brian-headshot

Return of the Rogue

Our New Head Distiller is our Old Head Distiller

We're welcoming Brian Pribyl back as Rogue Spirits Head Distiller five years after he left to learn more about spirits. He comes back to us with the know-how to distill everything from bourbon to aquavit and a drive to propel Rogue Spirits forward.


"That's my happy place." Rogue Head Distiller Brian Pribyl, who is 6 foot and 7 inches tall, has a good view of the entire distillery even from the far corner. He's talking about the South Santiam River, his favorite camping spot located several miles east of Corvallis, Ore. where he was born.

Brian, a true Oregonian, does a lot of camping and hiking and he's happy to be back on the Oregon Coast -- specifically Newport where he's just returned to distill Rogue Spirits . Many of the same Rogue Spirits he was distilling five years ago.

Rogue Spirits Head Distiller Brian Pribyl preps a batch of cucumbers as he gets ready to distill Spruce Gin.
Rogue Spirits Head Distiller Brian Pribyl preps a batch of cucumbers as he gets ready to distill Spruce Gin.

Back in February 2011, Brian first became a Rogue. He was assistant distiller under John Couchot, crafting rum, whiskey and gin. He moved up the ranks and two years later, he was the Head Distiller at Rogue Spirits. But he wanted to learn more about the industry so in March of 2013, he started a five-year journey into the world of spirits.

First Brian went to Tennessee to learn how to make bourbon. He spent two years there before going to Grand Rapids, Michigan where he distilled everything from whiskey to aquavit. He then landed in Washington and that's where he was when we started looking for another Rogue Spirits Head Distiller at our World Headquarters.

Brian tests a batch of Rogue Spirits from the barrel.
Brian tests a batch of Rogue Spirits from the barrel.

We were sad to say goodbye to Jake Holshue, our most recent head distiller who left us earlier this summer, but excited to welcome Brian back. In fact, he's come back just in time to bottle the 5-year-old (plus) Dead Guy Whiskey that he started barreling back in 2012.

He can't wait to taste it: he says it's going to be "phenomenal."