Rittenhouse Straight Rye Whisky has a storied past with a heritage that commemorates Philadelphia's famous Rittenhouse Square. Bottled-in-Bond, today's Rittenhouse carries the distinct, spicy flavor that is long associated with the brand. Rittenhouse is the Rye Whisky of choice for both mixologists and whisky aficionados alike.
By the 1970s, whiskey had become less popular in America, as clear spirits—vodka in particular—grew in popularity. Bourbon sales were dropping and rye became nearly extinct. The few original rye makers that were still around in Pennsylvania (and elsewhere) struggled and began to close. Continental went out in flames in the early 1980s. Heaven Hill Distillery swooped in and bought the rights to several rye brands, including Rittenhouse, as the original distilleries went out of business.
Heaven Hill introduced their version of Rittenhouse Rye in the 1990s. Although Heaven Hill is, of course, famous for being a bourbon maker, the company deserves a lot of credit for keeping rye whiskey alive in the US. Even when bourbon started to become a popular drinking choice once again, rye was slower to reemerge. For many years, Heaven Hill spent only a single day per year distilling rye whiskey—the rest of the year was devoted to bourbon. But they kept it alive, even if only once a year.
Over the last few years, rye has finally become popular again (although still nowhere near as popular as bourbon). Kentucky distilleries are devoting more time to making rye, and craft distilleries all over the country are introducing young rye whiskeys. Perhaps the most exciting development in American craft distilling is the reemergence of Monongahela-style rye.