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Dave Pickerell

WhistlePig Rye Whiskey
Master Distiller

WhistlePig and Hillrock Estate Distilleries’ Master Distiller Dave Pickerell, a luminary in the world of whiskey, is one of the nation’s preeminent distillers. Before joining WhistlePig, and Hillrock Estate Distillery, Pickerell spent 14 years as Master Distiller for Maker's Mark in Loretto, Kentucky.


He has since joined the WhistlePig team to launch what he regards as his magnum opus: WhistlePig 100% Straight Rye Whiskey. Pickerell spent more than a year on an exhaustive search of North America for the best rye whiskey in the world and believes “100/100” embodies the perfect balance of proof, purity, and age – hitting what he calls "the sweet spot" in all three categories.

Dave also provides Hillrock with unmatched industry experience in the areas of product development, business planning, system design, production, staffing/training, operations management and sales. This expertise has effected Hillrock to produce the world’s first Solera Aged Bourbon and other award-winning whiskeys from grains grown, traditionally floor-malted, distilled and aged on premise, solidifying Hillrock as a world-class “field-to-glass” distillery in the Hudson Valley of New York.

Throughout his career, Pickerell has provided engineering services for beverage alcohol facilities around the world including in Russia, Scotland, China, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Canada. In the U.S., he has also designed distillation equipment and systems for many of the bourbon and Tennessee Whisky distilleries.

With his extensive background in distilled spirits production, Pickerell served as a board member and past chair for the Kentucky Distillers Association, as well as the chair of its technical committee. He also served on the technical committee of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), Washington DC based trade organization and lobbying group.  He currently serves as a board member for the American Craft Spirits Association.

Pickerell is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point with a B.S. in Chemistry. Upon graduation, he served in the U.S. military for 11 years as a cavalry officer with logistics, training and parachutist specialties. He later received his master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Louisville.