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View Full Version : Rye Shortage and Rye Resurgence



Shell
10-15-2012, 08:15
I think that we are starting to see an easing of the rye shortage, with producers bringing more and new ryes to the market. We are at the beginnings of a resurgence of the rye spirit. In the last 12-15 years or so, I've been unhappy with the rye shortage, as well as with the limited rye availability
here in my state, MI. (None of the High West ryes or Whistle Pig are available here in MI, or example.)

I just checked the most recent listing of straight ryes approved for sale by the MI Liquor Control Commission, showing >25 ryes. The number of new ryes in the listing include: Jefferson's Rye, Knob Creek Rye, George Dickel Rye, Colonel Taylor Rye, and Woodford Reserve Cask Rye (and this in a state somewhat more restrictive on spirit variety).

Shell

HighInTheMtns
10-15-2012, 09:53
NAS Knob Creek rye is >$40. WT101 rye just got replaced by 81 proof rye at the same price. Rittenhouse BIB is hard to find and getting more and more expensive.

Many of the new ryes being released are from LDI or from Canada. Jack Daniel's is releasing an unaged rye distillate. Taylor rye is a limited release. Baby Saz is hard to find.

The rye shortage will get better but as far as I can tell, it's still going strong.

cowdery
10-15-2012, 10:08
I wish we had some real numbers. My sense is that rye is still just a drop in bourbon's bucket, but all of the producers (large and small) are sold on this resurgence idea. What is true is that mixologists love it and that's important to producers, because they believe brands are made on-premise (i.e., in bars). If mixologists use and promote certain ryes, those products will have a leg up.

The branding situation is interesting. Most of the new ryes coming out are line extensions of existing bourbons rather than stand-alone brands: Knob Creek, Bulleit, even Jack and George. Part of me worries about consumers becoming confused, although rye and bourbon are so similar, it's probably not a problem. It's not like the person who buys a rye by accident is likely to find it undrinkable.

As for the shortage, if you just want a rye you can go to the store and find one, but you might still have trouble finding some particular ryes, such as Rittenhouse BIB, WT101, and Baby Saz.

I remain skeptical because the bandwagon effect that has published lots of articles doesn't necessarily translate into sales. Like I said, I wish we had some good numbers.

We may, by the way, have seen the last of the new LDI-based ryes for awhile. They simply don't have any stock older than about two years. They also want to get out of the spot whiskey business and do all of their business via contract production. Obviously, between Bulleit and Dickel, Diageo is claiming a pretty good chunk of their output. They can and probably are increasing production, but that will take a few years to work itself through the pipeline.

Personally, I'd like someone to combine the LDI rye with a more conventional 51% rye to give the LDI a bit more body. I may do that myself later today.

Shell
10-15-2012, 11:00
I wish we had some real numbers. ...

The branding situation is interesting. Most of the new ryes coming out are line extensions of existing bourbons rather than stand-alone brands: Knob Creek, Bulleit, even Jack and George. ...

As for the shortage, if you just want a rye you can go to the store and find one, but you might still have trouble finding some particular ryes, such as Rittenhouse BIB, WT101, and Baby Saz. ...

We may, by the way, have seen the last of the new LDI-based ryes for awhile. They simply don't have any stock older than about two years.... They can and probably are increasing production, but that will take a few years to work itself through the pipeline. ...

Chuck, You make very insightful points. A couple of questions come to mind:

Regarding numbers, does DISCUS report rye production or sales as a separate category? Are DISCUS' numbers less reliable because some producers don't participate, or another reason?

I understand that certain ryes are difficult to find and that LDI production will take time increase. Wouldn't you project that we'll see more new ryes coming out of the bourbon producers, from their in-house production?

Shell

HighInTheMtns
10-15-2012, 11:01
Personally, I'd like someone to combine the LDI rye with a more conventional 51% rye to give the LDI a bit more body. I may do that myself later today.
HW Double Rye, although the LDI is very young and probably makes up a bigger part of the vatting than what I think you are getting at.

White Dog
10-15-2012, 11:09
High West Rendezvous as well.

HighInTheMtns
10-15-2012, 11:09
High West has done that very thing with Rendezvous and Double-Rye.
The Barton rye in Rendezvous is 80% rye, 10% corn, 10% barley malt, not a typical 51ish percent rye.

White Dog
10-15-2012, 11:09
You're posting to fast for me.:grin:

sku
10-15-2012, 11:12
Out in California at least, Bulleit has really stepped into a void. I don't see Baby Saz or Rittenhouse anywhere, but Bulleit is everywhere at $20. Diageo was brilliant to step into the void at this point. My guess is that they'll quickly rise to the number 1 rye.

cowdery
10-15-2012, 11:12
Even the original Rendezvous was a mixture of LDI and something else, wasn't it? I'm also thinking something from a mainstream producer but, as I said, LDI has just about sold out of its well-aged rye, so it's probably not going to happen. As for percentages, I'd probably start with 50/50 and work back from there.

The Daniels product is interesting, or will be when it has some age on it, because it's like a typical bourbon recipe with the grains flipped, rye for corn, and lands between the 51% ryes and the 95%-100% ryes. Is 18% enough corn to make a difference? We'll have to wait and see. By making it themselves, Daniel's has made more of a commitment to rye than Diageo has, but then regular Dickel is the only American whiskey Diageo does make itself.

Bourbon Boiler
10-15-2012, 15:45
If you mix straight ryes from different states, is that a straight rye? Or is it like bourbon that it would have to be called "blend of straight ryes"?

sku
10-15-2012, 16:13
If you mix straight ryes from different states, is that a straight rye? Or is it like bourbon that it would have to be called "blend of straight ryes"?


Blend of straight ryes.

Bourbon Boiler
10-15-2012, 17:30
Thanks^. That's what I figured.

cowdery
10-15-2012, 19:06
To that end, I combined equal parts Bulleit Rye (95%) and Knob Creek Rye (51%), and saw that it was good. A nice balance of flavor and body. I suppose any 95% and any 51% will do, but those are the two I had handy.

Brisko
10-15-2012, 20:22
Bourbons work to, just use less. I like to use corny bourbons like HH bond to round out LDI ryes.