Scottie Pippen teams up with Bay Area winemaker to release DIGITS bourbon

“I’ve always celebrated with bourbon, now getting to celebrate with my own is something very special to me,” the six-time NBA champion said.|

NBA legend Scottie Pippen had a strong career as a six-time NBA champion for the Chicago Bulls and two-time Olympic gold medalist. But now he’s playing for another team in another industry: distilling.

Pippen has partnered with award-winning winemaker and distiller Dave Phinney ― known for his wine creation, “The Prisoner,” and his distillery on the former Mare Island shipyard in Vallejo ― to create a 5-year-old bourbon whiskey called DIGITS.

Pippen, an avid brown alcohol drinker, said he likes a smooth bourbon.

“I’ve always celebrated with bourbon, now getting to celebrate with my own is something very special to me,” he sad.

Pippen reached out to Phinney with Savage & Cooke, who had been distilling on the former naval shipyard of Vallejo’ s Mare Island, to create a drink that’s versatile enough for any bourbon drinker.

“I wanted something that was smooth, very easy and approachable for new bourbon drinkers that they could get introduced to bourbon through,” Pippen told The Press Democrat. “But I also wanted something that was very classy.”

DIGITS is Pippen’s first endeavor into the alcohol industry and was launched exclusively in Chicago back in 2021. It’s a 46% alcohol volume bourbon whiskey that has been aged for five years and blended by master distiller Jordan Via from Savage & Cooke.

According to the Savage & Cooke website, the bourbon offers a velvety, lush flavor of vanilla bean, caramel, buttered toast and maple.

Phinney said when it came down to making the flavors for the bourbon, it was important for it to have its own “thumbprint” that had to come from Pippen.

“It’s more refined than what we do at Savage & Cooke,” Phinney said. “It has a subtlety and roundness. ... it’s really approachable and almost has an exotic note to it, which is different from Savage & Cooke.”

Sara Edwards is the business reporter for The Press Democrat. You can reach her at 707-521-5487 or Follow her on Twitter @sedwards380.

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