Matt Strickland, Head Distiller
Background: I grew up on a cattle farm in middle Tennessee. The family farm also grew apples, peaches, strawberries, and raspberries. I went to school, graduated, and tried in vain to keep the door closed to adulthood for as long as possible. I managed a tattoo shop to put myself through college and played in bands that made sad attempts at music. Those bands even allowed me to tour throughout Europe and the U.S. a few times. At no point in my youth did I think I would wind up making whisky for a living. Life’s pretty funny sometimes and occasionally the punchline works out in your favor.
Experience: In graduate school I did research for the Oregon wine industry and then somehow found myself distilling after graduation. I headed up research and development for Corsair Distillery in Nashville, Tennessee for several years. Eventually I was offered the job of Head Distiller for District Distilling Co in Washington, DC where I made whiskey, gin, vodka, rum, brandy, and liqueurs. In 2018 I was offered the opportunity to head up Distillerie Cote des Saints. It was an opportunity too good to pass up!
In my spare time, I teach whiskey production at the Distilled Spirits Epicenter in Louisville, Kentucky. I’m also the only American to sit on the Board of Examiners for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD). Through IBD I also write some of their curriculum for aspiring distillers.
CDS Vision: I believe that spirits should exhibit a sense of place. Anyone can make whisky or gin. It takes skill and vision to make a product that feels unique to where it was born. I want to make single malts and gins that showcase the beauty that of Quebec, Canada.
Notable Accomplishments: My wife says marrying her is the best thing I’ve ever done. Of course, without her my two beautiful daughters wouldn’t exist so I think she’s got a point.
Professional Education: I have a Masters in Food Science and Technology from Oregon State University where I studied and researched fermentation science in both winemaking and brewing.
Hobbies: I have two small children. I’m not allowed to have hobbies.