Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


cowdery last won the day on February 25 2016

cowdery had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

2 Neutral

About cowdery

  • Rank
    Active Contributor

Recent Profile Visitors

7,605 profile views
  1. Who, among the micros, is making a bourbon that contains more than 25% rye?
  2. Obviously, there's a price difference between buying one and buying 100,000, but the big guys pay about $120 each for new barrels and get about $80 each for used ones. Kelvin in Louisville is probably the biggest seller of used barrels, ISC is the biggest maker of new barrels. If you need a few new and a few used, Kelvin is a good source because they do make a small number of new barrels. They refurbish barrels and break them down for shipping overseas. They're expensive to ship in any form and I know a lot of people just take their truck and pick them up. Kelvin's an amazing place. They probably have over a million used barrels in inventory. It's quite a sight.
  3. Because by their nature their output is small, I don't think there can ever be 'too many' in absolute terms. I think we're already past the time when the shear novelty of a micro-distillery can assure success. The drinking public has shown that it really loves the idea of small, local distilleries, so everybody does get a fair shot. In some ways, they seem even more popular than micro-breweries. Ultimately, being little and just being won't be enough. You have to run a smart business and you have to keep giving customers a reason to pay attention and buy your products. But in terms of the question as asked, no, there aren't too many. In fact, having a large and robust micro-distiller community, such as they have in Oregon, can make everybody stronger.
  4. The thing I have seen with micros that works best is engaging your customers. Rather than a scattershot approach, which is what most of these boilerplate lists amount to, which can take a lot of your time and money for very little benefit, concentrate all of your energies on: 1) Getting previous customers (trade and consumer) to buy again. 2) Getting previous customers (consumers espcially) to become your advocates or, as the majors call them, ambassadors. I say this more for the benefit of everybody else, because I think MB Roland already does this well, but I'd encourage even them to forget about stuff that might give you broad reach with very little depth. Spend your limited time and money developing those relationships. Now, if that leads you naturally to things like Facebook or ad specialties, fine, but let the strategy drive the tactics and the strategy should be bonding with existing customers. For example, I think MB Roland has done parties, with live music, food, and other activities. These are great. If you already do them, think about what attendees can take away that will make them more likely to buy more, and more likely to share their enthusiasm with others. This is true for any small, specialized business. A loyal, repeat customer is gold. If you can make people feel like you are their distillery, you'll be set.
  5. I know one micro-distillery in a wine country tourism area that routinely turns away limos full of young women on bachelorette party tours. They're not driving, and as much as we all like drunk girls, if they're drunk when they get there, you're better off without them. This is a micro that charges for its tours, so they're turning down a vehicle full of ticket buyers, but it's probably a smart decision. They're also in a state that only recently legalized tasting at the distillery, so you know the antis are just looking for examples of abuse.
  6. cowdery


    Most American whiskey distilleries get their rye from Minnesota or the Dakotas, or Canada. I don't know what varieties. You might want to talk to some of the grain suppliers to see what varieties they normally sell to distillers. I just learned a few days ago that one of the Kentucky producers, Four Roses, has its rye imported from Germany and Denmark. They say it has a more robust flavor than what's available from North American growers. The ag program is a good call because your grower needs to plant something that will grow well in your area. Since Pennsylvania has a history of both growing rye and making it into whiskey, a little research may tell you what variety or varieties were grown there historically. I hope this is helpful. I think people here generally try to be helpful. If you're not getting the answers you hoped for its probably because people don't know. You're trying to do something a bit unique, which is good, but that means it might be hard to find others who have gone there before you.
  7. Light whiskey and white whiskey are completely different animals. "Light whisky' is whisky produced in the United States at more than 160[deg] proof, on or after January 26, 1968, and stored in used or uncharred new oak containers." It was essentially an attempt to create an American version of what the Scots call grain whiskey. It bombed. "White whiskey" is a modern term for unaged (legally, very lightly aged) whiskey, essentially whiskey 'white dog,' and so typically distilled below 160 proof. Good article in Slate today on that subject. What the pioneers drank they called 'common whiskey,' which was unaged and probably closer to 100 proof off the still. It was dominant until probably the Civil War. Thereafter aged whiskey because dominant, even though most of it was counterfeit, i.e., compound whiskey, the ancestor of modern blends. By Prohibition, straight whiskey was dominant, as it is today. As for Scottish grain whiskey and Canadian blending whiskey being whiskey and not vodka, they are distilled below neutrality--not by much but typically a few points below 95%--and they are aged at least three years in wood, hence whiskey (albeit nearly neutral) and not vodka. As for spelling, as an American, I spell whiskey with an 'e' and only honor the preferred spellings of other nations when stating brand names, so I might write about Scottish whiskey but would give Johnnie Walker Blended Scotch Whisky as an example. Sometimes I do write 'scotch whisky' in the generic sense, just to avoid trouble. I don't spell 'tire' as 'tyre' just because a particular tire is manufactured in the United Kingdom, why should whiskey be any different?
  8. There is no NGS/GNS in Canadian whisky. It's essentially the same as blended scotch. American blends can be up to 80% GNS and American Spirit Whiskey can be 95% GNS. Only the USA allows mixtures of whiskey and GNS to be called whiskey. To me spirit whiskey is most like light whiskey, something no one wants. Unless enough people want their vodka to be called whiskey.
  9. How do people here feel about the product itself, marketing aside? Until this came out, I wasn't even aware of the 'spirit whiskey' classification. Five percent whiskey, 95 percent vodka, and you can call it whiskey. The whiskey component doesn't even have to be bottled-in-bond, as with blends. It can be anything that meets the definition of whiskey. Canadian Club is Laphroiag compared to this stuff.
  10. Does the government have a preference? I thought we were talking about posters here 'correcting' other posters. There is logic to both formulations, but so what?
  11. I've been in this business for 40 years. I've always used GNS but I've never been confused when someone uses NGS. I just assumed they were European. Would it be great if we had more precision in business writing? Sure, but I gave up worrying about that 39.5 years ago. There isn't a lick of difference between the terms GNS and NGS. It's much like whiskey and whisky, though I suspect I'll get an argument about that. (I've heard it, I can assure you.) There's really no good case to be made for correcting someone who uses one over the other, even if you think your preference is better.
  12. Sorry. I posted it in another section. They changed the classification to "spirits distilled from grain." The full story is here.
  13. Even other arms of the government have trouble getting TTB to move. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has negotiated a treaty with Brazil in which they recognize bourbon and Tennessee whiskey as distinctive products of the U.S. and we recognize Cachaça as a distinctive product of Brazil. TTB is only willing to recognize Cachaça as a type of rum distinctive to Brazil, but it has taken years to get that far.
  14. It is not as easy as some people seem to think it is (or should be) to get TTB to change a rule or write a new one. It's very hard and takes a very long time.
  • Create New...