Industry News: July Newsletter

Industry News: July Newsletter
  • The wait is over! We can safely travel space and still have a nice martini in zero g. DVice (Colin Druce-McFadden) reports that the Cosmic Lifestyle Corporate has created a specialized martini glass that allows the spacefarer to sip from the edge without the benefit of gravity. It's interesting to us to think about shaking vs stirring in zero-g... we'd imagine that the cool thing about stirring is that it would keep stirring and not stop!
  • The Whiskey Advocate reported that while bourbon shortages are a trendy story, indeed anyone looking for Buffalo Trace's antique collection bemoans that fact, Beam is in good supply. This is actually very good news. Craft distilling is on the rise and awesome in its own right but aging whiskey is a tricky business and one where massive inventory is a good thing. It allows picking specific barrels, specific blends, and enjoys economies of scale that micro-distillers can't (yet) match. With Beam's signature craft line out, let's hope that Beam (now Suntory) is able to really provide some excellent bourbon while the rest of the industry struggles with supply... that's a win for consumers.
  • And weirdly, in the middle of a whiskey shortage, Diageo's George Dickel brand is storing whiskey in different places because of storage capacity issues, according to the AP (reported via the Washington Post). We say again: the booze business is a murky business and it's often very, very difficult to tell exactly what one is drinking. And that's a shame.
  • The bourbon shortage is all rumor according to an article at the Washington Examiner (Joseph Lawler). They cite a press release from Buffalo Trace Distillery mentioning production efforts as the source. The article points out that the problem is "brand specific" in the words of Frank Coleman of the Distilled Spirits Council. Fair enough. There's plenty of big market bourbon out there. Meanwhile, Buffalo Trace products-because of their high desirability-are going on allocation (and the Antique Collection is ridiculously hard to find).
  • The Tennessee legislature continues to struggle with what Tennessee whiskey actually is, according to the East Valley Tribune (AP story). At issue is Whiskey Giant Jack Daniel's insisting that Tennessee whiskey must be produce and aged in Tennessee while Liquor Giant Diageo's George Dickel is trying to age some whiskey off site in different warehouses. In the article, blogger Andy Levy is quoted saying "If you want to be considered a Tennessee whiskey, then you have to make it in Tennessee and store it in Tennessee. It is fundamental to what the result is." We have to concede the point. Still, to us Tennessee whiskey is more about the charred maple filtration than the terroir of Tennessee. Even though we accommodate things like scotch, cachaca, cognac, tequila and other regionally specific labels, we're bigger fans of classification by technique. At some point, an overwhelming set of conflicting classifications differing in small ways becomes overwhelming to the consumer and quite damaging to the industry.
  • There are a lot of crazy drink recipes going on out there... but this one, yikes! As reported by Gizmodo (Jesus Diaz), a White Castle infused rye whiskey drink with a bacon straw, liquid smoke, and pickle juice. To us, this can be filed with deep fried Twinkies.
  • North Shore Distillery is one of our favorites in the craft distilling world and we always like to hear about their seasonal, often experimental, releases. This year, they made 822 bottles of SommerWeizen, which is a distilled wheat bear infused with a variety of botanicals and hops. With the rise of "beer whiskey" in general, this should appeal to many folks in Illinois with the opportunity to try some!
  • Diageo is not a common name for the general consumer but they're the largest owner of spirits brands on earth. They emphasized that fact by increasing their stake in the Indian company United Spirits. This brings their stake in the company from 28.78% to 54.78% and total control. India is regarded as one of the largest whiskey markets in the world. As part of the deal, Diageo sold of Whyte and Mackay (reported through UK Mail Online among others)
  • Heaven Hill Distilleries has acquired the brand Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, which won great acclaim a few years ago by winning Best Liqueur in the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It's always interesting to us to see successful brands transfer ownership to larger companies and see if the quality holds up... we shall see!
  • For fans of Avion tequila, your brand may become bigger. Pernod-Ricard announced that they have purchased a majority stake in Avion Spirits (they already had an exclusive distribution arrangement).
  • The always-interesting Geoff Kleinman of DrinkSpirits published an article describing his thoughts on all of the drinking holidays and national days of X that are suddenly so prevalent in the marketing world. It's thoughtful and well-written but our favorite moment is when he mentioned that, "St. Patrick’s Day is known unaffectionately among bartenders as 'Amateur Night' and is often marked by gratuitous intoxication, violence, and illness. Ask any bartender about their last St. Patrick’s Day and the way they’ll describe it sounds a lot more like terrorist bombing in the Middle East than a celebration." Definitely worth a read.
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