Raise a glass for some exciting news. This year PERC embarked on a rewarding journey to capture the spirit of the West inside a spirit in your glass. The result is Winter Range, an incredible bourbon created exclusively for PERC in partnership with Wyoming Whiskey.
As our fieldwork expands through PERC’s Conservation Innovation Lab, we increasingly partner with ranchers and conservation organizations to help us pioneer new solutions. The idea of a PERC whiskey was born to express our gratitude to partners for protecting wildlife on private lands.
To date, the focal point of our work has been in Montana’s Paradise Valley, where cattle ranches play host to thousands of elk descending from Yellowstone National Park each winter. For the hard-working men and women responsible for providing these vital wintering grounds, a generic “thank you” card on nice stationary just wouldn’t cut it. We set out to create a whiskey saluting their grit and determination.
Finding the Spirit of Paradise
Our vision of empowering working landowners to continue their stewardship of the land and wildlife resonated with Wyoming Whiskey co-founder David DeFazio, who generously offered to donate an exclusive barrel to salute the ranchers and PERC’s conservation work related to elk in Paradise Valley. Wyoming Whiskey is a small batch distillery with deep ties to ranching and a longstanding commitment to conservation in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. They also happen to make damn good bourbon.
To identify the perfect PERC whiskey, David shared several potential candidates. As an organization rooted in research, we took this work very seriously. PERC’s whiskey committee rigorously evaluated each sample in search of a taste rewarding enough to honor our rugged partners in the valley. After several rounds and profound moments of deep reflection, a clear winner emerged. The result is a straight bourbon that offers bold flavor with an incredibly smooth and rewarding finish.
The Cowboy with a Paint Brush
With a barrel selected, the bottle needed to be equally compelling. Here, there was only one real choice.
Charles Marion Russell (1864–1926) masterfully captured the art and soul of the American West through more than 4,000 recorded works celebrating Indigenous culture, western narratives, grand landscapes, and majestic wildlife scenes. While his art is considered historic, his spirit is timeless.
The C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana, home to one of the largest Russell collections, graciously endorsed our vision to include “The Exalted Ruler” on the label, further bringing Winter Range to life.
A cattle handler long before he picked up a brush, we like to think Charlie would be proud.
Fortitude Lives Here
The label reflects our passion for the valley’s people and wildlife:
It is immensely gratifying to share the finished product with the people who helped inspire it.
With only 200 bottles produced, Winter Range is not available commercially. We are delighted to share them with our community of ranching partners, conservation collaborators, and generous donors. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to Marisa Cleary.
PERC is grateful to Wyoming Whiskey, The C.M. Russell Museum, and everyone who supports collaborative conservation in Paradise Valley and beyond. Cheers!