How War Horse Crafted Whiskey 7 for a Specific Audience

War Horse Brewing Company’s audience was at the top of their minds when they brewed their latest limited special release.

For the second consecutive year, Upstate New York-based War Horse is making Whiskey 7 in collaboration with the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo, New York — a smooth, easy-drinking mild English Ale with low bitterness — to commemorate D-Day and the 80th anniversary of the World War II-era C-47 transport plane that was first used in 1943 and was instrumental a year later in the first strike invasion on June 6, 1944 in northern France.

Just 15 barrels were initially produced last year before the brewing team produced a second batch to meet a greater-than-initially-anticipated demand. This year, War Horse is making 240 cases of the smooth sipper that will be available for sale at the War Horse taproom, at the museum where the annual airshow will take place, and select regional stores.

“I’ll tell you what — a lot of the guys who gravitate toward an event like this are old guys,” laughed Justin Paolicelli, partner & Vice President of Operations. “There are few and far between who are still around, but it’s an older crowd that gravitates toward events that involve World War II and D-Day. When we considered what these guys might like, it wasn’t going to be a quadruple-hopped Hazy IPA or a Pastry Stout. We just needed something that was crisp, easy to drink and not overly complicated.”

The beer gets its character from the time it spent in whiskey barrels, which War Horse’s parent company, the Three Brothers Wineries & Estates, has a supply of to make wine and cider as well.

The beer is 5.7% ABV and 30 IBU, making it a medium bodied session sipper. Paolicelli said the beer had notes of toffee and caramel.

“The time spent in the barrel gave it a nice softness that helps it fill out the mid palate,” Paolicelli said. “It isn’t overly bitter, and that’s where the barrel kicked in to help a little bit. The hops are just Mandarina Bavaria. It was really meant to be a simple beer because you lose the older crowd when you get too overly complex.”

The beer’s packaging has a new look that pays homage to the aircraft’s 80th anniversary, complete with literature and graphics.

In-house label designer Jon Mansfield came up with the can’s design.

“I went with a collage-style layout here,” Mansfield said. “The bottom of the main art block features a photo of the 82nd just before going overseas, a recently deceased member of the W7 D-Day jumpers, and a paratrooper climbing the steps of a C-47. On the left, you can see some mementos from D-Day carried by someone in the 82nd.”

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