Think pumpkin pie in a bottle.

By Mike Pomranz
August 12, 2020
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Credit: Southern Tier Distilling Co.

One of America’s most legendary (and legendarily strong) pumpkin beers is now available in whiskey form. And if you’re not feeling up to the caffeinated pep or extreme sweetness of a pumpkin spice latte, this new pumpkin ale-inspired spirit may be the chilled out shot you’re looking for.

First introduced in 2007, Pumking from New York’s Southern Tier Brewing significantly upped the ante in the then-emerging pumpkin beer scene—not only by offering the intense-but-balanced flavors of a full slice of pumpkin pie in a bottle, but also by ratcheting up the ABV on this imperial ale towards 9 percent. Now, over a decade later, the brewery’s distilling arm, Southern Tier Distilling, is pushing the pumpkin boundaries again and spinning off the Pumking brand into its own whiskey: the 35 percent ABV Pumking Pumpkin Whiskey.

Though Pumking Whiskey isn’t specifically made from Pumking beer, Southern Tier bills the new spirit as “handcrafted whiskey with natural pumpkin spice flavors and ingredients”—a similar mix to the original brew—intended to draw a direct parallel to the ale fans already know and love.

“We wanted to make something that reinforced our bonds to the brewery, and something that would be unique to craft spirits,” Phin DeMink, founder of both Southern Tier Brewing and Distilling, explained. “Pumking Ale is recognized far and away as one of the best pumpkin beers ever made. As that family of beers has grown, it includes an imperial stout, nitro, and a solid list of other flavor variations like the new Cold Brew Coffee Pumking, so it made a lot of sense for the distillery to keep running with those innovations.”

As for what drinkers can expect from Pumking Whiskey, the distillery is describing it as “pumpkin pie in a (now) shot-glass” that is “smooth, delicious and sweet” and "packed with unmistakable aromas of pie spice, buttery cream, pie crust, and culminates with a richness that flavored whiskey drinkers expect.” The brand also suggests it works well as a shot, in a cocktail, or on the rocks—and it sounds like you wouldn’t be too disappointed if you poured some into your PSL, either.

Southern Tier says Pumking Whiskey is currently available at their Lakewood, New York, distillery and is rolling out to parts of New York and New Jersey this month. The whiskey is expected to reach the rest of the brand’s distribution area—including Ohio, Michigan, Delaware, and Maryland, as well as in the brewery taprooms of Southern Tier and its sister brewery Victory Brewing—in September.