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View Full Version : Way to go Wade.



cowdery
11-17-2012, 12:19
I want to congratulate Wade and others for going after Wine Enthusiast Magazine and their writer, Kara Newman, for awarding Distiller of the Year to Michter's or, should I say, to the non-distiller producer that appropriated the Michter's name. Newman, in the comments section, even doubled down on the selection. I hate to call attention to something so thoroughly wrong, but you can find all of the awards, followed by the comments, here (http://www.winemag.com/Wine-Enthusiast-Magazine/Web-2012/Announcing-Wine-Enthusiasts-2012-Wine-Star-Award-Winners/). The specific article about Michter's is here (http://www.winemag.com/Wine-Enthusiast-Magazine/Web-2012/2012-Distiller-of-the-Year-Michters-Distillery/).

It's much more than this sham deserves to go through it chapter and verse, but I will mention that I did some checking about Willie Pratt, touted as Michter's Master Distiller and a former Brown-Forman employee. I'm told he's a very nice guy, generally well-liked, and he did work at Brown-Forman in a variety of capacities, but never as a distiller.

Another fact. The name "Michter's," a trademark Chatham simply re-registered following its abandonment by the previous owner, was coined sometime in the early 1950s as a brand name. The distillery in Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania, was only given the name in 1974, so only in a very strained sense does the 'story' of the Michter's distillery begin in 1753. That distillery closed in 1990, so it was only Michter's for 16 years.

The only awards Chatham/Michter's deserves are best performance by a fake distillery and most elaborate untrue backstory, two categories in which the competition is stiff.

This sort of thing offends me so strongly because it says that all the history of this proud industry is good for is as a framework for unscrupulous scammers to sell something. A person or a company that will lie to you about something will lie to you about anything. Why would you want to do business with a company like that? Personally, I won't.

Sadly, they could tell a good story, of themselves as a Pennsylvania company that decided to honor an historic Pennsylvania distillery. Instead they have perpetrated a hoax. Kudos to Wade and others for blowing the whistle on them.

compliance
11-17-2012, 12:31
You should post your response on their page Chuck. I have a feeling that comment section is just getting started. Should be a lot of fun!

MyOldKyDram
11-17-2012, 12:35
Pretty amazing that "professionals" can be so dense about all of this. And willfully so at that.

cowdery
11-17-2012, 12:38
I'm holding off commenting because Wade and others are doing such a good job.

humchan2k
11-17-2012, 12:51
I stand by my statement: calling Michter's the Distiller Of the Year is like Wine Mag giving the title of "Winemaker Of The Year" to Bartles & James cuz they make wine coolers.

Complete garbage on their part.

callmeox
11-17-2012, 12:57
Her doubling down sounds like a direct read of the marketing glossies.

"But he picks the mash bill and turns the knobby things on the still..."

PaulO
11-17-2012, 13:35
This is why I prefer to get my information about whiskey here, and not from wine magazines. :lol:

tanstaafl2
11-17-2012, 14:02
Probably just me but I can't find the comments, just the articles. Do you have to go to Facebook to see them? I am too much of a Luddite to bother with Facebook.

Although one thing that bothers me is that the industry seems to be at least partly at fault here. They are failing to police themselves (and maybe they don't want to, maybe they are collectively are fine with Michter's being recognized as "Distiller of the Year").

I recognize I am relatively uninformed about the industry as a whole and that others know far more than I ever will or even want to know. But why should bottlers even be allowed to call themselves a "distillery"? And if we go down that road there probably also needs to be someway to distinguish between companies that make a bit of gin, vodka or white whiskey but bottle aged whiskey from somewhere else and still try to pass them selves off as as the distiller.

Clearly it appears the "Guvmint" isn't going to do much if anything about it. Nor, in my opinion, should you really want them to do so. As a "Guvmint" employee I can honestly say the assessment that it could screw up a one car funeral is often being rather generous.

