Meet Renee Bemis – The Woman Bringing You A Taste of The American Spirit At Driftless Glen Distillery
Renee Bemis, co-owner of Driftless Glen distillery, has an indescribable energy all her own and is clearly the heart and spirit of the Driftless Glen Distillery.
Only fifteen minutes into my meeting with Renee, and I already feel like I’m part of the Driftless family. Renee and her husband are co-owners and founders of the brand and share a passion for creating a unique and unforgettable experience for their patrons.
Part of that uniqueness comes from their location along the Baraboo River; the longest mainstream restored free-flowing river in America. Aiding in a beautiful setting for the distillery as well as providing incredible water from the Driftless area which is “distinctive from the rest of the world because of the specific combination of temperature, water, soil, and weather and which all combine to form our remarkable spirits.” According to their website.
However, the most striking attribute that distinguishes Driftless from its counterparts, is the palpable joy that could be felt through our Zoom meeting.
“Oh, I love all of it. If I’m here at the distillery during dinner or lunch where there’s a lot of people, I’ll get behind the bar. I’ll let them make me a big batch of something, and then I’ll go around and I’ll do samples.”
In addition to their fabulous whiskey, the distillery also boasts a five-star restaurant, infusing their spirits into every recipe. Which, if you get the chance to visit, grab the BlackBerry bourbon old-fashioned; Renee’s favorite cocktail that they serve. The distillery is also not exclusive to making whiskey, they produce bourbon, rye, brandy, vodka, and gin.
Notably, hand sanitizer is not on their list of products like so many other distilleries during the pandemic. Instead, Driftless Glen took another approach.
“We just donated [ethanol] to so many hospitals. We’d give them twenty gallons or fifty gallons of ethanol. That made a huge amount of hand sanitizer for them. And that’s what we did during that whole thing. And I think that helped.”
If you’re hoping to pick up one of their square bottles, you are in luck. The list of states and countries carrying Driftless Glen products is growing by the day. Thankfully, they are easy to distinguish too, with their square bottle including both owner’s thumbprints.
“There aren’t many square bottles out there. On either side are my husband and my thumbprints, and on the back is an embossed windmill which is our insignia. My theory behind it was someone would go, God, I can’t remember, but it’s a square bottle with thumbprints on it and that’s why we did it that way.”
Renee is also looking forward to some of the new varieties coming soon. “We’ve got a single malt that’s in the house aging. We have a smoke whiskey aging. So, we do have some things that are just different, that are special. They’re exclusive for here.” Definitely making it worth the trip to visit the distillery in-person.