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Just dropping by: Hatch Distilling Company in Egg Harbor

Distillery produces bourbon, gin, whiskey, wine and vodka

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November 2, 2023

EGG HARBOR – Before my trip to Hatch Distilling Company in Egg Harbor for the 13th installment of Just dropping by, I couldn’t tell you the difference between bourbon, gin, whiskey and vodka without looking online.

This is probably because, if memory serves me right, I’ve never had any of them.

However, after visiting the distillery, I know it all comes down to the ingredients.

I’ve learned that bourbon, whiskey and vodka are mostly grain-based, while gin is made from juniper berries, which give it its pine-tree flavor.

Of course, there are different varieties of spirits, and each distillery puts its touch on its brand – but I’d say I have the basics down.

Chatting with Co-owner Chris Roedl, who along with his wife, Emily, runs the distillery, I discovered that Hatch is relatively new to the spirits game – opening in 2018.

Hatch Distilling Company is located at 7740 WI-42 in Egg Harbor. The Business News Staff Photo

“I grew up on an area farm and started in the poultry industry,” Chris said. “I eventually got a desk job, but I wanted to get back into something in the agricultural industry again. In daydreaming, I came up with the idea of a distillery and landed in Egg Harbor.”

Chris said his poultry days served as inspiration for the distillery’s name – “Hatch.”

“Things are going great, and I’m happy with where we’re at,” he said. “We distribute all over Wisconsin, so the amount we produce stays consistent all year. We are typically busy from May through October (in the tasting room) – with October being our busiest month – and we are open on weekends only in the colder months.”

Besides the actual process of making spirits, what I found most unique about Hatch is its business model – which is focused on keeping it local, meaning as close to Egg Harbor as possible.

“We make our spirits from local grains, honey and fruit,” Chris said. “Our spirits use grains grown five miles away from here at 3H Farms – the grain never leaves the area.”

After processing the grains into spirits, Chris said the clear bourbon and whiskey blends go into a barrel clear and stay there for up to three years.

Over time, Chris said the barrel gives whiskey and bourbon blends the color they are known for.

“Each barrel might produce 250-300 bottles,” he said. “It goes into the barrels at about 110 proof and then we water it down from there to get it to 80-90 proof. Gin and vodka don’t require aging like bourbon and whiskey do.”

Rich took a few whacks at the wooden plug used to seal the bourbon barrels. The Business News Staff Photo

Gin might be the most interesting of the spirits, at least in my opinion.

“Juniper berries are native to Wisconsin, so you’ll see us fighting off the mosquitoes each fall foraging for them,” Chris said.

And if master distiller isn’t enough, Chris is also a beekeeper.

“We use a lot of honey in our products,” he said. “I keep about 20-50 hives each year, but that doesn’t supply us with enough honey (for what we need), so we work with a Stevens Point beekeeper who helps us produce the rest.”

Hatch also has a warehouse located behind the tasting room where it keeps its aging inventory of bourbon and whiskey barrels – I even got to hammer a wooden plug into one of those barrels.

“People often say there are more barrels of bourbon in Kentucky than there are people,” Chris said. “We can say the same thing in Egg Harbor. There are 240 registered voters in Egg Harbor, and we have more than that many barrels on-site here.”

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