WhiskyCast Episode 617: November 27, 2016
What we think of today as the boom in craft distilling started 20 years ago this year, when San Francisco brewer Fritz Maytag bottled the first batch of Old Potrero Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey at Anchor Brewing in the city's Potrero Hill neighborhood. In 1993, Maytag and his staff cobbled together parts to build a distillery inside the brewery, long known for its Anchor Steam beer, and Bruce Joseph was put in charge of running the still. Today, Bruce Joseph is still Anchor's head distiller, and he'll join us for this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the results of this year's International Wine & Spirits Competition are in, with William Grant & Sons taking top honors. Two more estate distilleries are being proposed in Scotland, and while North Dakota is known for its barley...it's never been known for its whiskey...until now. Glen Fargo American Malt Whiskey was unveiled this week in Fargo, and we'll find out how its creator avoided a costly legal battle over the name. We'll also have details on this week's new whiskies, along with a way to count down the days - or drams - until Christmas.
WhiskyCast Episode 616: November 20, 2016
Bourbon's history is as murky as a fermenter full of mash, and questions about the origins of Bourbon have led to more than a few arguments over the years. Now, author Fred Minnick is wading right into the middle of those debates with his latest book, "Bourbon: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of an American Whiskey." He's researched everything from Bourbon's early days to the role slavery played in its development and why the Bourbon industry crashed in the 70's and 80's in the face of competition from vodka, rum, and other spirits, and you can hear our conversation with Fred Minnick on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the Scotch Whisky Association is betting on one final appeal in its bid to block Scotland's minimum unit pricing plan for alcohol sales, while US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy's new report on substance abuse calls for higher alcohol taxes to reduce consumption. For those who can afford a $5,000 bottle of Bourbon, Michter's figures no amount of taxes will make any difference in sales of its new Celebration Sour Mash, and that's just one of the new whiskies we'll have details on. Finally, why are some Manhattans great and others made with the same ingredients...not so great? We'll try to help a listener solve her problem with bad bartending.
WhiskyCast Episode 615: November 12, 2016
This week, we're celebrating the 11th anniversary of WhiskyCast with a potpourri of sorts, as we catch up with people from all over the world of whisky. We'll hear from Beam Suntory CEO Matt Shattock on his hopes for the incoming Trump Administration's policy goals related to the whisky industry, which can be affected by everything from taxes and trade treaties to agricultural policy. We'll talk with Paul Hletko of FEW Spirits about his new collaboration with Mike Miller and the folks from Delilah's in Chicago, and Dave Scheurich tells us about Boondocks - the whiskey that lured him out of retirement. Dave Pickerell shares details on the latest Boss Hog release from WhistlePig Rye, and Sam Mead explains the story behind Wyoming Whiskey's Outryder. In the news, MGP is expanding its footprint in whisky with the purchase of the Cincinnati-based George Remus line of whiskies, and farther down the Ohio River, Angel's Envy is ready to open the doors of its new distillery on Louisville's Whiskey Row to the public. Alexander Murray & Co. has teamed up with the brewers at Firestone Walker on a new single malt, and we'll finally get the answer on where Costco gets its Kirkland-branded whiskies from!
WhiskyCast Episode 614: November 6, 2016
This Monday marks the 20th anniversary of the fire that destroyed Heaven Hill's distillery and 90,000 barrels of whiskey in Bardstown, Kentucky. Not a single employee lost their job after the fire, even though it took the family-owned company several years to resume full production at the Bernheim Distillery in Louisville. Then as now, Max Shapira was president of Heaven Hill, and even though three members of the Shapira family's next generation are in senior management roles at Heaven Hill, he's not ready to step aside and let them run the company just yet. We'll talk with Max Shapira about the fire, managing a family-owned business, and planning for future whiskey demand on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. We have plenty of new whiskies to talk about this week, along with millions of dollars in new investment to expand whisky production in Scotland and Kentucky. The annual search to find rare bottles of Pappy Van Winkle is underway, along with Bruichladdich's biggest batch of new single malts in several years. Highland Park is playing with fire, Midleton's Brian Nation is putting his own stamp on the annual release of Midleton Very Rare, and Corby's Dr. Don Livermore dug deep into his warehouse to come up with vintage Scotch Whisky for a new Wiser's release that links Scotland and Canada. We'll also look at how one member of the World Series champion Chicago Cubs chose to celebrate the team's victory this week with gifts for his teammates.
WhiskyCast Episode 613: October 29, 2016
Distillery managers come and go at Lagavulin, but Iain McArthur is a fixture at the legendary Islay distillery. McArthur's something of a legend himself after 44 years as the warehouseman at Lagavulin and previously at Port Ellen, and the native Ileach followed his father and grandfather into the whisky business. We'll go peat cutting with Iain at his family's bog and sit down with him for this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. Back in August, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive David Frost told us it would take "a pretty good offer" to lure him back into government service. The offer came, and Frost's sudden resignation to become a special adviser to British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson tops our news this week. We'll also have details on Rémy Cointreau's latest move in the whisky business, Templeton Rye's commitment to distilling in Iowa, and a "write-in" ticket that could bring unity to this year's US presidential race.
WhiskyCast Episode 612: October 23, 2016
Lagavulin Distillery is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, and the Islay distillery hasn't changed all that much over the years - at least on the outside. Inside, Lagavulin's team has found new ways to produce more whisky each year without adding new equipment by combining classic distilling heritage with modern technology. We'll talk about the history and future of Lagavulin with distillery manager Georgie Crawford, longtime warehouseman Iain McArthur, and Diageo's in-house historian and director of whisky outreach, Dr. Nick Morgan. We'll also have tasting notes for the 200th anniversary Lagavulin 25-year-old single malt and this year's highly sought-after Feis Ile bottling. In the news, the week-long strike at Jim Beam's two Kentucky distilleries is over after workers ratified a new contract Friday. We'll have the details on that new contract along with another whiskey acquisition for Constellation Brands, another legal setback for the Scotch whisky industry's attempt to block a minimum pricing scheme in Scotland, the results of the 2016 Irish Whiskey Awards, and more new whiskies on the way for the holidays.