Seems to me this is something the industry as a whole should do. And yes, I know doing that is no where near as easy as it may sound either. But you gotta start somewhere, right?

ethangsmith
11-17-2012, 14:31
These people make my blood boil. I couldn't help but post a response:

Wow. Michter's shut down operations on Valentine's Day 1990. Master Distiller Dick Stoll took the phone call from the bank telling him to stop operations immediately. Thus ending production of Michter's whiskey products. Today, Michter's is a bulk whiskey simply purchased by a bunch of dudes and bottled in nifty little bottles. The real sham is that they even have a person labeled a Master Distiller. I'm sure Mr. Pratt is a cool dude, but you can't take the title of a job you don't hold- especially in this industry. It's really disheartening to see the Michter's name used by people that twist the truth about their company and the history of the Michter's name. The 1753 connection is not great at all here. Michter's was created by Louis Forman by combining the names of his two sons- Michael and Peter in about 1950. Michter's whiskey was itself a bulk whiskey originating from the Pennco or Continental Distilleries until 1974 when Pennco went bankrupt. At that time, Lou and several local businessmen bought the Pennco distillery, which had been in operation since 1753, and gave his Michter's whiskey a permanent home. The distillery received a makeover from white to brown paint, small pot stills were installed to educate the tourist, and the property was registered as a National Historic Landmark and Place. It operated until 1990 when the bank, saddled with the debts of the distillery, got tired of waiting for payments and shut it down. The link to "1753" died with the Michter's (Originally known as the Bomberger or Shenk Distillery) operation in Schaefferstown, PA. The current day Michter's IS NOT a distiller and DOES NOT have any connection to the original Pennsylvania operation.

AND, YES, A HUGE THANKS TO WADE FOR THE FIRST DEFENSE ON THIS HORRID ARTICLE!!!!!

wadewood
11-17-2012, 14:48
Appreciate the kudos; I'm not the only Sber commenting - timd and straightnochaser have also posted along with some others who also know when to call something BS.

We all know that for many years Michter's products came from KBD. And KBD bought bulk bourbon from anybody that would sell it to them. No way Willie Pratt or anybody from Micther's controlled those stills before that juice went to KBD. Even today, I'm 99.999% if Heaven Hill sells bulk whiskey to some anybody, they don't let that person come in and operate their stills. With NDA's I'm not going to prove this.

I'll give them one point of credit. They have left our posts up; I thought they would have wiped them out by now. I would encourage others to let them know what they think.

cowdery
11-17-2012, 14:59
The problem with trying to catalog all of the misrepresentation in Chatham's Michters storyline is that there are too many to count.

Pratt is a master distiller who has never worked as a distiller, and still isn't.

What happens with contract distilling is that a customer provides specifications, meets with the production team at the distillery, and may, if they wish, have a representive there during production to taste and test the output at each stage. I seriously doubt that Michter's has ever done even that much.

More likely is that they have simply purchased whatever was on offer.

Of course, it really doesn't matter what they say they do, because we know they don't tell the truth.

When you read the comments at WE (which is powered by Facebook) be sure to 'like' the good ones.

petrel800
11-17-2012, 16:11
In my opinion, Wine Enthusiast Mag is to wine what The Bourbon Review is to bourbon. When you compare their ratings to the likes of Robert Parker, Wine Spectator, and Steven Tanzer, it is almost laughable. My local specialty shop doesn't even use ratings even if they have a wine in stock they have rated. I don't think anyone here is going to compare the industry crap in The Bourbon Review to the quality of Hansell's Whiskey Advocate.

This story does little to change my personal perception of their magazine and opinions.

cowdery
11-17-2012, 16:16
I wondered about that. Thanks for the insight.

petrel800
11-17-2012, 16:28
Chuck, here is a smell test for you, which one of these web sites seem like a place for gathering solid news and information, and which do you think is trying to sell you crap . . .

http://www.winemag.com/
http://www.wineenthusiast.com/

http://www.winespectator.com/

https://www.erobertparker.com

Spectator and Parker's sites are dedicated to their ratings and information. Yes they are subscription services, but those services are the main focus points of their web sites. With Wine Enthusiast, the top of their page is dedicated to selling wine accessories and mail order wine. Hell to get to their website you have to go to winemag.com, not wineenthusiast.com.

Just my opinion, but I'm not a fan. Let's just say in my opinion, they give out a lot of 90s, which seems to be the marketing number to put on the tag to move wine. If GIA is the standard in the diamond business, in my opinion, WE gets to be the EGL certification.

cowdery
11-17-2012, 17:22
So what you're saying is, WE shilling for a fake distillery should surprise no one.

sutton
11-17-2012, 17:41
So what you're saying is, WE shilling for a fake distillery should surprise no one.

