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cowdery
06-04-2010, 21:27
Every publication this side of "Highlights for Children" has done a story about the rye revival. I've written a couple of them myself.

But for all the buzz, rye sales are still very small. They've grown a little but not much.

Last December in The Bourbon Country Reader (http://home.netcom.com/~cowdery/page9.html), I wrote that I've talked to the distilleries and if they were making rye three days a year, it is now four, but that's all the more it has grown after several years of good press.

A little bit of growth from a very small base.

Now I've gotten some sales numbers. The person who gave them to me explained that the numbers for Heaven Hill's and Sazerac's products are low. As private companies, they don't have to report. What numbers we have for those companies come from what they sell to control states. But this will still give you some idea. It represents a running year, so May 2009 through April 2010 in this case.

Jim Beam Rye is far and away the leader at 42,365 cases. Beam reports and I'm told its figures are accurate. To give you a frame of reference, the big bourbon and Tennessee whiskey brands -- Jim, Jack and Evan -- each sell millions of cases a year. Wild Turkey 101 and Maker's Mark are each a bit shy of breaking the million-case threshold. A brand like Knob Creek or Woodford Reserve will sell more than 100,000 cases a year.

Second after Jim Beam Rye is Old Overholt Rye, which Beam makes. It clocks in at 18,804 cases. Third is Beam's Ri 1, at 3,746 cases. The Beam ryes are 87 percent of the category (as reported).

Next, astonishingly, is Templeton Rye at 3,351 cases, followed by Wild Turkey Rye at 2,750 cases. Sazerac Rye ("Baby Saz") is next at 1,158cases, Rittenhouse BIB and 86 have reported just 254 and 183 cases respectively.

Why gather these numbers if we know they're not accurate? We know some (Beam's) are accurate. We know the others aren't high, we know they''re low, but we don't know how low.

Even though they don't report, if Heaven Hill's or Sazerac's ryes were outselling Beam's, they'd figure out a way to get that information out there. Heaven Hill, for example, provides enough information about the sales of Evan Williams black label to support their claim that it ranks third after Jack and Jim.

That Templeton Rye, sold in two states, is outselling Wild Turkey Rye, that is sold in 50, is fascinating too. High West sold over 1,000 cases, most of it Rendezvous Rye. Wasmunds Rye Spirit sold 787 cases.

ratcheer
06-05-2010, 05:25
I would buy rye whiskey, but nothing is available, here, except Jim Beam Rye. Maybe I will try that someday, but I would like to be able to get some of the "higher end" ryes.

Tim

unclebunk
06-05-2010, 07:31
Thanks for the info, Chuck. The numbers are quite astounding, really. I would never have thought Baby Saz and Rittenhouse BIB to be so low or Templeton to be so high. I'm doing my personal best to boost Rittenhouse's numbers but there's only so much one person can do.:grin: The real shocker is the relatively small number of cases being sold of WT Rye. That's quality stuff at a great price and widely available. Strange!

DeanSheen
06-05-2010, 08:57
Also Baby Saz cases are only six.

7000 Baby Saz and 3000 Ritt BIB just seems way too low.

T Comp
06-05-2010, 10:03
Next, astonishingly, is Templeton Rye at 3,351 cases, followed by Wild Turkey Rye at 2,750 cases. Sazerac Rye ("Baby Saz") is next at 1,158cases, Rittenhouse BIB and 86 have reported just 254 and 183 cases respectively.

That Templeton Rye, sold in two states, is outselling Wild Turkey Rye, that is sold in 50, is fascinating too. High West sold over 1,000 cases, most of it Rendezvous Rye. Wasmunds Rye Spirit sold 787 cases.

I have a habit of visiting way too many liquor stores and spending too much time perusing their American whiskey shelves. This often causes a verbal exchange between a store clerk or owner. I like to play along and let them talk, at least for a while. No other whiskey has been recommended to me more than Templeton Rye. Just the other day (where I finally found a 375 of 101 Frankfort ER) I heard again " I really love Templeton, you have to try it, we can't keep it in stock". They obviously have done a great job of marketing it and people really seem to like it, just like Jack and Jim. And by the way, not one store person has known it was not distilled in Iowa. I've even had to use my G1 phone's browser to convince several otherwise.

cowdery
06-05-2010, 11:54
Remember, we know the Sazerac and Rittenhouse (Heaven Hill) figures aren't accurate, as they only represent control states sales. I have, however, talked to both producers and have a good idea how much they are making. It's not much.

Also, actual case size (e.g., six for Baby Saz) is irrelevant. Reporting is always done in "flat" cases, which are 9 L cases, the equivalent of a case of twelve 750 ml bottles. The case sizes are equalized for reporting purposes. So 100 4.5 L cases would be reported as 50 9 L cases.

