Wigle Whiskey Sells to Pittsburgh Pirates Owner Bob Nutting
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‘I Will Never Buy Another Drop’: Fans Outraged as Pittsburgh Distillery Wigle Whiskey Sells to Pirates Owner Bob Nutting

Wigle Whiskey

Principal owner and Chairman of the Board Bob Nutting of the Pittsburgh Pirates watches batting practice prior to the National League Wild Card game against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park Oct. 1, 2013, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Nutting’s Pittsburgh Spirits company is acquiring Wigle Whiskey and Threadbare. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based craft distillery Wigle Whiskey announced Thursday that it is selling its operation to Pittsburgh Spirits, which is owned by Pittsburgh Pirates owner and multi-millionaire Bob Nutting, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Wigle produces whiskey, flavored whiskey, ready-to-drink cocktails, gin and more. The company also operates a facility that produces hard cider and mead for its Threadbare brand, which will also be part of the sale.

“Our greatest hope was that Wigle and Threadbare would remain family and Western Pennsylvania owned,” Wigle co-founder Meredith Meyer Grelli said. “We know that Bob Nutting, his family and the team at Pittsburgh Spirits will be owners devoted to quality, innovation, regional story-telling and cultivating our team and Wigle and Threadbare’s regional and national footprint.”

Wigle was founded in 2011 and opened to the public in 2012. Today, it distributes to 10 states.

“With every conversation I had with the Meyer Grelli family, I had a deeper appreciation for how much they care about this company and the team of great people behind the growing success of these brands,” Nutting said. “Their passion is infectious.”

Public Reaction to Wigle Whiskey Selling to Bob Nutting

Wigle “selling out” is sure to come as a disappointment to many, as craft distilleries and breweries that sell to larger companies often are criticized. The criticism may be exacerbated in this case because of who is buying the brand. Nutting has been criticized by fans for not investing heavily enough the Pirates.

A craft distillery near Wigle, Maggie’s Farm Rum, wrote on Twitter, “We will never sell to Bob Nutting.”

Fans of Wigle and the Pirates cracked jokes and expressed myriad negative emotions, ranging from disappointed to outraged.

In June, the owners of Wigle Whiskey were ordered by the U.S. Department of Labor to repay nearly $38,951 to 41 of its servers after an investigation revealed that the servers had been required to share tips with managers and supervisors and were not properly paid for the overtime hours they worked, violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Maggie’s Farm Rum poked fun at this incident following the sale:

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