Raj Peter Bhakta

Founder and Chief Steward

After graduating from Boston College, Raj embarked on a career path which, in his own words, “stands as a testament to the reality of Attention Deficit Disorder.” This included: a stint as an investment banking analyst ensconced in the high towers of midtown Manhattan; founding and operating an automotive valuation dot com from a beachfront home office in Southern California; and spearheading a hotel redevelopment in the snow-capped Colorado Rockies. Raj gained national notoriety back in midtown Manhattan, as a contestant on NBC’s “The Apprentice,” where he achieved the unique distinction of being fired in front of an audience of 20,000,000 people from a job he never really had. Raj parlayed his fame into a spirited run for US Congress. Although political headwinds that year doomed the run, his campaign was highlighted by high-profile theatrics, such as riding an elephant across the Rio Grande, while serenaded by mariachis, to call attention to the need for immigration reform. Following his Congressional defeat, Raj decamped for a time to the steaming jungles of India, and from there to Addison County, Vermont, where the cows outnumber the people. After a period of soul searching and reflection, Raj found his true calling: revitalizing a 1,300 acre failed dairy farm, and creating the world’s finest whiskey. He makes his home on the farm with his wife and daughter.

Dave Pickerell

Master Distiller

Dave, a luminary in the world of whiskey, is one of the nation’s preeminent master distillers. Before joining WhistlePig, he spent 14 years as the Master Distiller for Maker’s Mark in Loretto, Kentucky. He joined the WhistlePig team with a simple (yet astoundingly complex) objective: create the finest rye whiskey.

Michael M. Hodge

Chief Officer of General Staff

A student of the Middle East and Arabic, Michael followed his studies to their most logical conclusion- working for a Vermont whiskey brand. He quickly put his dashingly good looks, knowledge of everything, and prodigious beard growing abilities towards the growth and development of the WhistlePig brand. After tours in DC and New York selling ‘the Pig’, Michael recently moved back to the WhistlePig farm as resident gunsmith and woodsman. In his spare time, he coordinates WhistlePig’s national sales and distribution and on Saturdays, he sells WhistlePig at the Burlington farmers market.

Daniel Khan

Secretary of State/Senior Steward of the Brand

In WhistlePig’s earliest days, Daniel made the tough decision to abandon an ill-advised, albeit lofty, dream of professional bare-knuckle boxer for a noble pursuit: to be the best farmhand WhistlePig had ever seen. However, Daniel’s endless enthusiasm for the brand– coupled with his undeniable agricultural ineptitude– drew Daniel away from Shoreham’s amber fields of rye towards a different purpose altogether. Armed with his dizzying intellect and boyish charm, Daniel fulfills his role as Secretary of State by managing WP’s national sales efforts and spreading the WhistlePig gospel across lands near and far. In his free time, he enjoys wordplay, the Charleston, knitting, and the quotidian application of Seneca’s De Brevitate Vitae.

Matt Eisenman

Steward of the Brand NY

Matt Eisenman is a whiskey enthusiast who serendipitously hails from the town of Rye, NY. Having grown up in a family that was passionate about food, wine, and spirits, he always had an affinity with the restaurant and cocktail scene. After graduating the University of Wisconsin-Madison (go Badgers!) Matt moved to LA to pursue a career as a literary manager. While he thrived in the entertainment industry, his heart was always back in Gotham, closer to Matt’s family and the heart of the East Coast spirits industry. By chance and fortune he found his way into the WhistlePig family and was able to combine his passions with a career. He couldn’t be happier talking about whiskey all day long, and being surrounded by like-minded individuals.

Gregory Gatti

Steward of the Brand MA

After graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Gregory began his career with the Kraft Group. Working in the front office for the New England Patriots fostered his desire to be exposed to every aspect of developing a business… along with a passion for whiskey. Gregory learned the inner workings of the spirits industry at a distillery in Connecticut. Yes, “learned the inner workings” is a euphemism for “drank a lot,” but he learned a lot, too. At the start of 2014, he joined the WhistlePig family as the Massachusetts Steward of the Brand. Gregory resides in Boston, MA where he enjoys cruising on his motorcycle, traveling New England, and sipping a tasty dram of the world’s finest rye.

Doug Ward

Steward of the Brand TX

After receiving his BA in Marketing from Texas Tech University, Doug made his bones in the corporate world, recruiting healthcare. After a couple of years of hard times, he decided to pursue his first love: fine wine. Over the next ten years, Doug opened several wine bars and restaurants, then launched a small distributor in Austin. Seeking an opportunity to manage brands, he went to work for wine importers covering multiple regions. While working in Texas for a wine and spirits importer, Doug met Raj and discovered the magic of the ‘Pig. The rest, as they say, is Whistling in the Rye.

Larry Swanson

Steward of the Brand VT

After learning about WhistlePig Larry hitchhiked from his home state of Michigan to Shoreham, VT. Within days, he was pushing a broom in the farm’s drafty warehouses for room, board, and rye. The company’s leadership soon recognized that Larry’s technique was more befitting of a salesman, and the following year he was promoted to Vermont’s Steward of the Brand. Larry enjoys reading, hiking and beekeeping — all of them, naturally, with whiskey in hand.

Max Spector

Steward of the Brand DC

Graduating from the American University with a BA in International Relations and a MS in Intelligence Studies from Mercyhurst University, Max spent the last 9 years in our nation’s capital, delving into the worlds of national security… and rye whiskey. In addition to promoting our brand to the young professional masses within the District of Colombia, Max enjoys running adventure races, traveling, and working part-time in the entertainment division of MLB’s Washington Nationals. Go Nats!

Kristen Murphy

Marketing and Sales Coordinator

Kristen Murphy is a salty SoCal Navy brat. Being raised 100% tomboy ignited her passions for underdog San Diego sports, boyish banter, and premium craft beer and whiskey. After graduating from The Newhouse School for Public Communications at Syracuse University, she returned home to ace a career in marketing and public relations at boutique firms in West Hollywood and San Diego. After five years of firm life, Kristen’s sharp wit and sales savvy – mixed with an undying devotion to craft booze – earned her a position repping to taste-makers and connoisseurs with a top alcohol distributor in Manhattan. Now surrounded by a crew of thought-leaders, burly mountain men, mean intellectuals, cocktail gurus, hustlers, patriots, and rabble-rousers, she’s finally found a place to call home at WhistlePig Rye.

Jack Wyrick

National Minister of Messaging

A farm girl at heart, Jack Wyrick left the fields of Tennessee and a life behind the bar to join the WhistlePig family. The origins of her name are legend, though rumored to come from her Irish grandfather, a bare-knuckle brawler and whiskey connoisseur. Jack graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South, and traveled the world as a documentarian before returning to the South to focus on social media, photography, design, and branding. When she’s not making visual and social media for the brand, Jack enjoys inventing WhistlePig cocktails, repairing old motorcycles, reading non-fiction, and exploring every corner of the Farm.