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View Full Version : Stitzer-Weller making bourbon again



ChainWhip
01-13-2013, 07:25
Saw this on the RSS feed this morning:

http://www.whiskyadvocateblog.com/2013/01/13/stitzel-weller-distillery-to-start-making-bourbon-again/



Very interesting to say the least!

MyOldKyDram
01-13-2013, 07:41
How long before we see new make Pappy at $100 a pop? :bigeyes:

BAO
01-13-2013, 07:42
Indeed. Can't wait to see the vintages they roll out and for the fruits of their labor another 15 years from now.

I would also like to add I hope their product is nothing like Bulleit.

ErikH
01-13-2013, 07:57
I wish they could go back to making Old Fitzgerald. I was lucky enough to sample a dusty of VOF from 1968, and it was very special indeed.

BFerguson
01-13-2013, 08:21
I wish them luck. I think we can be assured that it will never be the same as it was, and that they have some pretty big shoes to fill with the expectations.

They really better spend the time and resources to put out a top notch product if they want to be able to possibly continue the "hype" of what was done in the past.

Hopefully, the phoenix will arise from the ashes......

B

portwood
01-13-2013, 08:35
Purely a marketing exercise to take advantage of the current buzz of PVW bottles.

The spirit that will come off the stills will NOT be the same as what was previously distilled and the maturation will be different. Simply put - the whiskey will be "modern". Therefore, for economic reasons they would be better off starting an industrial type distillery from scratch. Diageo is known for being .... err ... efficient*, therefore, the only reason for re-starting up an old distillery is .... marketing/goodwill in a market (bourbon) where they have a very small footprint.

* Scotch fans know them more for closing old/inefficient single malt distilleries and opening supper efficient grain distilleries than bringing old distilleries back to life.

ebo
01-13-2013, 08:49
Too bad Ohio will never see any of it.

compliance
01-13-2013, 08:56
I woke up to the same thing in my RSS feeder. Felt like Christmas :). Very excited to see what kind of old stock they have to release still. Since they can't call it Pappy I might be able to get some.

portwood
01-13-2013, 09:11
Very excited to see what kind of old stock they have to release still. Since they can't call it Pappy I might be able to get some.

Diageo may not be able to use brand names owned by someone else. Also, if you look at Diageo owned closed Scotch distillery releases (Brora, Port Ellen), the price will not be as friendly as suggested retail prices for PVW! They have demonstrated a very good ability at managing old stock from closed distilleries ... if they have some, don't count on general availability and/or "affordable" prices.

portugieser
01-13-2013, 09:24
What amazing news for a Sunday morning. I wonder, though, how much work has been done on the facilities and whether old stills are being restored or replaced with similar designs. I know that the place had a big asbestos issue according to Preston Van Winkle and, given the capital investment involved, changes will be made to increase efficiency.

darylld911
01-13-2013, 09:25
Looking forward (in how many years?? Long time, right?) to see what comes from this, but not anticipating anything like vintage SW juice. Agree that this will mainly be a marketing ploy - and hope it doesn't taste anything like Bulleit (not bashing Bulleit, but not my cup of tea - er, bourbon).

HP12
01-13-2013, 09:39
Looking forward (in how many years?? Long time, right?) to see what comes from this, but not anticipating anything like vintage SW juice. Agree that this will mainly be a marketing ploy - and hope it doesn't taste anything like Bulleit (not bashing Bulleit, but not my cup of tea - er, bourbon).

I tend to agree. With the increased use of GM corn, future expressions of SW will likely fall short of past production quality and popularity.

darylld911
01-13-2013, 10:04
I tend to agree. With the increased use of GM corn, future expressions of SW will likely fall short of past production quality and popularity.

I didn't even think about the changes of corn - great point!

I was thinking along the lines of it not being run by the same people, or in the same way. As others mentioned, big corporations think long and hard about efficiency, and don't recognize that you can engineer the quality OUT of something if you're not careful. Back in Scotland, if a still had a ding or dent in it, when it was time to replace it they would try to replicate that imperfection - just to retain as much of the original characteristic as possible.

Which isn't to say that Diageo doesn't know the business - but that when I think of my favorite whiskies (or even distilleries), Diageo isn't in the picture (outside of maybe Caol Ila or Lagavulin, although I believe those were operating when acquired, and hopefully not messed with much since).

