Crafting Bourbon: Barrels key part of flavor

The crafting of bourbon, for indeed it is a craft, creates more pseudo-experts, opinions and arguments than how the world was formed. Certainly many of you have studied bourbon over the years and probably have a preference for one particular brand or distilling technique over others. However, several things are set in stone by law. Full story

Brown-Forman Honors Barrel-Making Heritage with Coopers’ Craft Bourbon

For the first time in two decades, Brown-Forman is launching a new bourbon brand. The company said Coopers’ Craft is made using a special beech and birch charcoal-filter finishing process. It celebrates Brown-Forman’s 70 years of barrel-making expertise. Coopers’ Craft will be available this summer in Kentucky and seven other states. Read full press release

The Nine Lives of One Bourbon Barrel

The last place you might expect to discover a monument to American whiskey is in an overgrown field in the idyllic countryside of Speyside, Scotland. But if you follow a path up a woody hill, overlooking the Glenrothes distillery, in a clearing you’ll find great pyramids of used American oak barrels. The newest ones look like they could still hold whiskey, while the oldest, weather-beaten ones are losing their rusty hoops and the staves are turning into dust. Full story

We Found A Rare Bourbon That’s Absolutely Worth The Hype

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Old Forester is widely known for producing inexpensive and well-regarded bourbon, a favorite of bartenders and whiskey drinkers who recognize the brand’s quality and value. Old Forester is also known for its coveted white whale whiskey, the annual Birthday Bourbon expression. Since 2002, it has been released every September 2nd (or thereabouts) to mark founder George Garvin Brown’s birthday. Full story

Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Visits Skyrocket With 900,000 Guests in 2015


With more distilleries participating than ever before, the world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® adventures set an all-time attendance record in 2015 with nearly 900,000 guests touring the best of the Bluegrass.

That means the popular tourism attraction has more than doubled its attendance in just five short years, said Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association that created the landmark journey in 1999. View full press release

Sazerac acquisitions suggest global growth

Sazerac’s recent acquisition of Southern Comfort and Tuaca was “surprising” since it suggests the producer is looking to expand its presence outside of the US, an analyst has claimed. According to Jeremy Cunnington, senior alcoholic drinks analyst at Euromonitor International, 99% of Sazerac’s global 169 million litre sales occur in the US, with the remaining 1% sold in Canada, meaning its recent acquisitions from Brown-Forman signify a “large leap” for the group. Full story

Merging US, Japan Work Cultures a Challenge for Beam Suntory

The head of Japanese whiskey maker Suntory said Friday that merging work cultures remains a major challenge, more than 20 months after his company acquired the U.S. maker of Jim Beam bourbon.

Takeshi Niinami, the president and CEO of Suntory Holdings Ltd., said integration is difficult because Japanese and American employees have differing career aspirations and compensation systems. Full story

Bill to allow some distilleries to serve cocktails advances


Bourbon tourists taking in the sights and smells of Kentucky distilleries could start sipping cocktails as part of the experience if a bill that cleared a legislative panel on Tuesday becomes state law. The measure would allow distilleries in wet territories to offer by-the-drink sales to visitors. It also would let the distilleries sell more of their whiskey and offer slightly larger amounts of free samples. Full story

Constellation Brands’ Venture Capital Arm Acquires Minority Stake in Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery

Constellation Brands, Inc. announced today that it has acquired a minority stake in Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, which produces a variety of craft whiskeys. Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery will continue to operate independently to produce, market, and sell its products. The investment is the second for Constellation Ventures, the company’s corporate venture capital function, focused on identifying smallerscale investment opportunities related to innovative concepts and emerging categories within beverage alcohol. Full story

Brown-Forman’s Morris named new chairman for Kentucky Distillers’ Association for 2016

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced Tuesday that Master Distiller Chris Morris of Brown-Forman has been named chairman of the 136-year-old group that unites, promotes and protects the state’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.

Morris, an acknowledged authority on Bourbon and Kentucky history who is celebrating his 40th year in the industry, will serve through December 2016. The KDA Board of Directors selected officers during its annual meeting recently at the historic Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville. Full story

Van Winkles oppose auction of stolen bourbon

If members of the Van Winkle family have their way, 28 bottles of stolen Pappy Van Winkle bourbon will be destroyed — not sold.

On Tuesday, Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton said he spoke with Julian Van Winkle, president of the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, who asked that all bottles and barrels involved in a well-publicized racketeering case not be auctioned off for charity, as Melton had previously suggested to Full story

The Jews Who Made American Whisky

Many of the iconic bourbon and rye brands on store shelves are or were once owned and operated by Jews, including Jim Beam, I.W. Harper, Rittenhouse, Elijah Craig, Four Roses and Dickel.

