits.

Like a lot of us at Rogue, Jake started as a homebrewer. He co-founded the Rimrock Brewers Guild in his hometown of Billings, Montana.

Naturally, Jake wanted to follow his passion for craft beer and go professional. But fate had other plans for him.

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Here’s Jake “smithing” a whiskey, adding Free Range Coastal water to lower the proof for barrel aging.

A chance meeting at a homebrew store put him in touch with Casey McGowan, an insurance agent who wanted to bring artisan craft spirits to Billings. Jake knew little about distilling, but was willing to learn and took a risk on Casey. Together, they started Trailhead Spirits.

It didn’t take long for this self-taught distiller to craft a solid line up of whiskey, gin and vodka. Trailhead began winning major awards in its first year and has continued to rack up more trophies ever since. Jake created every single one of those recipes.

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Filling whiskey barrels.

But Jake was itching for something else. He became a consultant for distilleries all over the world, and then headed east to Baltimore to start up another distillery. Everyone in the spirits world knows Jake, or knows someone who knows Jake, which is why they call him the Kevin Bacon of artisan craft distilling.

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One of Jake’s responsibilities is to unload the mash we truck in across the parking lot from the Rogue Brewery.

When we posted the job for a new distiller, Jake jumped at the chance. He didn’t even bother applying anywhere else.

Jake was a fan of Rogue because of the quality of our beers, and that we offered a wide variety to craft beer drinkers in Montana. We didn’t treat the state like it was some kind of backwater and Jake appreciated that.

Plus, the chance to work alongside Rogue’s legendary Brewmaster John Maier was too much for him to resist.

Rinsing a still, Jake is a hands-on kind of guy.

Rinsing a still. Jake is a hands-on kind of guy.

What did we see in Jake? Someone willing to take risks and follow his dreams wherever they lead him. His time at Trailhead taught him the value of using quality ingredients of known origin. He came to us as a true believer in the Grow Your Own Revolution.

We also liked his ideas about crafting new and interesting whiskeys, gins, vodkas and bourbon. As a Revolutionary, Jake wants to push the boundaries of what people expect when they pick up a glass. “I want to entice people, to give them something interesting and unique, something that will have them scratching their heads,” Jake told us. “I don’t make dumb spirits.”

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This is Jake’s playground for experimenting, our nano-still where he can try out all of his crazy ideas.

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Here’s some of his first experiments. Jake freely admits most won’t ever make it past the experimental stage. But Revolutions never rest, and Jake will always be looking for ways to make our spirits even better.

Rogue Spirits has a profile that no one else can match. It’s because we grow, malt, roast, smoke and mash our own ingredients. Everything we do from the farm, to the farmstead malt house, and to the distillery influences the quality of our spirits.

-Jake Holshue

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The next time you’re in our hometown of Newport, Oregon, pay a visit to the Rogue Distillery and say hello to Jake, our newest Revolutionary.

Plus, the guy rocks an awesome beard.

Spirits Lineup Logo Nov 2015



Categories: Spirits

2 replies

  1. I’m proud to say, “I know that guy!” Keep up the good work Jake.

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