Our process

It’s a fresh take on the familiar.
Traditional distillation meets the pride of Wisconsin.

Family legacy

When generations of family have been milking cows, making cheese, and having a good drink when the day’s hard work is over – it’s no wonder we turned to dairy when looking for the perfect ingredient for TenHead. Its naturally smooth, velvety texture imparts something special. We’re staying true to our family and state’s heritage, and it tastes damn good.

Traditionally distilled

The process of turning milk into cheese creates two things – curds (the kind Wisconsin is famous for) and whey (milk sugar). In fact, each pound of cheese creates roughly nine pounds of liquid whey. For most cheese factories, whey is a byproduct with limited use. However, whey is a near perfect base for distillation. Its natural milk sugars give it a mild sweetness, and its silky texture lends itself well to a smooth spirit.

Only a handful of distilleries worldwide distill using whey’s natural milk sugars. While whey makes for a smooth and sustainably sourced ingredient, it requires a special strain of yeast to ferment those milk sugars into alcohol. With a background in fermentation science, Founder and Head Distiller, Heather Mullins, was uniquely suited to select the right yeast strain and develop our process. Using traditional column and pot distillation techniques, those milk sugars are crafted into a beautifully smooth spirit, perfect for sipping straight or elevating your favorite cocktail.

Locally sourced

Our family’s history is rooted in Wisconsin agriculture. The whey used for TenHead spirits comes directly from the Mullins family’s cheese making facility just across the street from the distillery. Each day, they receive truckloads of milk from local dairy farmers. The corn, wheat and rye used for Knowlton Whiskey is sourced from area farms with rich family histories of their own. It is the passion and pride of these farmers and cheesemakers that is at the heart of what we do. So join us, and raise a glass in honor of a hard day’s work.


Distilling from milk sugars may not be common, but you’ll find that TenHead offers the traditional spirits that you expect – just a bit smoother.

At Knowlton House, we do everything from scratch. We mill our own whiskey grains, ferment, distill, and bottle our spirits.  Sure, we may be control freaks, but we believe in doing the job right.

Our column still stands an impressive 30 feet tall with 40 copper plates. While this is certainly more than necessary to craft vodka, each plate offers an additional distillation allowing us to further purify our spirits and cut down to the “heart” of the spirit for a premium product. There’s a reason that TenHead tastes so smooth after the day’s hard work.

come see our process
first hand

Walk the distillery floor and learn how are spirits are crafted. Smell the aromas, see the process, and sip our spirits in an experience bound to entice your senses.