Beam Suntory considers opening downtown Chicago office

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After Japanese whiskey maker Suntory Holdings bought Beam Inc. to form Beam Suntory in 2014, the company said it would keep its headquarters in suburban Deerfield. Now, however, the company appears to be looking to move some of those corporate employees to downtown Chicago, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune. Full story

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

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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

Bourbon lovers will soon be able to create their own custom Maker’s Mark

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Maker’s Mark is bringing real innovation to the bourbon industry with a first-of-its-kind barrel program, Maker’s Mark Private Select. The new experience will allow retail customers to “make their own Maker’s” by finishing fully-matured cask strength Maker’s Mark Bourbon in a single barrel made up of their custom selection of oak staves. The program will kick off in limited release in November, with bottled product available for sale by retail participants beginning March 2016. Full story

A guide to the new Kentucky bourbons being released this fall

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Every fall, bourbon lovers make a pilgrimage to Kentucky for two things: the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, which runs through Sunday in Bardstown, and the fall bourbon releases. Kentucky is ground zero for new bourbon — it’ll be released here if it’s anywhere, typically — so collectors come hoping to stock up. Bourbon sleuths scout the new labels approved by the federal government months in advance for inklings of what might be coming. Full story

Whiskey maker Templeton Rye reaches settlement in lawsuits

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The makers of Templeton Rye have agreed to settle three class-action lawsuits that disputed claims the company made about the origin and production of its whiskey. Under the agreement, the company must change its labeling on its bottles and language on its website, according to documents filed in Polk County District Court. Templeton Rye also must establish a fund that could be used to pay back customers who bought bottles of the drink, The Des Moines Register reported. Full story

Maker’s Mark: Consumers know it’s not completely “handmade”

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The label on a bottle of Maker’s Mark says “handmade,” but any reasonable consumer knows the Kentucky bourbon is not completely made by hand. That’s one way Maker’s Mark parent company Beam-Suntory defends itself against a pair of class-action lawsuits that allege the word “handmade” on a Maker’s bottle is false and misleading because the process is, in fact, “mechanized and automated.” Full story

Suntory Puts Asia’s Biggest Booze Buyer on 3-Year Hold

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After a $16 billion whiskey binge, Suntory Holdings Ltd. is keeping its wallet in its pocket. Suntory, Asia’s biggest-spending beverage acquirer over the past five years, plans to hold off on buying overseas companies for three years, President Takeshi Niinami said in an interview.Suntory’s $16 billion purchase of U.S. spirits maker Beam Inc. last year has helped raise the portion of revenue from overseas, while boosting debt and causing its credit rating to drop. Full story

The American Whiskey Trail will benefit from Bourbon’s Billion-Dollar Boom

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Bourbon and whiskey are enjoying what Fortune Magazine calls “The Billion-Dollar Bourbon Boom” noting that American whisky and bourbon is now an $8 billion-dollar global industry.  At home the amber liquid is enjoying a resurgence thanks to popular television stories like Mad Men but for fans of the brown spirit, it has always been a favorite, even if the rest of the world is just starting to catch up. Full story

Meet Mr. Whiskey: Dave Pickerell

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Think of Dave Pickerell as the Johnny Appleseed of American whiskey. After fourteen years as the master distiller at Maker’s Mark, he left in 2008 to become a consultant for the burgeoning craft-distilling movement. Since then Pickerell, who is based in Louisville, has worked with many of the leading names in the business, including Corsair, Hillrock Estate, and George Washington, the newly reopened distillery at Mount Vernon—and become one of the preeminent figures in modern whiskey. Full story

Diageo to launch new bourbons, doesn’t need Beam Inc

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Alcoholic drinks maker Diageo PLC does not need to buy rival Beam Inc, its chief executive officer said on Tuesday, since it is expanding its existing whiskeys and launching new ones.

Diageo has long been seen as a potential buyer of newly independent Beam, since Beam’s array of bourbon whiskies would complement Diageo’s two dozen Scotch brands, which include Johnnie Walker, J&B and Talisker. Full story