From ubiquitous bagels and cream cheese to restorative matzo ball soup to decadently rich pastrami, Jews are famous for contributing a number of delicious dishes to the menu of American food favorites. But when it comes to drinks, the item that usually pops into people’s minds first is, sadly, the sickly sweet kosher wine Manischewitz. Full story

Jim Beam® Bourbon Transforms Historic Rackhouse Into Massive 3-D Holiday Display

Jim Beam®, the world’s No. 1 bourbon, is making history once again by transforming a barrel rackhouse at its flagship distillery in Clermont, Ky., into a nine-story 3-D canvas for a multimedia celebration that’s as bold as Jim Beam itself. Featuring state-of-the-art digital projection imagery, 3-D animation and special effects that highlight more than 220 years of Jim Beam tradition, the holiday lights spectacular marks the first time a spirits company is using projection mapping technology to create a fully, immersive visitors experience. Read the full press release

Bardstown Bourbon Company Announces First of Its Kind Collaborative Kentucky Whiskey Craft Distilling Program

The Bardstown Bourbon Company is pleased to announce an innovative Collaborative Whiskey, Bourbon, and Rye Wholesale Distilling Program. Slated to open in Summer 2016, the new distillery will offer wholesale customers the opportunity to create custom, authentic, Kentucky whiskey products and will also provide comprehensive barrel financing. The Program promises to expand the explosive growth of the craft distilling industry by providing craft distillers and brand owners high quality whiskey to strengthen their supply. Read full press release

Jim Beam Supports Military Families With $100,000 Donation To Fund Holiday Meals Program

Jim Beam® Bourbon, the world’s No. 1 bourbon, proudly salutes military men and women with a $100,000 donation to Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit that provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. The donation, which was presented last weekend by seventh generation Jim Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe in support of Operation Homefront’s Holiday Meals for Military program, underscores Jim Beam’s ongoing commitment to America’s service men and women. Read full press release

Heaven Hill Brands Celebrates 80th Anniversary of First Bourbon Barrel with Special Production Run

In 1935, Friday the 13th was anything but unlucky for Heaven Hill.  It was on that date 80 years ago that the fledgling distillery filled its first barrel of fine Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, marking the beginning of a business that has grown to become the largest family owned and operated distilled spirits producer, and the second largest holders of aging Bourbon, in the nation. Full story

People pay this guy to talk about bourbon

Back in 1991, Michael Veach was a graduate student at the University of Louisville, working on a master’s degree in history when he heard that an area distiller was looking for help.

At the time, a company called United Distillers, which is part of Diageo PLC today, was interested in creating an archive for its historic Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Shively. They needed a graduate student to put it together. Full story

Luxco planning $27 million distillery in Bardstown

Luxco, St. Louis-based marketer of Rebel Yell and Ezra Brooks bourbons, is considering building a $27.3 million distillery in Nelson County, according to the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority.

The KEDFA board voted to give preliminary approval for $1.3 million in tax incentives for the project, which will employ an estimated 34 people with an average hourly wage, including benefits, of $25. Full story

Wild Turkey® unveils bold new brand packaging across its range of products

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Wild Turkey® today debuted a new look for its premium bourbon and rye whiskey range. While making no changes to the award-winning liquid, Wild Turkey has designed new packaging for its global family of products that better reflects the core values of the historic brand. A detailed new turkey illustration, found on every expression and most prominently displayed on Wild Turkey 101, depicts a spirited bird that is authentic, proud, and bold – characteristics that have always defined the conviction at the heart of the Wild Turkey brand. Read full press release

Woodford Reserve Releases 2015 Holiday Bottle


Woodford Reserve celebrates the holiday season with the release of its 2015 holiday bottle.  The limited edition Woodford Reserve holiday bottle features the artwork from Louisville artist Thomas William Foerster.