Dramiel McHinson
06-05-2010, 13:21
This is probably just my own limited experience but I've found a lot of people have a left over belief that rye whiskey is "rot gut" whiskey and won't buy it or try it. Most of the people that say that are too young by a long shot to have tried the highly adulterated rye whiskey that was circulated during the prohibition period. When I question why they believe that, the general reply is that's what they always heard.

Strange how myths prevail long after truth has vanished.

I like rye whiskey. Unfortunately, the only rye I've seen in my neck of the woods is the Jim Beam Rye and for a very short time the WT rye. The Beam rye was very mild in nose and taste. The WT was much richer to me. If you don't want a strong taste, Beam is the way to go and it's plentiful here.

I usually have to travel to Tallahassee Florida and visit the Market Square liquor stores to find good whiskey selections.

Ohhh Alabama ABC! Take down that wall!

tmckenzie
06-05-2010, 16:19
I find most people still think rye is canadian whiskey.

Josh
06-05-2010, 17:39
I find most people still think rye is canadian whiskey.

I would agree with that, especially around here which, long after the demise of Hiram Walker and his company, is still CC country.

bonneamie
06-05-2010, 20:15
In honor of your post, Chuck, I'm doing my part and drinking Rittenhouse Rye. Very tasty.

Lost Pollito
06-05-2010, 23:36
I'd add that the only rye we have not been short on would be Beam, Overholt, Rye 1, KBD, and High West. If the supply was not so weak for the others, I suspect these numbers would equal out. Tempelton, RR, Ritt, and Saz have all seen holes in availability.

MarkEdwards
06-06-2010, 03:17
I'd add that the only rye we have not been short on would be Beam, Overholt, Rye 1, KBD, and High West. If the supply was not so weak for the others, I suspect these numbers would equal out. Tempelton, RR, Ritt, and Saz have all seen holes in availability.

I just picked up a bottle of Thomas Handy Sazerac last week. I'll have to give it a taste tonight.

CorvallisCracker
06-07-2010, 09:42
I usually have to travel to Tallahassee Florida and visit the Market Square liquor stores to find good whiskey selections.

There aren't many things I miss about that town, but Market Square is one of them. Good selection of other stuff too (rum, wine). If they still carry the Aqua Perfecta line, try the raspberry liqueur.

ILLfarmboy
06-08-2010, 09:26
I'm disappointed Baby Saz's numbers are so low. I wonder how well it sells around here. Now that it is fairly widely available.

Templeton's numbers are surprising and it blows my theory that blandness
Is why Beam Rye is popular. Templeton is not bland, its weak because of its proof, but has a good flavor profile. Marketing/visibility is the one thing that can explain both whiskeys outselling Baby Saz and WT Rye.

Gillman
06-08-2010, 12:47
Strange how myths prevail long after truth has vanished.
[/QUOTE]

Very true. We still hear in Canada that Canadian beer is much stronger than U.S. beer, which was never very true anyway (when measuring both by volume the difference was something like 2/10ths of 1%), and today the issue is a dead-letter due to the proliferation of craft beers of all strengths on both sides of the border. But the image lives on... Same thing with rye, or more famously, that Jack Daniels is a unique kind of whiskey called a "sour mash". Where did that come from? I guess the labeling but odd how that caught on and holds tenaciously, even after years of serious interest in Bourbon and other good whiskey. So is the idea that American Blended Whiskey is rot-gut. Now in that case, some of it is not that great, but some is certainly good palatable whiskey for the money. Just recently I was reading in Jackson's 1987 The World Guide to Whisky that Beam's 8 Star has a "high" percentage of bourbon in it. Which reminded me that that is one blend I've never tried. I'll have to look for some, Jackson didn't say how much, but he implied it was a high percentage. The Beam profile actually benefits IMO from some dilution (e.g., in a cocktail, or with Coke), so I'll have to try the 8 Star at some point. If I don't like it, I'll just add more Jim Beam Bourbon...

Gary

CorvallisCracker
06-08-2010, 13:11
And, of course, both Irish Whiskey and Russian Vodka are made from potatoes...

SMOWK
06-08-2010, 15:34
I just picked up a bottle of Thomas Handy Sazerac last week. I'll have to give it a taste tonight.

That stuff is outstanding! Is it really just barrel proof Baby Saz? I've tried to water it down and put it side by side, even blindly, but the Handy was always better.

nblair
06-08-2010, 16:52
That stuff is outstanding! Is it really just barrel proof Baby Saz? I've tried to water it down and put it side by side, even blindly, but the Handy was always better.

I always heard it was the same thing. You also have to account for the unfiltered aspect though.

ErichPryde
06-08-2010, 21:56
That stuff is outstanding! Is it really just barrel proof Baby Saz? I've tried to water it down and put it side by side, even blindly, but the Handy was always better.