Tennessee Dave
01-13-2013, 10:08
Good news but I fear the magic of SW is gone forever.

portwood
01-13-2013, 10:17
Back in Scotland, if a still had a ding or dent in it, when it was time to replace it they would try to replicate that imperfection - just to retain as much of the original characteristic as possible.
Even when new stills are replicated right down to the dings and dents, the spirit can still be different. Don't forget that it is commonly recognized that >50% of the flavour is imparted by the wood. So, even if they manage to distill the same spirit, there is no guarantee the matured whiskey will be the same!

tanstaafl2
01-13-2013, 10:31
Even when new stills are replicated right down to the dings and dents, the spirit can still be different. Don't forget that it is commonly recognized that >50% of the flavour is imparted by the wood. So, even if they manage to distill the same spirit, there is no guarantee the matured whiskey will be the same!

Indeed. Might well be better! Unlikely perhaps but you never know. Well, at least not for 8 or 10 years anyway...

compliance
01-13-2013, 11:06
All the tempered expectations in this thread are getting me down. Can't we at least celebrate for one day? Isn't this what we are always asking for? One of the great American distilleries is getting resurrected! This is nothing less than great news! Disappointment in their new product can come later.

Bourbon Boiler
01-13-2013, 11:29
I'm excited in that there will be another whiskey out there with seemingly a new taste profile from a company with enough $$ to ensure sustainability. However, using the S-W name to me is only borrowing a label from the past, I don't see a strong connection that translates inside the bottle.

ebo
01-13-2013, 11:37
All the tempered expectations in this thread are getting me down. Can't we at least celebrate for one day? Isn't this what we are always asking for? One of the great American distilleries is getting resurrected! This is nothing less than great news! Disappointment in their new product can come later.

You're right. It is good news that a great American distillery is being brought back from the dead. I'll just have to mail order some whiskey from them when the time comes. :cool:

Ejmharris
01-13-2013, 11:42
Lots of speculation. I will reserve judgement (good or bad) until a product is on the shelves.


Mike

squire
01-13-2013, 11:57
I'll take it as good news an American Bourbon distillery is being brought back into production. Just that and no more at this time.

ChainWhip
01-13-2013, 12:31
I'll reserve judgement until I'm able to sip on the goods - the proof is in the pudding so to speak. In the meantime, I am very excited for American whiskey that a storied distillery like SW is being resurrected and hopefully Diageo will be faithful caretakers of that legacy.

squire
01-13-2013, 12:52
Would be a treat though if they kept the original stills.

Old Lamplighter
01-13-2013, 13:02
I'll take it as good news an American Bourbon distillery is being brought back into production. Just that and no more at this time.

I agree with your reaction & sentiment. We'll await patiently & certainly hope for the best.

Tony
01-13-2013, 13:12
Great news, good to see.

Best regards, tony

UncleJohnsBarrel
01-13-2013, 13:17
What great news to wake up to on a Sunday morning. I'll echo what others have said, that this is exciting news but that ultimately judgement is reserved for the first pour of the new SW juice x years from now.

One question I have now, given the nature of whiskey aging, is whether they are distilling new juice to be aged and released in 2015/2016 and beyond or if they are going to follow what I have heard happened with Jefferson Presidential in the last few years where they took some of the SW stock and mixed it with other wheated bourbon like Bernheim to make up for stock shortages. That said, I don't think if they are going for a wheated profile they would be able to use Bulliet (FR) stock so it begs the questions of where they could get stock to mix in with new SW juice (that is if you assume they keep SW as a wheated bourbon like its famous for and not change the mashbill around).

Either way, exciting news that will start lots of conversations about whiskey in 2013.

Cigar Dan
01-13-2013, 17:36
I am going to hope for the best. As for them being able to replicate past products, I am less concerned with possible use of GM corn than if the yeasts from back when are known and available.


Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2

squire
01-13-2013, 17:51
I doubt GM corn makes any difference at all but I doubt the chemists will use Pappy's distilling principles.

jburlowski
01-13-2013, 17:58
Would be a treat though if they kept the original stills.

When I toured the distillery a while back, we were told (by the security guard) that the original still was in place and in good shape. We didn't get a chance to see for ourselves.

From the outside, the physical plant looked in rough shape (see the pictures I posted here). Given the age of the facility I suspect (as others have also said) that asbestos abatement will be a major issue.

It is good news that a major distillery will be brought back into production.

However, whatever they produce will likely not be comparable to the old SW juice. And, I'm guessing, any aged stock they have in the riskhouses is either: 1) over-aged and awful SW distillate; or 2) Bulleit (e.g., 4R) barrels.

cowdery
01-13-2013, 18:40
I agree that this is good news, but caution that we know almost nothing at this point. Will they use any of the original equipment? Will they make wheated bourbon? When will production begin? We have no idea. Remember, Diageo owns none of the brands that used to be made there. They probably can't even use the name Stitzel-Weller as a brand. If they do make wheated bourbon, they'll be starting from scratch with a new brand.

