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sku
03-19-2009, 10:33
I'm working on a blog posting which lists every distillery in the US that makes whiskey (including micros). It's a lot more than I would have guessed with all the micros and it's been challenging trying to figure out which small brands are actually micros making their own whiskey versus brand names that are just bottling Kentucky Bourbon. I'll post the list here when it's in more complete shape, but I have a few holes I thought people could help me fill in.

Wathen's. I assume this is a bottling operation only, but can't pin anything down. The website, like many bottlers, waxes sentimental about their distillery, but I have heard this (the Medley distillery in Owensboro) has been closed for years and haven't seen anything saying they actually distill there.

McKendrick Whiskey, Texas. Does this still exist? I have heard that their whiskey is also distilled in Kentucky. Anyone have any info?

Platte Valley Corn Whiskey. Originally made at McCormick's distillery in Missouri, an old SB post has someone saying this is now made by Heaven Hill and speculating on whether it is actually distilled at Bardstown. Anyone know?

Many thanks.

barturtle
03-19-2009, 11:45
I'm working on a blog posting which lists every distillery in the US that makes whiskey (including micros). It's a lot more than I would have guessed with all the micros and it's been challenging trying to figure out which small brands are actually micros making their own whiskey versus brand names that are just bottling Kentucky Bourbon. I'll post the list here when it's in more complete shape, but I have a few holes I thought people could help me fill in.

Wathen's. I assume this is a bottling operation only, but can't pin anything down. The website, like many bottlers, waxes sentimental about their distillery, but I have heard this (the Medley distillery in Owensboro) has been closed for years and haven't seen anything saying they actually distill there.

In case you haven't heard, the Medley Distillery is now known as the Charles Medley Distilling Company and is in the process of being reopened by Angostura (the bitters and rum people) of Trinidad and Tobago.


McKendrick Whiskey, Texas. Does this still exist? I have heard that their whiskey is also distilled in Kentucky. Anyone have any info?

No idea, their webpage is no longer active, though.


Platte Valley Corn Whiskey. Originally made at McCormick's distillery in Missouri, an old SB post has someone saying this is now made by Heaven Hill and speculating on whether it is actually distilled at Bardstown. Anyone know?

Many thanks.

Seeing that I can't find another straight corn whiskey on the shelf (other than the Copper Fox and its siblings out of West Virginia, I think) that isn't made by HH, I'd say it's likely. However, as recently as 2002 they were still being allowed to "use up" older "Distilled in Illinois" jugs. and were distilling in IL until at least 1992.

sku
03-19-2009, 11:51
Thanks so much Barturtle. Do you know if Angostura owns the Wathen's brand and is the plan to make it out of Owensboro?

Josh
03-19-2009, 11:57
Platte Valley is indeed made and bottled by HH under contract, but the brand is owned by McCormick. The jug I have says it was made in Bardstown. Bettye Joe was the someone who mentioned this in a thread a while back but I can't find it.

cowdery
03-19-2009, 13:58
Angostura does not own the Wathen's brand. Charles Medley does. He also owns a few other old Medley brand names, or so he says.

Contrary to the wishful thinking of many, Angostura sees itself as a bulk producer, not a brand marketer. It may create a brand primarily for sale at the distillery, but that is several years off, considering that they are at least a year away from filling their first barrel.

sku
03-20-2009, 15:46
Interestingly, here in the reply I got from HH when I emailed asking if they make Platte Valley Corn Whiskey:

"Thank you for contacting Heaven Hill. The brand you are inquiring about, Platte Valley Corn Whiskey, is not one of our products. Platte Valley Corn Whiskey is a product of McCormick Distilling."

So, I asked if they "make" PVCW and they responded that PVCW is "not one of our products." I suppose that leaves some wiggle room for a scenario in which HH distills it for McCormick.

DowntownD
03-20-2009, 19:34
I have a feeling this is an unpopular opinion amongst those making and selling American whiskey - but I very much wish there were legal regulations which forced the industry to disclose exactly where it was literally distilled in every case no matter who ends up selling it under whatever brand/label.

