Rye Whiskeys Under $50 | 7 to Blow Your Mind

Rye Whiskey continues to enjoy a rise to prominence alongside its incredibly good-looking cousin who’s so good at everything, Bourbon. You’re probably standing in a liquor store right now thinking, man, look at all these rye whiskeys! They’re all so great—but I’ve only got $48.34 in my pocket. What is the best rye whiskey under $50? We are here to answer that vital question with a brief list of 7 Rye Whiskeys under $50 that will blow your mind.

We’re all about rye whiskey from small producers

All American Whiskey focuses on distillers who are below the global marketing line. Beam and Woodford and all the other big dogs down there in the very tall bluegrass of Kentucky don’t need our help. Plus, their methods are scaled production so they employ chemists to maintain their production formulas to prevent massive snafus. But snafus, mistakes in the mashbill, doing stupid things like walking away from a boiling mash to answer a phone because you are a staff of one and that’s what happens—all these unscripted, wingnut scenarios make for more interesting whiskeys.

The rye whiskeys on this list are wildly creative and distinctly delicious—and under $50

best rye whiskeys under $50

STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY

The Blaum brothers are serious whiskey lovers. Their distillery practice is grain-to-glass with all ingredients sourced from Illinois. You may have learned about Blaum Bros when you heard about Knotter Bourbon, their first spirit, which they sourced outside of Illinois while they worked on their first in-house whiskeys. Knotter Bourbon surged into collectibles territory and had serious bourbon freaks lining up outside the distillery.

Their rye is a fantastic distillation, with the eponymous grain very forward in the flavor profile. The singular fullness of the rye flavor may come from their use of a single farm for rye production. It is a smoldering, fat, sexy whiskey you’ll want to have on hand to impress the hell out of your whiskey-loving friends. For rye whiskeys under $50, it is a strong first place.

ragtime rye whiskey

RAGTIME RYE

Ragtime Rye’s been around since 2015, takes a lot of pride in their non-GMO grain bill, and doesn’t tie their whiskey to the history of rye, like other distillers, but to music. The label shows a ragtime piano player with his sleeves held up by bands like a Vegas dealer. It’s damn fine rye, if a little hot and maybe more for putting in the prohibition era cocktails you’ll have while dancing to “The Maple Leaf Rag” than sipping by the fire.

Old pepper rye

OLD PEPPER RYE

The back of the label tells the story of Col. James E. Pepper who built the distillery in 1880. It ran until 1967 and was then abandoned. It was rebuilt in 2008 and has been producing excellent whiskey since. The back-of-the-label story claims the Old Fashioned was invented in honor of Col. Pepper. We will examine this in another article because it may be one of those eternal struggles over the origin of an iconic cocktail (your dad probably fought in the Martini wars of the mid-2000s. He never talks about it. Don’t bother him. It was hell, kid. Pure hell.)

rye under $50

SINGLE BARREL RYE

Koval has the distinction of being the first real distillery in Chicago since the mid-1800s. They make several spirits, but their rye really stands out for their use of 100% organic grain in their mash. The distillery practices using only the heart cut from distillation, meaning the odd flavors from the head and the tails aren’t present. Aging the rye for up to two years in 30-gallon charred oak barrels means the heart-cut style stays super clean, pushing all the rye flavors to the front.

stoll & wolfe best bourbon whiskey under 100 dollars

CARRIBEAN RUM CASK FINISHED RYE

Stoll & Wolfe’s credentials are deep. Not only are they making rye in one of the oldest distilleries in the nation, but they’re also doing it the way rye was originally made. More, the guy putting it together, Stoll was trained by the great-grandson of Jim Beam before he mixed the mash at Michter’s. So you can understand why people in Pennsylvania are nuts for this spirit. You can also understand why people not in Pennsylvania ARE FURIOUS BECAUSE YOU CAN ONLY GET IT IN THAT STATE!

milam & green rye whiskey port casks

RYE WHISKEY FINISHED IN PORT CASKS

Milam & Greene’s rye may have its origins in Indiana whiskey production, but its roots are pure Texas. Those roots may have been planted by Ben Milam, but it was whisky wizard Heather Greene who pulled their harvest into an incredible collection of spirits. The rye is finished in a port cask and bottled in one of their solid and beautiful, hefty bottles.

last feather rye smooth

LAST FEATHER RYE

I don’t know why they say, right there on their website, three of their whiskeys were served cease and desist orders for their original names, but it makes me like them more. Journeyman is one of those beards and blue jeans distilleries that’s gone deeply nerdish on their line-up and their process. They distilled three special releases for the Chicago Field Museum’s 125th anniversary in 2019 (good luck finding any). Master Distiller Bill Welter cut his teeth at Koval (and in Tasmania?, so his credentials are solid. So is this whiskey.