Will they make Bulleit there? Seems reasonable, but we just don't know. Will they bring I. W. Harper back to the U.S.? Maybe, but it was never made at Stitzel-Weller. They have already invested a significant amount to make the old office building The Bulleit Bourbon Expeience. That suggests Bulleit will be the main emphasis of whatever they do there.

So we can speculate, we can guess, but we have almost no facts. And regardless of the plan, it will be years before any bourbon made there is ready to sell.

We do know one thing, though. They have a master distiller. Last year, John Lunn added responsibility for operations as Stitzel-Weller to his job as George Dickel master distiller. He told me in October that they do both maturation and blending there for various Diageo brands. It didn't seem very important at the time, but now?


And speaking of RSS feeds, Aaron Swartz, who wrote an early version of RSS, committed suicide yesterday.

Lazer
01-13-2013, 19:21
Say what you want about big business cutting corners and ruining things, they also have deep pockets and can get things done that smaller companies can't. Like bring dead distilleries back to life and add age statements (Bulleit10) when others are dropping theirs. GD no.12 is a great product, no reason that they can't make good bourbon here. But yes, its true, the proof is in the first taste which will hopefully not be before 2017.

cowdery
01-13-2013, 20:10
Agreed. I just suggest we keep our powder dry until we have a better idea what they actually plan to do.

mark fleetwood
01-13-2013, 20:12
Well this otta drive the price of Pappy down. ;-)

weller_tex
01-14-2013, 08:28
Well this otta drive the price of Pappy down. ;-)

Given the history of Diageo I can't believe they will reuse anything. They'll modernize everything, and make it as efficient as possible. Try as they might BT does make anything that tastes like SW juice..maybe they aren't trying I don't know, but I see no reason to think that Diageo can. I just hate to see perfectly good buildings falling into ruin..and just for that fact, that it will be in use, it's a good thing.

qman22
01-14-2013, 11:06
I'm excited by this news, but I just have a feeling they aren't going to make wheated bourbon there... only Bulleit. My instinct is often wrong though, so hopefully it's wrong again

squire
01-14-2013, 14:31
If they want to turn it into Bulleit headquarters that's fine with me, the fact they're sitting on old stock means there may be some other age stated offerings.

Josh
01-14-2013, 17:31
Does anybody know for sure that the "mature stocks" are actually S-W wheated bourbon?

squire
01-14-2013, 18:47
If so it would be a minimum of 20 years ago.

cowdery
01-14-2013, 19:41
Presumably it's more of the stuff Jefferson's tapped into, which is the stuff Diageo had been holding for use in Crown Royal. Why they decided not to use it in Crown we don't know, but it probably wasn't because it tasted too good.

HP12
01-14-2013, 19:42
I don't know...bump me in 10 years and we'll see what's up.

doubleblank
01-15-2013, 10:35
Does anybody know for sure that the "mature stocks" are actually S-W wheated bourbon?

Depends on what you want to define as S-W wheated bourbon. The stocks I have seen in the past were "Old Fitzgerald", from both DSP 16 and DSP 113. At that time is was being blended into Crown as Chuck stated above. About 5 years ago early conversations with a Diageo Exec were promising regarding getting some of these old stocks released for others to barrel as single barrels. Didn't go anywhere at the time but as we know now, other bottlers have gotten access to some of this stock.

Josh
01-15-2013, 18:06
Depends on what you want to define as S-W wheated bourbon. The stocks I have seen in the past were "Old Fitzgerald", from both DSP 16 and DSP 113. At that time is was being blended into Crown as Chuck stated above. About 5 years ago early conversations with a Diageo Exec were promising regarding getting some of these old stocks released for others to barrel as single barrels. Didn't go anywhere at the time but as we know now, other bottlers have gotten access to some of this stock.

That was exactly what I was getting at. Probably Bernheim wheated bourbon there too, and who knows what else Diageo may have sitting around. And even if it is genuine S-W wheater , as Chuck said, there's a good chance it's not all that good.

cowdery
01-15-2013, 18:54
I believe Zoeller mentioned, when he did the Jefferson's, that there was "more where that came from." I'm just very wary of any 20+ year old bourbon, especially when it hasn't been babied to get it to that age without over-wooding. I'm much more interested in what Diageo actually plans to do at SW, distilling-wise.