My Story

With Australian Shepherds, Max and Sage Bear
Cheers with John Caldwell

Photos by Suzanne Becker Bronk

My grandparents moved from Kentucky and Tennessee to Washington state in 1912. Together, they raised four boys and two girls on a fruit farm. I grew up with a large, extended family which included my four siblings, parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents on our homestead near Yakima, Washington.

Based on my roots, I ate Southern food and learned about whiskey at a young age.The menfolk cultivated the crops and animals while the women preserved the harvest and tended the large gardens which supplied food for our ever-growing families.

Every fall, my Dad would make a couple of barrels of wine. I learned the ropes early and by the age of 13 my job was making hard cider out of the apples left in the fields after harvest. Northwest winters were cold so the men in the family would have their whiskey and drink homemade wine while playing cards. The winter season was long—there was a lot of card playing, wine and whiskey consumption.

After graduating from Washington State University, I became a chemical engineer in the petroleum industry. My career led to world travel and opportunities to experience gourmet food and fine wines. I always took the time to visit a winery or two while on the road and fell in love with the lifestyle. I was determined that I would become a winemaker and lead that life one day.

At the end of a long career I moved to Sonoma, California and the Moon Mountain District became my home. With a desire to create my own fine wine, I began exploring the best of the best wineries of the world with my partners, John Caldwell and Bill Sanderson. Each winter trip would raise the bar higher and teach me what I needed to know to elevate the quality of my own wine.  As a farmer’s son and grandson, my dream was realized by creating B Wise Vineyards from the ground up.

Then whiskey came into the picture. My partner, John, came to me with the idea that we should have a whiskey. Having grown up on whiskey and homemade wine (neither of them good) and certainly not of the caliber we seek today, a new journey began. Wise Caldwell Distillers was born.

As we launched this endeavor in full, I began to dig deeper into my family history, hoping that my Appalachian heritage would yield a great whiskey tale. I was sure there was a bootlegger or even an actual brand in my background but found neither. What I did find was a distant cousin, J.R. Wise, who in 1946 was elected Constable. He made it his mission to remove illegal stills from the hills of Tennessee. I chose to honor him as an integral part of making today’s whiskey better than that of the past! Meet Constable Whiskey. I can’t wait for you enjoy it as much as I do.

My grandparents moved from Kentucky and Tennessee to Washington state in 1912. Together, they raised four boys and two girls on a fruit farm. I grew up with a large, extended family which included my four siblings, parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents on our homestead near Yakima, Washington.

Based on my roots, I ate Southern food and learned about whiskey at a young age.The menfolk cultivated the crops and animals while the women preserved the harvest and tended the large gardens which supplied food for our ever-growing families.

Every fall, my Dad would make a couple of barrels of wine. I learned the ropes early and by the age of 13 my job was making hard cider out of the apples left in the fields after harvest. Northwest winters were cold so the men in the family would have their whiskey and drink homemade wine while playing cards. The winter season was long—there was a lot of card playing, wine and whiskey consumption.

After graduating from Washington State University, I became a chemical engineer in the petroleum industry. My career led to world travel and opportunities to experience gourmet food and fine wines. I always took the time to visit a winery or two while on the road and fell in love with the lifestyle. I was determined that I would become a winemaker and lead that life one day.

At the end of a long career I moved to Sonoma, California and the Moon Mountain District became my home. With a desire to create my own fine wine, I began exploring the best of the best wineries of the world with my partners, John Caldwell and Bill Sanderson. Each winter trip would raise the bar higher and teach me what I needed to know to elevate the quality of my own wine. As a farmer’s son and grandson, my dream was realized by creating B Wise Vineyards from the ground up.

Then whiskey came into the picture. My partner, John, came to me with the idea that we should have a whiskey. Having grown up on whiskey and homemade wine (neither of them good) and certainly not of the caliber we seek today, a new journey began. Wise Caldwell Distillers was born.

As we launched this endeavor in full, I began to dig deeper into my family history, hoping that my Appalachian heritage would yield a great whiskey tale. I was sure there was a bootlegger or even an actual brand in my background but found neither. What I did find was a distant cousin, J.R. Wise, who in 1946 was elected Constable. He made it his mission to remove illegal stills from the hills of Tennessee. I chose to honor him as an integral part of making today’s whiskey better than that of the past! Meet Constable Whiskey. I can’t wait for you enjoy it as much as I do.

Cheers with John Caldwell

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My grandparents moved from Kentucky and Tennessee to farm in Washington state in 1912.Together, they raised four boys and two girls on a fruit farm. I grew up with a large, extended family which included my parents, grandparents, my four siblings and uncles on our homestead near Yakima, Washington. READ MORE>>>