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Distiller's Journal

January 10, 2015

Manatawny Still Works brews up Batch01

Batch01 is the first in a series of small-batch aged whiskey planned for release by Pottstown’s Manatawny Still Works. The first batch was released on Dec. 5, with only 1,920 bottles made available.


Pottstown >> Manatawny Still Works has paid tribute to a key time in U.S. history — Prohibition — with the release the first of its aged whiskeys in its Small-Batch Whiskey Series.

Manatawny Still Works’ Batch01 was issued on Dec. 5, marking the date in 1933 when Prohibition ended. It was issued in a limited run of 1,920 specially labeled bottles — a number that coincidentally matched the year Prohibition first made it illegal to sell, manufacture or transport alcoholic beverages.

Batch01 is the first in what will be 12 small-batch whiskeys the distillery plans to release over the next 18 months.

While Manatawny Still Works’ signature Pennsylvania whiskey continues its two-year aging process in a traditional 53-gallon barrel, the distillery’s team decided to do something unique for its growing crowd of whiskey drinkers.

“Crafting young whiskeys allows us to use different raw materials, techniques and times in the barrel to offer unique batches featuring distinct flavor profiles,” Max Pfeffer, Manatawny’s founding distiller, said in a press release. “Each Manatawny Still Works’ young whiskey in our Batch Series will be a limited release in numbered bottles.”

Future releases will be issued in smaller batches ranging from 300 to 350 bottles, according to Manatawny’s vice president of sales and marketing Randy McKinley.

The first batch in the series of one-off whiskeys included three separate distillations blended together and then barreled in late March. McKinley said it was aged for 226 days in new, 30-gallon honeycomb barrels. The honeycomb design increases the surface area of the barrel allowing more wood sugars to be dissolved quicker, and the result is an oak-forward whiskey, according to the release.

“I can’t tell you how awesome it is to be able to enjoy some whiskey that has taken our blood, sweat and tears to create,” Pfeffer added. “The best part is that Batch01 is better than I ever imagined it would be. It makes me look forward to Batch Whiskey 02.”

The distillery plans to release what it is calling a “Limited Edition Cask Strength,” 121 proof whiskey, later this month, McKinley said.

“We are waiting for the label to be approved and then we’ll go to print with the label and then bottle it at the end of the month,” he added. “We’ll only do about 130 bottles in a very exclusive release.”

McKinley said demand for Manatawny’s products continues to grow, adding that the holiday season was “eye-opening” for him.

“We didn’t know how many people would buy spirits for gifts. We were shocked at how many people came out to buy, not just locally, but from places like Delaware and New York,” he added.

The distillery sold its spirits during the holidays — including its J. Potts Whiskey, T. Rutter Rum and its Batch01 aged whiskey. But McKinley said the number one gift giving item was a home aging kit — complete with barrel and unaged whiskey or rum — for customers to age at home.

“We ran out (of the kits). We learned, and next year, we’ll have the historical numbers to know how many to have on hand,” McKinley added.

What’s driving the interest in craft spirits?

“The buy local initiative has an influence on it. People would prefer to leave their money with someone close to them. Also, craft beer drinkers have moved on to ‘what’s next.’ They say, ‘if I like craft beer — what else is out there?’ People are also more willing to try something new,” McKinley said.

The coming year will be a busy one for Manatawny Still Works. McKinley said that following the release of the limited edition cask strength whiskey, the distillery will bottle and release 1,500 bottles of its first gin. He said that like other Manatawny Still Works products — the gin will be given a name that embraces Pottstown’s history.

“There’s a neat tie back to Pottstown — the name is ‘Odd Fellows #214’ named after the Manatawny lodge No. 214 of the Odd Fellows,” McKinley said.

In February, Manatawny Still Works will release Batch02 — the second of the company’s small-batch aged whiskeys. McKinley said the small batch offerings five people “a taste of what’s to come.”

In addition, McKinley said the distillery is about to get into the state Liquor Control Board system, which will allow bars and restaurant to buy the company’s products through a distributor instead of directly through the distillery.

Manatawny Still Works’ products are available in 50 bars and restaurants in Pennsylvania.

“This would make it more convenient for them,” McKinley added.

Manatawny Still Works is located on the banks of Manatawny Creek — whose Lenape name literally means, “the place we meet to drink.” Manatawny Still Works offers tours for the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday each week. For more information, visit

Information for this article came from The Pottstown Mercury.

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Manatawny Still Works, Pottstown, Pennsylvania

1603 E Passyunk Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19148
p: 267-519-2917

Passyunk Avenue Tasting Room and Craft Spirits Shop
Monday - Thursday (5pm - 11pm)
Friday & Saturday (Noon - 11pm)
Sunday (Noon - 8pm)

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320 Circle of Progress Drive
Suite 104
Pottstown, PA 19464
p: 484.624.8271

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