1804 Oat Whiskey
With great respect for the journey of Lewis & Clark, their discoveries and their hidden successes, we named our Oat Whiskey “1804.”
We take our history seriously. We can’t go back, but we definitely build on our past and we respect those who laid the foundation for our future.
Our home is in the middle of South Dakota, part of Dakota Territory which was acquired from France in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Most of the Louisiana Purchase lands are connected to the Missouri River which happens to run just south of our Distillery.
One of the greatest explorations in American History was the Lewis & Clark Expedition which explored the Missouri River looking for the Northwest Passage. While not successful in that endeavor, the expedition produced some of the most significant scientific observations of geography, cultures, plants and animals from the core of the United States. Lewis and Clark’s collections and descriptions of various plant and animal species established the highest scientific quality standards of their time.
The Expedition lasted 28 months with the outbound leg leaving St. Louis in 1804 and the return leg occurring in 1806. Both legs followed alongside the Missouri River through what became South Dakota. Now, the Lewis and Clark Trail follows the path of this great expedition. In South Dakota, the outward leg on the east side of the river from Pierre to Mobridge was memorialized as Highway 1804, and the return route on the west side of the river was memorialized as Highway 1806. These are the only highways in the United States named for the years of an expedition.
Unfortunately, the Lewis & Clark Expedition ran out of rum while traveling through South Dakota and many members of the expedition went AWOL as a result. If we would have been around back then, our spirits would have saved the day!
With great respect for the journey of Lewis & Clark, their discoveries and their hidden successes, we named our Oak Whiskey “1804.”
When we began the process of producing an oat whiskey, we were exploring new territory. Why an oak whiskey? Because South Dakota is the number one producer of oats in the U.S. Oat is a grain, and whiskey is made from grains, so we decided to make oat whiskey. Oats produce a slightly sweeter flavor than corn (used in bourbon) and add a subtle nuttiness that isn’t found when mashing with other grains. We make our oat mash from local oats. After fermentation and distillation, we age this unique spirit in new charred American Oak barrels.
The oak, the sweet nutty oats and the angels work their magic over the next four to six years.
Most whiskey is aged only four years, so why did we age ours six? Part of the journey involved getting approval for our oat whiskey label. It took years for TTB (the federal agency that approves labels for distilled spirits) to approve an “Oat” whiskey. While we battled with bureaucrats, this unique whiskey continued to mature and blossom into an amazingly satisfying spirit.
After six years, this story had to be shared. Our label was finally approved and 1804 Oat Whiskey was legal for public consumption.
In April of 2020, our 1804 Oat Whiskey was awarded a Gold Medal and Best of Category at the American Distillers Institute Judging of Craft Spirits. Can’t get much better than Best!
Not as overpowering as bourbon, and not as much bite as a rye, this is a smooth, clean, mellow fellow that has a slightly sweet aroma. Compared to corn, oat has a nutty, sweeter taste. Both characteristics carry through in this award-winning whiskey.
If you have never had an oat whiskey you are in for a very delightful experience. Our bottles are age dated and numbered. As with all our products, we have limited supply. Take a moment to enjoy the aroma before pouring it over one large ice cube. On the rock, please! You won’t need anything else.