“Market Makers” Matti Anttila from Grain and Barrel Spirits


by Rusty Pepper
posted on 04-13-2020

Posted in

On this episode of “Market Makers” we visit with Matti Anttila the Founder & CEO of Grain & Barrel Spirits which makes Dixie Vodka and Chicken Cock Whiskey.

In 2012, Matti Anttila rediscovered the Chicken Cock Whiskey brand and set out to resurrect it to its Prohibition-era glory. Master Distiller Gregg Snyder was enlisted to provide the knowledge and experience needed to help achieve that goal. Snyder’s impressive résumé includes distilling, cooperage, and executive positions with Brown-Forman, Austin Nichols, as well as board positions with the Associated Cooperage Industries of America, Kentucky Distillers’ Association, and others. Chicken Cock Whiskey is also proud to be associated with the Bardstown Bourbon Company’s collaborative distiller’s program.

Established in 1856 in Paris, Kentucky (10 years before Jack Daniels), Chicken Cock rose to fame as the house whiskey at The Cotton Club, one of Prohibition’s most legendary speakeasies. Known as “The Famous Old Brand” and “The Whiskey in a Tin Can,” Chicken Cock was smuggled into the Club in sealed tin cans, then ceremoniously opened table-side. After Prohibition, the brand enjoyed a resurgent couple of decades before a distillery fire just after World War II put it out of business.

Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is now available for the suggested retail price of $59.99 per 750ml bottle in the following markets as well as online: AL, AR, CO, DE, DC, FL, GA, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MS, MO, NE, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV. Full national expansion is slated for the first half of 2020.



Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey: Distilled, aged, and bottled in Kentucky, Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey has a rich, elegant mahogany color and a nose that’s a nice balance of oak and sweet notes with dried fruit, caramel, and vanilla. The gentle flavor is a soft tannin start that finishes with delightful toasted oak lactones. As it slides down your throat, the taste evolves into a creamy, buttery sensation with butterscotch notes and a vanilla wafer finish. Just to make sure you’re giving this spirit its due respect, Chicken Cock packs a heat that lets you know its the real-deal; full-bodied and 90-proof.  In keeping with its authenticity, our bourbon is bottled in prohibition-era replica bottles modeled after the original Chicken Cock packaging.

Kentucky Straight Rye: The first Chicken Cock Kentucky Straight Rye in over 70 years is available for purchase as of March ’20. 100% distilled, aged, and bottled in the Bluegrass State. It’s a beautifully balanced non-chill filtered 95% rye whiskey, which features a caramel color with a hue of dark orange. The nose reveals a tremendous complexity of spices including pepper and cinnamon, with a hint of dryness and slight overtones of citrus and oak. A creamy, almost buttery mouthfeel is complemented by vanilla and butterscotch, followed by a long, slow peppery finish with a hint of sweet honey. At 90 proof (45% ABV), there is a slight, welcome heat. Like the new KY Straight Bourbon, the KY Straight Rye is bottled in a Prohibition-era Chicken Cock replica apothecary-style bottle.


Southern: Our flagship vodka, Dixie Southern Vodka, is The South’s Best Tasting Vodka—and we’re not whistlin’ Dixie. Our smooth Southern spirit has won a whole mess of awards to back it up. It is the perfect companion for whatever wets your whistle. Dixie Southern is 6x distilled from all-American corn, naturally gluten free, and Certified South Carolina product. As smooth and refreshing as a “breath of fresh mountain air,” our classic corn-based vodka serves as the perfect backdrop for any creative or classic cocktail in the book.

Black Pepper: Voted the Best Flavored Vodka in the world in 2018 and 2019*, Dixie Black Pepper Vodka is the must-have staple for any Bloody Mary or oyster shooter, not to mention a variety of creative cocktails produced by ingenious bartenders around the country. We steep our core Dixie Southern Vodka with Serrano peppers for a week, then infuse with Sichuan and Madagascar black peppercorns, resulting in a perfectly balanced pepper vodka. With just the right amount of savory kick, our Dixie Black Pepper flavored vodka gets its forward flavor from the Madagascar peppercorn, a cooked and dried fruit from a flowering vine of the Piperaceae family. As the backdrop, we use both the Sichuan peppercorn (dried hulls of the Rue family) and fresh Serrano peppers for a bright, fruit flavor. Clear in color, it features aromas of char-roasted and marinated green and chili peppers.

Mint: Dixie Mint flavored vodka uses Kentucky mint from Dohn & Nelson Gardens, one of Kentucky’s most famous mint farmers. We infuse our core Dixie Southern Vodka with Dohn & Nelson Gardens’ perfectly fresh mint for a crisp, refreshing taste that is delicious on its own or in a variety of creative cocktails, like a Vodka Mint Julep or Spiked Sweet Tea.

Citrus: Dixie Citrus Vodka is a regional collaboration with iconic Florida citrus growers, bringing the flavors of the South from grove to bottle. Our award-winning Dixie Citrus Vodka is a special blend of all-natural citrus flavors and Valencia oranges. The result is a subtly sweet and deliciously smooth citrus vodka that’s like drinking a refreshing glass of Florida sunshine. Try mixing it into creative cocktails, or keep it simple with a splash of soda water. Named a top 100 spirit for 2019 by Wine Enthusiast.

Wildflower Honey: Dixie Wildflower Honey flavored vodka is a regional collaboration with Savannah Bee Company benefiting the Bee Cause Project. To make this undeniably Southern vodka, we infuse our core Dixie Southern Vodka with southeastern wildflower honey from Savannah Bee Company to create a delicious flavored vodka. All smooth and no sting, our Dixie Wildflower Honey flavored vodka has a touch of honeyed sweetness and light floral aromas that are perfect in creative cocktails, or simply paired with lemonade, iced tea, or your favorite ginger beer.

Peach: Dixie Peach Vodka is a regional collaboration with Lane Southern Orchards, an iconic Georgia farm that’s been growing peaches for more than 100 years. We infuse our core Dixie Southern Vodka with beautifully ripe Sweet Georgia Peaches to create a delicious, undeniably Southern flavored vodka with a kiss of sweetness. As juicy and flavorful as a peak-season peach, our Dixie Peach flavored vodka has a touch of sweetness and fruity aromas that are perfect in creative cocktails, or simply paired with lemonade, iced tea, club soda, or your favorite ginger beer.