I always heard it was the same thing. You also have to account for the unfiltered aspect though.

Although it comes from the same original distillate, it's not really the same whiskey. The barrels Thomas Handy is coming out of are essentially honey barrels. If Buffalo Trace did a batch of "baby" sazerac out of some stuff that could potentially become Thomas Handy, perhaps I'd actually buy some. :D Until then, I'll just get my sazerac fix with the 18 year old and the Handy when they come out.

DeanSheen
06-08-2010, 22:05
I never really thought of it that way Erich. I do like the Baby Saz but have to agree with you that the Handy is better. I really wish they made Handy as a regular item.

tommyboy38
06-10-2010, 21:23
I haven't seen any Ritt BIB around these parts lately...even the shops that have great variety in the whiskey aisle. I wish I could find some.

Josh
06-11-2010, 03:21
I haven't seen any Ritt BIB around these parts lately...even the shops that have great variety in the whiskey aisle. I wish I could find some.

I'm with you, Tom. If they made more Ritt BiB, I'd be buying a lot more of it. I don't buy it because I can't find it not because I don't want to buy it. Step it up HH! I could also never understand why we get Ritt 21 and 23 here, but not any other expressions.:smiley_acbt:

The Boozer
06-11-2010, 07:08
I'm with Josh and Tom on this one. The Ritt BiB is great and thanks Josh for bringing me a bottle. Had some last weekend. Should tell HH to push to get it on the State list because it would sell well here in the Mitten. Once again, the DLEQ is all F-up.

SMOWK
06-11-2010, 16:56
There is always plenty of Ritt BIB stock in Delaware. Just about every decent store has it, and lots of it. I find the price varies anywhere from $17-25.

cowdery
06-12-2010, 11:02
Rittenhouse originally came from that area (the Rittenhouse Hotel is a Philadelphia landmark) so it probably has a mix of old and new fans. My guess would be that's one of their bigger markets for that brand.

shoshani
06-12-2010, 23:35
Are Parker and Craig Beam still making Ritt over at Brown-Forman's plant?

ErichPryde
06-13-2010, 01:24
Yes, as of 2009- I have a bottle I bought late 2009 before I left wichita from a place that moves that stuff quick, still says DSP 354 on it. decent stuff... much better than it once was.

cowdery
06-13-2010, 11:27
As I understand it, Brown Forman is still making rye for Heaven Hill but Heaven Hill is also making some themselves at Bernheim.

SMOWK
06-13-2010, 16:35
Rittenhouse originally came from that area (the Rittenhouse Hotel is a Philadelphia landmark) so it probably has a mix of old and new fans. My guess would be that's one of their bigger markets for that brand.

I've been to the Rittenhouse with a bottle of the Rye in hand. 'Twas a very good time. My father stayed there 50+ years ago, so I decided to pay a visit as well.

Philadelphia is one of my favorite cities. I've never had a bad time.

Pennsylvanians on the other hand.....I have a love/hate relationship with. On one hand, they fund my paycheck. On the other, there's 200,000+ of them driving around Ocean City on any day in the summer without a clue as to where they're going.

Having said that, I can't leave out the Baltimorons who do the same thing while "down the ocean, hun."

I think it's time for some Rittenhouse on ice to cool me off from a few hours of "surfing". When it's waist high, the term falls into quotation marks.

Is Rittenhouse the only Pennsylvania style rye? I really like it, as do others, I'm surprised there isn't more. Especially around these parts.

ErichPryde
06-14-2010, 02:41
Is Rittenhouse the only Pennsylvania style rye? I really like it, as do others, I'm surprised there isn't more. Especially around these parts.

Continental and Michter's would have been two of the major players in the Pennsylvania style of Rye, and they are both long gone. Your best bet is most likely to hunt down a bottle of Old Overholt from the early 80s, as it was another Pennsylvania rye at one point. It's a different style, but a good rye!

Rughi
06-14-2010, 09:16
Continental and Michter's would have been two of the major players in the Pennsylvania style of Rye, and they are both long gone. Your best bet is most likely to hunt down a bottle of Old Overholt from the early 80s, as it was another Pennsylvania rye at one point. It's a different style, but a good rye!

One of the most amazing things about Old Overholt is how consistent it's character has been over the past century. A few years ago some of us did a vertical from several different distilling eras (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?p=69378&highlight=overholt#post69378) (notable posts 22 & 23).

We also checked out Rittenhouse over time (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?p=103288#post103288) a while back (posts 51, 57, 58).

To the credit of American distillers, they kept the tradition of rye alive when it was unfashionable and very little was being sold and in my experience none of the many distillers who passed the torch along ever let the quality slip greatly. Good rye has been trickling out all along, if you could find it.

Roger