The abmiguity leaves far too much room for clever marketing and made up b.s. stories, non-existent "distilleries", and fake personas in my opinion. There's enough real people, and enough real history there already, why take the "money matters most" approach and cloud the issue? Anyway, threads like this always remind me of this annoying part of the business.

anyway... cool project you're working on, btw. thanks for sharing.

;)

cowdery
03-20-2009, 19:37
Billy Jean is not my lover
... and the kid is not my son.

"Platte Valley Corn Whiskey is not our product" is the only answer Heaven Hill can give, since even if they know by chemical analysis that the whiskey in Platte Valley is theirs, saying "yes," even with qualifications, opens a can of worms. They gave you a truthful answer.

Many of us, not least of all me, have assumed for years that if someone is selling a whiskey they didn't make themselves, Heaven Hill probably made it. Playing the odds, that's still the best bet, but Angostura may well be selling bulk corn whiskey now. Anybody who makes it might be selling it in bulk and several people make it for use in their own blends, even though they don't sell any corn whiskey products. In fact, Heaven Hill is the only corn whiskey producer that also sells corn whiskey products (I'm not counting the micros), but that's the only way they're unique WRT corn whiskey.

cowdery
03-20-2009, 19:47
I have a feeling this is an unpopular opinion amongst those making and selling American whiskey - but I very much wish there were legal regulations which forced the industry to disclose exactly where it was literally distilled in every case no matter who ends up selling it under whatever brand/label.

The abmiguity leaves far too much room for clever marketing and made up b.s. stories, non-existent "distilleries", and fake personas in my opinion. There's enough real people, and enough real history there already, why take the "money matters most" approach and cloud the issue? Anyway, threads like this always remind me of this annoying part of the business.

anyway... cool project you're working on, btw. thanks for sharing.

;)

Among Scottish whiskeys you have a de facto system with single malts, since they must be the product of a single distillery. With everything else, and "everything else" is most of the whiskey sold in the world, you don't really know.

There is, however, one class of American whiskey where you do know and that's bonds. The reason we all know Brown-Forman makes Rittenhouse Rye for Heaven Hill is because the bonded expression is required by federal law to come from one distillery and one distiller in one season, and the distillery must be identified by its DSP number on the label.

Bonds, unfortunately, aren't very popular anymore, but if you want to know where your whiskey was made, buy bonds and tell your friends to do the same.

sku
03-20-2009, 23:16
Among Scottish whiskeys you have a de facto system with single malts, since they must be the product of a single distillery.

Just to clairfy, even though single malts must come from a single distillery and the practice in Scotch is for independent bottlers to disclose the distiller, not all independent bottlers do. There are independently bottled malts like Finlaggan, Smokehead and others that are labeled single malt but not disclosed and Scotch fans play the same guessing games with them that Bourbon fans do with the latest from KBD. Unlike with Bourbon however, for Scotch, the more common practice, by a long shot, is for independents to openly and forthrightly disclose the distillery.

DowntownD
03-21-2009, 01:42
Just to clairfy, even though single malts must come from a single distillery and the practice in Scotch is for independent bottlers to disclose the distiller, not all independent bottlers do. There are independently bottled malts like Finlaggan, Smokehead and others that are labeled single malt but not disclosed and Scotch fans play the same guessing games with them that Bourbon fans do with the latest from KBD. Unlike with Bourbon however, for Scotch, the more common practice, by a long shot, is for independents to openly and forthrightly disclose the distillery.

oh well, they have the better system and we have the better whiskey which has the added benefit of also usually being less expensive. ;)

at least there's that... (sorry for the thread drift).

cowdery
03-21-2009, 15:30
I don't know if I'd call their system better, but it is different. The key difference is that the Scottish whiskey industry runs on blends while the American industry runs on straights, meaning the typical American whiskey is the product of a single and known distillery, whereas the typical Scottish whiskey is the product of many anonymous distilleries. The typical American whiskey is the product of the distiller, whereas the typical Scottish whiskey is the product of the blender.

DowntownD
03-21-2009, 15:49
you're right of course. I was really just making a loose-joke about theirs being more transparent with respect to the actual distiller along with my own preference for Bourbon and Rye over Scotch. ;)

squire
03-21-2009, 21:22
I buy bonds as a choice for the reasons Chuck mentioned but so long as Barton is 100 proof I won't complain.