Filibuster Whiskey from Washington D.C.

Did you know that the citizens of Washington D.C. didn’t get to vote in an election until this month in 1964? (Don’t worry, I talk about whiskey in a bit..)

Washington, D.C., is the only non-state to be enfranchised for presidential elections, gaining electoral votes through the ratification of the 23rd Amendment in 1961. That amendment gave the District of Columbia a share of electors proportional to its population (like the states), but limited it to no more electors than the least populous state (That’s right, D.C. and Wyoming are voting buddies!) This meant three electoral votes in 1964, and that number has not changed. Our capital is a strange place.  The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any U.S. state. Their license plates read “taxation without representation” which was one of the main reasons for our country going to war with England during our revolution…

Washington D.C. can’t help but be political! I think that may go without saying…It is only appropriate that a small non-distiller producer in the district has created the Filibuster brand of whiskeys. A filibuster (as defined by Wikipedia) is-

”…a parliamentary procedure where debate over a proposed piece of legislation is extended, allowing one or more members to delay or entirely prevent a vote on the proposal. It is sometimes referred to as talking out a bill or talking bill to death and characterized as a form of obstruction in a legislature or other decision-making body.”

This brand of whiskey is already controversial without any help from the critics by its name alone. It’s nothing new that new start-up whiskey companies in the United States often have to source bulk whiskey and bottle it under their own label to support themselves financially while they attempt to produce their own product in their own distillery. This company is no exception. It looks like originally, in 2013, they sourced whiskey from LDI (MGP) though the bottles state it is sourced from Kentucky (Many new labels can do this if the product was shipped to Kentucky before being shipped to them-perhaps aged in Kentucky for a period of time but not distilled there) and then that whiskey was aged further in French oak (Chardonnay casks from Horton Vinyards) for at least 6 months. The sourced bourbon was between 6 and 10 years old and the rye was 2 years old. These practices are nothing new and nothing to be disturbed or irritated by. Even the big distilleries buy sourced product and bottle it under their own name. It’s practically an American tradition! This D.C. product is just as American as the next non-distiller producer…And made in our capital city, no less!

Sid Dilawri was the owner of Modern Liquors in downtown D.C. near the Convention Center. In 2011, he began blending bourbons and formed his company. He was the second distillery to establish itself in the D.C. metropolitan area-the first being New Columbia Distillery, makers of GreenHat whiskey. Now, Dilawri and his partner Rob Moulthrop (the sales manager- he came up with the name for the product) are putting down roots for their new distillery outside of town in Maurertown, Virginia, where they felt the water quality was improved. They have a rye, a bourbon, their dual cask bourbon, and their triple cask bourbon available for sale. The more the merrier, right? Every new distillery has to start somewhere…It’s up to the consumer to determine whether they continue to grow in the marketplace.