Lodestar Whiskey: From Entertainment to Rising Star of American Spirits

In the dynamic world of American spirits, a new name has been drawing attention and accolades: Lodestar Whiskey. This local, women-founded brand has carved a niche for itself by being recognized as one of Gear Patrol’s “Best New Bourbon & Other Whiskey Releases of 2023.” The distinction doesn’t stop there; it’s the inaugural whiskey venture to receive backing from Diageo’s Distill Ventures award-winning Pre-Accelerator program. With features in prestigious outlets such as American Whiskey Magazine, CBS News, Foodsided, Food Republic, Santa Monica Daily Press, and The New York Times, Lodestar Whiskey is making waves well beyond its Southern California roots.

Lodestar’s journey is as unique as its flavor profile. The brand’s co-founders, Anna and Wendelin, transitioned from the entertainment industry to the spirits business, bringing with them a fresh perspective that has resonated with both whiskey newcomers and aficionados alike. Their story is one of reinvention and passion, leading to the creation of a whiskey that stands out in a crowded market.

What sets Lodestar apart is its blend, an unconventional mix of Straight High-Rye Bourbon and American Single Malt Whiskey. This combination yields a whiskey with notes of caramel, citrus and warm baking spice—a nod to the brand’s ability to innovate while staying true to whiskey traditions. Priced at $45 online, Lodestar Whiskey is positioned as both high-quality and approachable, embodying the laid-back California lifestyle and the belief that life’s special moments are best shared.

For those in Southern California looking to experience Lodestar firsthand, the whiskey can be found at select establishments such as Cassia, Lunetta, Gold-Diggers, and Esters Wine Shop. Each location not only offers a taste of Lodestar but also a glimpse into the vibrant local food and beverage scene that the brand is a part of.

The co-founders’ journey from the entertainment industry to launching a celebrated whiskey brand is a compelling narrative that they are eager to share. I had the chance to interview both co-founders, as Anna and Wendelin discuss their transition, the production process, how they modernized their approach to whiskey and the discovery of Lodestar’s winning taste profile.

How did the process of learning about whiskey-making and visiting various distilleries influence the unique decision to blend a bourbon and a single malt together for your product, and what role did the master blender play in this innovative approach?

“We initially focused on learning about the whiskey-making process before diving into flavor profiles and other specifics. We traveled to numerous distilleries to gain a deeper understanding of how whiskey is crafted. Regarding the unique or modern aspects you mentioned, we inadvertently challenged tradition by deciding to blend a bourbon and a single malt together. This decision stemmed from having distinct preferences for what we wanted in the flavor profile. Additionally, our master blender played a crucial role by suggesting new ideas and combinations. This collaborative effort led us to the innovative blending of these two distinct types of whiskey, a concept that many people are now aware of.”

After finding the whiskey winning recipe, can you describe any specific tasting notes that people would people should look out for when drinking this particular whiskey?

“Sure. Our blend includes bourbon with a high rye content, which, despite its robustness, is incredibly smooth. The rye contributes delightful baking spice notes, while the bourbon introduces familiar caramel flavors, making it easy to drink. Additionally, the malt brings toasty cereal notes and provides a really long finish. We aimed to create a whiskey that is approachable yet not oversimplified; it’s complex and offers a variety of flavors that unfold as you drink it. Your palate will discover different notes throughout the experience.”

When you both made this whiskey, was was there any particular cocktail recipe that comes in mind?

“We do have a couple of signature cocktails. The first one we created is the ‘Lobster Iced Tea,’ which you can find on our website. It’s a simple yet exquisite blend, featuring black tea as its base. The specific tea we use is Lapsang Souchong, known for its distinctive smoky flavor. This smokiness complements the whiskey wonderfully, enhancing the drink’s overall character.

Additionally, we have crafted an Espresso Tonic using Lodestar. This drink particularly highlights the cereal notes present in our whiskey blend. The espresso’s robust flavor pairs seamlessly with Lodestar, creating a harmonious balance.

The inspiration for using tea came from the desire to complement the whiskey’s flavor profile. The ‘Lobster Iced Tea’ is an excellent example of this, where the smokiness of the Lapsang Souchong tea blends perfectly with the whiskey. To prepare, simply mix the tea with fresh lemon juice and a touch of simple syrup. It’s a straightforward yet delicious concoction that works incredibly well.”

How has Lodestar Whiskey expanded its availability in the L.A. area, and what are the plans for introducing the whiskey to new customers through local bars, restaurants, and events?

“Whiskey enthusiasts can now enjoy Lodestar Whiskey locally, akin to savoring local beer. We’re featured in several bars and restaurants throughout the L.A. area, all of which are listed on our website. Among these venues are esteemed restaurants such as Casita and Lunetta on the west side, enhancing our presence beyond local confines. Expanding our reach, we’re excited to announce that starting next week, we’ll also be available downtown at The Goat. Moreover, Cole’s French Dip, a renowned bar downtown, will be adding our whiskey to their selection, further broadening our availability across different city areas.

For those interested in purchasing a bottle to enjoy at home, we’ve recently partnered with Road Runner Spirits. Located in Los Alamitos, near Long Beach, this cool, independently owned liquor store is a new point of sale for Lodestar. Although it’s not in L.A., it represents our efforts to make our whiskey accessible to a wider audience. We’re also planning a special event at Road Runner Spirits in the coming weeks—a tasting event where we’ll showcase our whiskey, offering an intimate experience with our brand. This initiative is part of our ongoing commitment to share our passion for whiskey and connect with the community.”

As the brand continues to grow and receive recognition, Lodestar Whiskey’s story serves as inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs and whiskey lovers alike, proving that with the right blend of passion and innovation, the possibilities are endless.

For more information about the brand and where to purchase, visit lodestarwhiskey.com

Photo credits: Credit headshot & lifestyle images to Sally Peterson


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