Foerster’s image on the bottle features a snow scene in the middle of winter at the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky. The impressionistic image features nine bourbon barrels resting on the barrel run in front of the distillery. Covered in a small amount of snow, the barrels are making their way to the warehouse where the bourbon will mature for several years. In the background, the sun is setting in hues of golden orange. Read full press release

Rye Adds an Authentic Touch to the Holidays

Three men sitting in a Midtown Manhattan restaurant one recent afternoon represented three generations of the Kentucky clan whose hand has been on the tiller of the Wild Turkey distillery for more than half a century. There was Jimmy Russell, the legendary distiller; Eddie Russell, his son, a veteran distiller in his own right; and Bruce Russell, Eddie’s 26-year-old son, a relatively new addition to the firm. Full story

Modern marvels hidden in century-old Brown-Forman buildings

bfbuildingIn a working-class neighborhood in western Louisville, near a fire station, Baptist churches and homes with gray vinyl siding, some tall red-brick structures stand out – in part because one of them seems to be propping up a giant bottle of bourbon.

Visitors who stroll down this part of Dixie Highway are inclined to pay more attention to the building on the east, the official headquarters of Brown-Forman Corp., which impresses with neatly cut shrubs, smooth lawn and majestic, white columns. Full story

Whiskey now flowing and aging at Michter’s Louisville distillery

The establishment of a Louisville headquarters for Michter’s American Whiskeys is a story reminiscent of the out-of-town kid moving to a new school where he’s got to prove himself.

Local bourbon fans are provincial about their booze, and some have eyed the Pennsylvania-born brand as an outsider needing to prove its tastiness amid so many strong local competitors. Full story

Kentucky’s 10 Best Craft Distilleries | Whisky as an Art Form

There’s little doubt that the state of Kentucky is the bourbon capital of the world, and therefore the ideal holiday destination for true spirit aficionados. Pick up a Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour passport from the Kentucky Distillers’ Association to receive a commemorative julep cup once you’ve visited all nine of the included distilleries. Or, for those short of time, pick some of the following must-visit distilleries and get a taste of Kentucky’s finest export. Full story

Meet the first woman master distiller in modern times


Sometime next year, a new bourbon distillery will open at the site of the former Old Taylor Distillery near Frankfort. Leading the project is master distiller Marianne Barnes, the first woman to hold the title in modern times.

The forthcoming distillery is backed by Will Arvin and Wesley Murry, who asked Barnes to partner with them. The distillery would breathe new life into an abandoned 130-acre property that was once a grand showplace for historic distiller Col. Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr. Full story

Bar offers Pappy Van Winkle at cost


Jeremy Johnson, the owner of Meta cocktail lounge (Louisville), wants to make the wildly popular –- and inaccessible – Pappy Van Winkle bourbons available to as many people as possible and is using his allocation to do just that.

“It’s this thing that nobody can get their hands on,” he says; and the bourbon is often priced many times over its cost. “Let’s make it so everyone can get it. Full story

Everything You Need to Know About Bottled in Bond Bourbon

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An often-overlooked category of whiskey is bottled in bond bourbon. This is probably mostly due to the fact that not very many brands actually carry expressions that fit the stringent criteria, part of which involves minutiae like government-certified warehouses. Obviously, the rules that classify bourbon as bonded aren’t mandatory, so why would a brand even bother? Well, there’s a bit of history behind it. Full story

Rye is rising: A new whiskey trend that goes with the grain

Fans of brown spirits are taking a rye approach to imbibing. Hot on the heels of the bourbon boom, more ryes are appearing on shelves as consumers explore whiskey’s spicier, fruitier side. “People are rediscovering rye whisky and its unique flavor,” says Dan Tullio, master ambassador for Canadian whisky for Beam Suntory, which just launched its Alberta Rye Dark Batch Whisky. Full story

What Will the Future of Pappy Van Winkle Taste Like?

Right now, it’s sitting in my kitchen, high on a shelf, an icon in blue velvet: a bottle of 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle. Numbered, sealed, and secure in its embroidered shroud, it isn’t so much a bottle of whiskey as an asset, like a municipal bond. Pappy Van Winkle has been making whiskey for generations. But nobody really appreciates it because of a historical accident of birth. All younger and future Pappies will be made, not at the old, now-shuttered Stitzel-Weller distillery, as their older cousins the 20- and 23-year-old Pappies were, but at the modern Buffalo Trace bourbon plant, an industrial compound that also produces Blanton’s, Eagle Rare, and 13 other bourbons. Full story

Louisville cocktail bar gains national news attention, praise and threats over Pappy Jell-O shots

Louisville cocktail bar, META, grabbed headlines after taking a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 15-year-old bourbon and a bottle of 12-year-old and turning those sought-after sippers into Jell-O shots.Technically, he took the bourbon, blended it with bitters, muddled cherry, orange and syrup for a giant old fashioned cocktail, thickened it with gelatin and poured the blend into 80 individual cups, each containing a brandied cherry. Full story