Sweet Amber Distilling Co. has announced the appointment of Rob Dietrich as Master Distiller of Blackened American whiskey, a spirit created by legendary master distiller Dave Pickerell, and shaped using sonic enhancement provided by the band Metallica’s music.
Pickerell was among the most influential and innovative distillers of his generation, and headed production of Blackened (among many whiskey projects) before his sudden and unfortunate passing last year.
Blackened is a blend of bourbons and ryes from across North America.
“Dave Pickerell will forever be a member of our band and our family,” says Metallica. “When we needed to begin searching for our next master distiller, it was a priority to find someone who could honor and continue the magic that Dave started. Rob shares a great respect for craftsmanship that Dave had and that we have for Blackened and our music.”
Prior to joining Blackened American whiskey, Dietrich was master distiller for Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. Dietrich has more than 12 years in the industry, and is known for his limited-release, cask-finish expressions such as Snowflake, Sherry Cask and more.
As Master Distiller and Blender, Dietrich will oversee the sourcing, blending and cask finishing of barrels for each batch of Blackened American whiskey.
Dietrich initially learned the art and science of distilling from legendary distiller Jess Graber. His passion for music was honed across 10 years spent in the music business with Bill Graham Presents, as a freelance agent for a variety of venues like Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre and The Fillmore in San Francisco, as well as managing tours and festivals.
“The opportunity to follow in Dave Pickerell’s footsteps at Blackened is humbling. Dave Pickerell set a very high standard with everything he touched,” says Dietrich. “His spirit of kindness and dedication live on with the team. I feel excited by the challenge of taking Blackened to new heights that Dave would have been proud of.”