Bigfork Distillery Donates $41,000 to Sperry Rebuild

Whistling Andy donates profits from first year of sales of Spirit of Sperry huckleberry vodka

By Molly Priddy
Crews work to stabilize the remainder of Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park. Courtesy National Park Service

Whistling Andy Distillery in Bigfork announced the success of its fundraising effort to benefit the Sperry Chalet, with $41,000 headed to the rebuilding project underway in Glacier National Park.

The beloved and historic chalet was gutted by fire in 2017 after standing near the Sperry Glacier for over a century. Built in 1913 and 1914, the dormitory building housed hikers and explorers of all sorts in Glacier Park, and became a prized destination, with reservations filling up almost immediately as they were announced.

After the fire burned the building down in just an hour, the community rallied in support of the local landmark, including then-Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who announced he wanted the chalet rebuilt. The Glacier National Park Conservancy began raising money immediately through the Sperry Action Fund.

Crews got to work on the rebuild in 2018, while fundraising efforts popped up around the Flathead Valley as stories and memories of the chalet spilled out. As one of those fundraising efforts, the folks at Whistling Andy decided they would donate all the profits from the first year of sales of their latest huckleberry vodka, which they named Spirit of Sperry.

The vodka was released in June 2018, and Whistling Andy announced that after a year of sales, they would donate the $41,000 in profit toward the rebuild project.

The distillery was the featured distillery at the Aug. 22 Columbia Falls Farmers Market, where they showcased the Spirit of Sperry cocktails and donated their table space to the Conservancy.

Kristen Hook of Whistling Andy said the campaign was a definite success and that it shows the positive impact small businesses can have when they’re involved in the community.

“This is an awesome story about how a small business gives back to the community,” said Hook.