ASW Distillery Founders

Refined Talents: A story of firsts for Bulldog alumni

The University of Georgia and a passion for quality whiskey brought five alumni together to create one of the most successful young distilleries in the country and win the highly coveted Double Gold medal for a whiskey from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This is the first such award for a Georgia whiskey.

Jim Chasteen (BBA ’98) and Charlie Thompson (AB ’99, MBA ’03, JD ’03) met at UGA while pursuing degrees in business and law. Jim and Charlie connected over their passion and interest in whiskey, which eventually spurred a desire to craft their own recipe. They founded ASW Distillery (ASW) in 2011, and eventually hired fellow alumni, Justin Manglitz (BBA ’04) as head distiller, and Chad Ralston as Chief Marketing Officer (BBA ’08), in 2015. Today, five out of six partners (including Kelly Chasteen (BSED, ’00) in ASW hold degrees from UGA.

Since ASW’s inception, it has won multiple awards, including the first Double Gold medal from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition for a one-year-old whiskey. Their award-winning Duality whiskey was also the first to combine malted rye and malted barley in the same batch.

Learn more about ASW in a recent Garden and Gun magazine feature.

Charlie is breaking down barriers outside of the beverage world, too—most recently by establishing a scholarship to support students in UGA’s MBA/JD dual program. Just like their award-winning whiskies, this scholarship is the first of its kind. Most importantly, though, it will support UGA students in perpetuity.