Starting from scratch is the only way to make genuine small batch rye. With that and the memories of proud, whiskey-loving father figures in mind, two friends set out to do just that.

HERMAN C. MIHALICH |  Founder and Distiller

In a way, Herman Mihalich’s childhood in Monessen, Pennsylvania predicted his future as the founder of Dad’s Hat® Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey. It was there, after all, living in an apartment above his family’s bar, where Mihalich experienced the sights, sounds and stories that would eventually inspire him to reintroduce the world to Pennsylvania’s once-rich rye whiskey producing heritage.

Before coming full circle back to these roots, Mihalich made his mark as a Chemical Engineer. Of course, the fond memories of his father’s bar remained a constant in Herman’s life and ultimately led him to realize his life’s ambition in 2010, when he launched the Dad’s Hat distillery in Bristol. Many years have passed since Herman’s  youth in that Western Pennsylvania town but he’s now exactly where he wants to be – carrying on a tradition close to his heart.


JOHN S. COOPER  |  Co-Founder

Now that Dad’s Hat® has made its way to the whiskey-loving public, the world has been reintroduced to the Keystone State tradition of rye whiskey production. An achievement made possible, interestingly, with the help of a Bronx-native named John Cooper. The working class Throggs Neck, NY area was the ideal place for Cooper to develop the traits that would serve him so well in the following decades, including a successful 34-year career in sales and marketing.

Those very same qualities eventually led his old college-friend, Herman Mihalich, to ask the seasoned professional – and lover of fine whiskey – to enlist his help in founding Mountain Laurel Spirits, LLC in 2010. Today, Cooper’s goal for Dad’s Hat® Rye is simple – to make and sell delicious Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey that people will appreciate and enjoy for years to come.


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