The Hillrock Team


Jeffrey Baker, Owner

With a passion for fine spirits and the rich terroir of the Hudson Valley, Jeffrey is the owner and driving force behind Hillrock Estate Distillery located on the family farm in Ancram, New York. He grew up working on farms and was an early advocate of the farm-to-table movement. More than 20 years ago, Jeffrey established one of the region’s first pasture raised, sustainable beef operations producing premier Black Angus beef for his Saratoga Springs restaurant. His passion and commitment to quality led to the establishment of Hillrock Estate Distillery as one of the few distilleries in the world to floor malt its own naturally grown grain and produce fine hand crafted spirits on the estate. Jeffrey is an Executive Managing Director of Savills LLC, a NYC based real estate investment banking firm and holds an MBA from The Wharton Business School and Masters Degrees in Architecture and City Planning. Over his 25 year career, Mr. Baker has completed over $12 Billion of transactions for clients including: Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, Price Waterhouse, Prudential Insurance and others.



David Pickerell, Master Distiller

An industry icon and the previous Master Distiller for Makers Mark, Dave directs Hillrock’s production and operations as Master Distiller. Dave has over 20 years of distillery industry experience and is respected world wide as one of the top Master Distillers and spirits experts in the industry. Dave graduated top in his class in chemical engineering at University of Louisville and also holds a BS in Chemistry from West Point. During his 14 years at Makers Mark, Dave oversaw an 80 person staff and was responsible for all aspects of production from selection of grains to choosing of barrels, distillation and final tasting. Prior to Makers Mark, Dave was Senior Project Manager for Ro-Tech and provided engineering consultation for beverage alcohol facilities around the world. Dave was also a Board Member and Past Chair for the Kentucky Distillers Association and recipient of the “best distillery visitor attraction in the world” designation by Whiskey Magazine. Dave provides Hillrock with unmatched industry experience in the areas of product development, business planning, system design, production, staffing/training, operations management and sales.


Timothy Welly, Head of Operations & Distiller

Previously the Cellar Master at Millbrook Winery, Tim joined Hillrock in 2011 as Head of Operations and Distiller. At Millbrook Winery, Tim trained under Head Winemaker John Graziano for over 4 years, where he developed his passion and knowledge for wine and spirits. This passion developed into a serious career as he began his studies in 2008 at the International Wine Center in New York City. Tim has since completed the Intermediate and Advanced Certificate classes and is working toward a Diploma of Wine and Spirits. In addition to his work at Millbrook Vineyards, Tim has spent over 12 years in the restaurant and wine industry including positions in wine/spirits distribution & sales and as a wine buyer. Born in Toledo, Ohio, Tim attended St John’s Jesuit and was an accomplished All-State lacrosse Captain, thespian and singer. He later attended Ohio Wesleyan University where he studied Economics and Management.