Dr. John Halligan is well known and appreciated locally for bringing Peninsula Radiation Oncology Center to the area so cancer patients don’t have to seek treatment in Anchorage. Statewide Dr. Halligan is now becoming well known as a distiller of award winning spirits hand crafted from 100% Alaska grown grains and produce. As an owner of Anchorage Distillery Halligan told the Dispatch, “I first got involved in the distillery back when it was Bear distillery making Truly Peak Vodka. Two young guys in town had an idea to produce a premium level vodka and I was one of their financial backers. They had a good product but didn’t have a marketing concept and eventually me and a few other people involved re-launched the plan as Anchorage Distillery and brought out a whole new line of products with a broader appeal to Alaskans. We brought on Bob Klein who has a wealth of experience in the industry as our CEO and created a world class vodka that has done extremely well winning a silver and two bronze medals at the Micro-distillers awards that has entries from all over the country,” explained Dr. Halligan.
In an interview at the Anchorage Distillery Spirit/Mind tasting room Bob Klein who has been in the industry since the seventies said, “Our claim to fame is that we are only using Alaskan grains and we are the only distillery in the state that does that. All our grain is grown either up in Delta Junction or the Mat-Su Valley and even our flavorings are from Alaskan berries and produce,” he explained. “It’s been very important for us to work with the local farmers. We have actually worked closely with Vanderweele’s Farm in the Mat-Su Valley to produce a winter wheat for us and to start growing rye so that eventually we can make a rye based whiskey which no one thought would be possible to make with an all Alaskan product, but Bob figured out a way to make that happen and it’s in the works,” added Halligan. “I believe this distillery is the largest running distillery in the Western United States. We are capable of doing some pretty amazing things and we are totally value added for Alaskan produce,” said Klein.
As with his Radiation Oncology Centers Dr. Halligan believes in giving back to his local community so it’s no surprise that Anchorage Distillery is doing likewise, “We are ex-military physicians and we have actually created two products that we call ‘The Benefactors’ The Benefactor Pink and the Benefactor Black. All the proceeds from those are going to go causes here in Alaska, the Benefactor Black is going to go toward military family projects here and the Benefactor Pink will go toward helping those fighting breast cancer. So we are not only benefiting Alaskan agriculture, but we are bringing back some hope and benefits to Alaskans that we think really deserve it, our military families and cancer patients,” he said.
Anchorage Distillery was founded on old world traditions, hardworking values and a love for distilling quality spirits. “We define our dedication to a superior spirit enriched with unique quality flavors that only can be derived from the pristine terrain of Alaska. Take our Ghost Vodka for example the ghost pepper floating the bottle is one of the three hottest peppers in the world that we use in our vodka. It’s spicy but perfect for a Bloody Mary or delightful for anything you want a little spice with,” said Klein. California has its Napa Valley wine tours. Kentucky and Tennessee have their bourbon and whiskey trails. Scotland has a whole network of high roads and low roads by which trekkers can hike from one distillery to another tasting one single malt after another and now for Alaskans or visitors from around the world there is the Spirit/Mind tasting room at Anchorage Distillery where you can experience the wonderful tastes of an all Alaskan adult beverage. Anchorage Distillery products are available locally wherever fine liquors are sold.