Vodka sales to help fund Sperry rebuild

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Whistling Andy’s Distillery in Bigfork is releasing a new huckleberry vodka, with a significant portion of proceeds going toward the rebuild of Glacier Park’s Sperry Chalet.

General manager Dax Van Fossen said Glacier National Park and Sperry Chalet were extremely important to himself and distillery owners Brian Anderson and Lisa Cloutier. When the chalet burned in last summer’s Sprague Fire they wanted to channel their grief in a positive way.

“We decided to fight back with vodka,” Van Fossen said.

The vodka is made from Montana huckleberries and spruce tips along with a dose of Japanese Shiso leaves that add citrus notes to the final product, said distiller Gabe Spencer. It is 35 percent alcohol by volume, and represents Whistling Andy’s first foray into the flavored vodka market.

“We wanted to put something out that went with Glacier Park,” Spencer said. “And what goes better with Glacier Park, and Montana for that matter, than huckleberry?”

The normal Whistling Andy’s vodka sells at retail for about $26.50, and they expect this bottle to be priced at about $30 given the quality of the ingredients.

Van Fossen said that after taxes and production costs, about 70 percent of the $30 price would go to the Glacier Conservancy. After a year, the contribution proportion would change so that 5 percent of gross sales will be contributed to the Glacier Conservancy.

The first batch was bottled Wednesday, and tallied about 300 bottles. It is available for sale in the Whistling Andy’s tasting room. Visit online at www.whistlingandy.com.

Reporter Peregrine Frissell can be reached at (406) 758-4438 or pfrissell@dailyinterlake.com.

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