Glassroom: The Q&A blog series with whisky distillers

Wiggly Bridge: Dave Woods

24 Jun, 2020

It all started during a family dinner with a joking statement of “lets make our own whisky.” With a shared love for good whisky and fascination to see how things are made, we decided to explore the idea.

Can you give us a bit of background about yourself and how you started in the whiskey industry?

I’m David Woods – Owner/Founder/Lead Distiller of Wiggly Bridge Distillery. My son and I founded and started Wiggly Bridge Distillery in 2013.

It all started during a family dinner with a joking statement of “lets make our own whisky.” With a shared love for good whisky and fascination to see how things are made, we decided to explore the idea. Although the distillery is where I spend my days, it is not my only focus.

My kids, their spouses, and long time employees help me run businesses ranging from carwashes, salon and spa, oil and propane company and a campground.

Can you tell us about your distillery,
and what makes it unique?

Wiggly Bridge Distillery started in the heart of York Beach, Maine — a charming and historic seaside village settled in the early 1600’s, among the first in Maine. The ocean air and rocky coast of our own hometown is our inspiration, so it’s no wonder that we chose to start our distillery here.

My son David and I researched and studied (and some say obsessed) over how to build a still and process alcohol. Being fortunate enough to travel to the Caribbean we decided to build and operate a small hand made copper still on the island of Montserrat to put our research to the test. Turns out they were quite good at it and grew even more intrigued by the craft of small batch distilling.

What we made rivaled some of our favorite brands, with a bit of a twist. Now, winning awards, we are beginning to understand that we have created something very special.

Are there any little ‘distilling’ secrets you can let us in on?

We hand make our stills. My son taught himself how to weld on YouTube. We have saved a considerable about of money doing a lot of things ourselves —It’s a lot less bottles we need to sell to cover the extra cost.

Whiskey has been phenomenally successful
in the United States and around the planet,
why do you think this is compared to other spirits?

There’s a history behind whiskey and making whiskey across all countries. It’s a spirit that’s associated with special occasions and because of the time associated with not only making but aging makes it more desirable.

Prohibition in the US really started it’s trajectory towards success because people want what they can’t have. Currently the internet and bartenders across the globe are creating craft cocktails with whisky that appeal not just to men, but to women as well.

In your years in the industry, what have been the biggest surprises you have faced?

The low volume of sales the majority (most) of craft distilleries have and their ability to hang on.

What are the big trends that are affecting the whiskey industry at the moment?

The increased consumption of alcoholic beverages always helps. The “craft” movement where people are wanting to use fresh ingredients and also wanting to use “craft” spirits to make those cocktails complete.

I think you will also see the rise and fall of many distilleries as current economic issues engulf our country.

Are there any interesting stories from your time in the whiskey industry that you could share?

I’m probably the least interesting person out there and don’t partake in many interesting stories.

What developments in the whiskey industry most excite you?

The return on our investment that is received from diligent hard work over the years.

What do you see as being the future of whiskey in the short term?

Shakeout amongst the craft distilleries along with its consolidation and sales increases to the general public looking for a more local option.

Why do you use the Glencairn Glass in your business and what makes it so special?

Like you, we are a family business and we couldn’t agree more that family values deliver better products and services.

We’ve been satisfied with each order in service and quality. Being able to say the Glencairn glasses we carry are official gives credibility and trust.

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