In 2006, while drinking Scotch and barbecuing with mesquite scraps from our custom furniture company, Arroyo Design, we had a thought. Why couldn’t we malt barley over mesquite instead of peat, as they do in Scotland, for a single-malt whiskey with a flavor distinctive to the American Southwest?
Unable to shake the concept of a Sonoran Desert single-malt, Stephen began learning how to malt barley and make whiskey, starting with a 5 gallon alembic pot-still from Portugal.
Graduating to a 40 gallon pot-still in 2011, Stephen and his daughter Amanda incorporated Hamilton Distillers and product-development was officially underway. By 2013 the three distinctly different Whiskeys Del Bac hit the local Tucson marketplace, and were warmly embraced by The Old Pueblo.
In January of 2014, we graduated to a 500 gallon distillery and malt house in a larger location. On December 18, 2014, we ran our first spirit run on the new still and started aging barrels of whiskey. While our first malting system involved floor malting 70 lb batches and then drying the malt in a meat style smoker we constructed, our new malthouse allows us to malt 5,000 lb batches using a tank system in which we are able to steep, germinate, and dry between two tanks.
Who We Are Today
We malt our own barley, and we mash, ferment, distill, barrel and bottle under one roof. We are especially proud to say we do it all ourselves and never source or chill filter.