Delayed gratification is overrated. Why wait decades for whiskey to barrel age when you can have it in a week? In that spirit, L.A. entrepreneurs Théron Regnier and Wynn Sanders have come together to launch the world’s first flash-produced whiskey, Rattleback Rye.
Regnier and Sanders are not your typical spirits-industry insiders. Regnier has a background in finance and is a licensed real estate broker. Sanders is an Air Force veteran turned MIT doctorate recipient turned venture capitalist. The two met via a shared passion for whiskey. Each spent time at distilleries, bars and tastings, and even visited the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky. It was when Regnier started hosting whiskey tastings around town for fun that he noticed something absent in the market.
“What was missing was a truly mature rye affordable enough for mixology but enjoyable enough to drink neat or on the rocks,” Regnier says via email.
The Silicon Beach–based entrepreneurs started hunting for people who were working on the same problem. Eventually they came across Lost Spirits, a boutique Monterey distillery that created a rum in six days using a machine called the THEA | One Reactor. According to the Lost Spirits website, the chemical reactor “enables the creation of distilled spirits with the aroma, taste and texture of fully matured spirits along with a nearly identical chemical signature to products aged for 20 years or more” using “oak, fresh distillate and energy. That’s it.”
“Without hesitation we contacted them about developing the technology to create a whiskey with a cause: building the community by disrupting a cycle that left people spending more or settling for less,” Regnier says.
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Once Regnier and Sanders got a hold of a THEA | One Reactor — complete with an “American South Protocol” to simulate the climate of the South — they partnered with Bend Spirits in Oregon to help with the research and development of their new rye. Today, the reactor is housed at the Bend Spirits distillery churning out 100-proof whiskey set to be released to the public early this year. Even though Rattleback’s molecular structure is essentially the same as a traditionally produced rye, it won’t be exactly the same.
“Will [customers] notice a difference between what they’ve been ordering and Rattleback? Absolutely,” Regnier says. “But even among mature ryes, there are significant differences found due to everything from the wood, mash bill, ABV and more.”
That being said, the founders are confident that drinkers will appreciate Rattleback.
“Rattleback is for those who love whiskey and those who don’t love whiskey yet, who are just starting to learn the musings behind the whole category,” Regnier says. “It’s for both men and women who enjoy a good cocktail, or who enjoy tasting and experiencing whiskey for its unique flavor notes."