New, woman-owned brand Highline Spirits recently launched with four inaugural whiskey expressions.
A statement from the new spirits brand described the early days, as told by CEO and founder Christi Lower, a former pediatric surgery physicians assistant, mother of four, and whiskey enthusiast.
She explained that it was her inner monologue asking “why?” that got her into the business.
“Why was talking about blending such a taboo? Why did it matter if a spirit was from a single distiller and a single location? What happens when different spirits are placed in different types of barrels? Why did she have a hard time getting some industry reps to return her calls, when her partner would get an immediate response? Why wasn’t there more diverse representation in the spirits industry?”
Lower said she believes that the convergence of different cultures and crafts creates something greater than the sum of its parts. With that, she created Highline Spirits and begin immediately to focus on sourcing, blending, batching, and special-finishing premium small-batch spirits.
As her knowledge of the industry grew, about a decade ago, she became fascinated by the evolution of a spirit based on weather, terroir, wood, grain, and yeast.
“Yet I was also struck by how myopic the final distillate landing in the bottle could be,” she said. “Most whiskey on the shelf is controlled by a very small group of people, marketing to an American consumer who no longer looks as it did when the industry started. Our culture is evolving. Our spirits should also be evolving with different personalities, perspectives and practices to reflect that growth and dimension.”
Living by that ethos, Lower hired Kate Keister, Highline Spirits warehouse and production manager and proud member of the LGBTQ+ community with eight years of warehouse and supply chain management experience.
And Kate Arbour also joined the team as the company’s director of operations, with more than 20 years of global hospitality and project management experience.
Now, Highline Spirits enters the market with four limited-edition flagship products:
- Bourbon Whiskey – A blend of five, six, and eight-year straight bourbons featuring caramel and butterscotch notes with a hint of baking spice on the nose. The palate finishes with the light oak undertones of aged Kentucky bourbon. 51% ABV/102 proof. $64.99.
- Triple Rye Whiskey – Aromas of cocoa and dark cherry, with lingering flavors of malt chocolate and stone fruit. A blend of five, 5.5, and 10-year-old whiskies. 48.5% ABV/97 proof. $79.99.
- Straight Kentucky Whiskey – Eight years of aging brings caramel, vanilla and malted chocolate flavors with a smooth palate and a light, lingering finish. 50% ABV/100 proof. $49.99.
- American Whiskey – A blend of two high-rye Indiana bourbons, a Kentucky heritage bourbon and a straight wheat whiskey all finished in new American, French and Hungarian toasted oak barrels. Bottled at cask strength, a blend of five, six, seven, and eight-year-old whiskies with notes of caramel, sweet stone fruit and baking spice. 56% ABV/112 proof. $139.99.
Highline Spirits are now available for distribution and sale in Michigan and online at highlinespirits.com.
Lower said that as for production, Highline is well stocked with more than 4,000 barrels aged 10 years to new fill, and has secured production schedules of more than 3,500 barrels a year going forward.
She said they plan to launch a full line of spirits including gin, rum, tequila, and vodka in the coming months, and achieve global distribution in the next decade.
The Highline Spirits Tasting Room will open in Dexter, Michigan, in early September. The facility will include a 2,400 square-foot gathering space and will allow for a whiskey tasting class or selling bottles. A second tasting room in Plymouth, Michigan is scheduled to open in late fall.