Yes, I'd agree with Petrel800's assessment of WE. They are all over the map and I'm never sure where they are coming from. While any reviewer's comments have to be taken in stride, once you calibrate your own palate with reviewers from Wine Spectator, Robert Parker, Tanzer, etc., you have a pretty consistent barometer on where your taste will come out relative to theirs. With Wine Enthusiast, it is all over the map, and whether wine or whiskey, I don't pay much attention to their reviews/articles.

Clavius
11-17-2012, 19:30
In my opinion, Wine Enthusiast Mag is to wine what The Bourbon Review is to bourbon.

Spot on! I'm ultimately not surprised that WE would give a fake distillery such an "honor."

cowdery
11-17-2012, 20:20
As much as I hate to give Michter's or Wine Enthusiast any publicity, I couldn't resist blogging about this (http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2012/11/how-can-non-distiller-be-distiller-of.html).

darylld911
11-18-2012, 07:15
Glad to see SB nation and others correcting the runaway stupidity. She probably ought to give Jack Daniels "Bourbon of the Year" because they sell more than the others :-P

cowdery
11-18-2012, 14:59
As I was reading the WE article, I started to formulate a response in my mind. When I got to the comments I was so delighted to see everyone who got there ahead of me. Kudos to all. Kara Newman and WE will learn not to mess with SB nation.

White Dog
11-18-2012, 20:36
Yes, I'd agree with Petrel800's assessment of WE. They are all over the map and I'm never sure where they are coming from. While any reviewer's comments have to be taken in stride, once you calibrate your own palate with reviewers from Wine Spectator, Robert Parker, Tanzer, etc., you have a pretty consistent barometer on where your taste will come out relative to theirs. With Wine Enthusiast, it is all over the map, and whether wine or whiskey, I don't pay much attention to their reviews/articles.

It's as all over the map due to the various reviewers, who actually seem to have more palate diversity than WS reviewers. Paul Gregutt, for instance, does the wines of the Pacific Northwest. He's probably the leading critic of that area, and as such, his reviews are mostly spot on. Steve Heimoff does California, and if you've ever read his blog, well, I'll be polite and just leave it at that. Kara is even worse, especially when she reviews Chocolate Vodka as a legitimate category. She's definitely one of their weakest voices.

Cheers to those who are calling her out.

tigerlam92
11-18-2012, 22:29
Thanks to all for taking the time to do this. Even if WE does not have any of the major credibility or reputation, many non-informed people will take it and consider what they say. Secondly, with the internet, people usually get some top hits and read that article never consider who is writing it.

--Hugh

Bourbon Boiler
11-19-2012, 20:26
I couldn't resist piling on over on that site.

MyOldKyDram
11-27-2012, 15:40
And now word that our illustrious distiller of the year is set to release a 20 yo 1B for FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS.

http://www.bonappetit.com/blogsandforums/blogs/bafoodist/2012/11/michters-single-barrel-bourbon.html

squire
11-27-2012, 15:42
Only one per customer I suppose?

ethangsmith
11-27-2012, 19:53
Perfectly timed for this booming economy we've got right now....

squire
11-28-2012, 07:00
Just the sort of investment for the kid's college fund.

sailor22
11-28-2012, 07:15
It would be so much easier and fun if what was in the $450 bottle was crap but the pisser is that's it's good Bourbon. Or at least the sample bottle we burned through in an evening was. Since they clearly are misleading about so much of their production I have to wonder if the sample was actually representative of what will be for sale. If it is I'm just upset that I can't afford more of it.

cowdery
11-28-2012, 11:35
Sailor22 has hit the crux of the matter. Someone who will lie to you about something will lie to you about anything and everything. If someone has lied to you about X but you believe them on Y, whose fault is that? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

That's why I try to limit the amount of energy I waste on outfits like Chatham/Michter's, and why I don't buy their products.

RVTsteve
11-30-2012, 14:26
Saw the 20yr on a local shelf for $435, over 3% off suggested retail!. first pm gets details. I'll be holding my breath.:22: