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View Full Version : what if a microdistiller made something that was really good.



tmckenzie
03-19-2013, 04:52
I expect to see a lot of micro in the next 5 years fold. They have too, too much bad stuff out there. I have tried a few good ones, Dads Hat rye, is outstanding stuff, had a bottle last week. Balcones does a good job. But if a micro should make whiskey that was close in flavor to what S-W made, would it sell to the general public? Or just enthusiasts like ourselves.

squire
03-19-2013, 06:00
It would sell Tom, good whisky always does, the problem is keeping the business going for 6-8 years while waiting for the whisky to mature. Of course you know about that, I just make the comment for our general interest readers.

I think the market is ready for quality distilled beverages whether they be whisky, rum, brandy, aquavit, vodka, but forget the fancy bottles and made up hype about secret family recipes and that sort of thing. In today's age of instant communications a quality product will become known and if it sells at a decent price will find a buyer, make it and they will come.

omgmarclol
03-19-2013, 07:59
agreed. most of us here who've been drinking bourbon, or any spirit for that matter, have moved beyond marketing and hype. we can look at history and track record, but if you put out a good product, it will be bought regardless if the brand is established or up and coming.

VAGentleman
03-19-2013, 08:16
Being a micro, if it was really good I think the enthusiasts would snap it up and then the hype would kick in and it would be very hard for the general public to get any. Micro by definition having a very small output.

It could also depend on the region its in as well, cases in point being Garrison Brothers and Wyoming Whiskey. They are basically selling out everything they have right now. If they ever put out some amazing stuff it'd be almost impossible to get any.

sailor22
03-19-2013, 08:17
I don't think the micro would have trouble selling a S-W replica and at the moment at least there are probably enough enthusiasts to soak up all the production of a micro distiller who produced that unicorn. Providing distribution could be handled on the net and was national in scope.

But wasn't the best of the SW juice was at least 8yrs old and typically in the 15yr range? Hard to reproduce that in just a few years even given identical white dog.

Tom, do you think the majority of the micros are attempting to make what the big producers are making only better? Wouldn't the more productive route be to make something different but delicious in it's own right? Otherwise it's just a "me too" product and faces some serious headwind in the market. I have the feeling that the "similar but different" tack is what High West, Corsair and Balcones is doing.

BTW - I had a chance to taste some of your juice last week and thought it was delicious. Thanks.

Yeti
03-19-2013, 08:34
I think High West will do very well switching over to their own aged distillate. They've got a pretty big footprint for such a small operation. And Balcones is definitely doing something different, in a very good way. They've got hype and a great start with their young whiskey. As it gets into to the 6-10 year old window I think the tastemakers are going to push it to the moon. I personally can't wait for a 12 year old Balcones Texas Single Malt.

In my back yard, Smooth Ambler gets a lot of praise for their Yearling whiskey, and while I really want them to do well and support them through the various Old Scout labels, I've not been impressed with the Yearling. At less than 2 years old it's impossible to tell exactly how it will taste at 6, but I'm not on board yet. Their goal for the "official" Smooth Ambler Bourbon is something in the wheelhouse of MM or WSR, a higher proof wheater around 6 years old. So, we'll see how it develops in the next few years.

squire
03-19-2013, 09:00
One of the reasons Pappy choose to continue with wheat recipe Bourbons is they reached maturity faster and immediately following Prohibition the majors were playing catchup. The market helped shape the product and Stitzel-Weller eventually became known for 100 proof BIBs in the 8-12 year range.

Could a micro replicate that profile? Certainly, but not with a 2 year old expression, or a 3-4-5 year for that matter. What a micro can do is make something with a flavor profile outside of what the majors provide. The grocery store will always sell white bread but the small baker makes the french style loaf I prefer.

michaelturtle1
03-19-2013, 09:23
I have had the pleasure to taste a wheated bourbon that tmckenzie made, barreled and aged the proper way. It has a profile unlike any bourbon on the market today, I have to break in to the dusty closet to get a profile close to what he made. Given the popularity of dusties, I think it will be a seller in the enthusiast market, which generally creates a buzz about a product which in turn causes the casual drinker to take notice. I usually stray away from the micros as you never know what you will get, unless it is "found" product like the Smooth Ambler and HW stuff. I am looking forward to trying HW juice once it is properly aged as they seem like a place that will do it "right".

omgmarclol
03-19-2013, 09:24
that's one of the reasons i'm enjoying what corsair, balcones, and big bottom are putting out. they're putting out such interesting interpretations.

squire
03-19-2013, 09:29
I'm interested in something with 'butterscotch' notes found in some of the old National Distillers products (Old Taylor) that I believe McKenzie is also working on.

wadewood
03-19-2013, 09:29
[QUOTE=tmckenzie;330471 But if a micro should make whiskey that was close in flavor to what S-W made, would it sell to the general public? Or just enthusiasts like ourselves.[/QUOTE]

http://www.frdistilling.com/ - These guys in Ft. Worth, TX might come close to a SW profile. If you believe their website info on their Straight Bourbon, they are using roller mills, it's a wheated recipe, and they are aging in standard 53 gallon barrels. They started filling barrels March 2012, so who knows when it will truly be ready. I'd like to see it age 6 years, but figure they will sell it much sooner to make some money.

While we want to see a micro produce a 8-12 year old product, I doubt we see much of this. The craft moment started in earnest what maybe 5-6 years ago? How many barrels do you think they held onto this long? Maybe a few for a special product, but if so, the release will be mostly for marketing purposes.

sailor22
03-19-2013, 10:16
I'm interested in something with 'butterscotch' notes found in some of the old National Distillers products (Old Taylor) that I believe McKenzie is also working on.

I am partial to some chocolate notes that turn up in older juice from time to time - surprisingly, some Old Crow from the late sixties. Jim Rutledge opined that chocolate turned up in their barrels from time to time but that it was unpredictable.

squire
03-19-2013, 10:23
Wonder if they would take an advance purchase reservation on a chocolate barrel.

sailor22
03-19-2013, 10:27
That's a lovely thought Squire.

Josh
03-19-2013, 11:20
If I were a rich man, I would wait for a micros to fail and buy up all their stock and just let it age in my garage for 10+ years. If I didn't like it by then, I'd bottle and sell it at inflated prices in fancy bottles.

Kalessin
03-19-2013, 11:46
Well, one of my local microdistillers does make something awesome: Berkshire Mountain Distillery's "Greylock Gin" and the various one-off "Ethereal Gin" recipes.

Really good gin. I've bought a number of bottles, and will continue to do so.

However, I haven't yet bought their bourbon, as I've been drinking many others in the $40 price range. I'm just not feeling compelled yet; I wish they had a 375 or smaller bottle so I could sample it and see if I like it, but like most other micros, they seem to be only bottling in 750s.

squire
03-19-2013, 11:55
I think the micros could make a smashing gin.

Josh
03-19-2013, 12:25
I think the micros could make a smashing gin.

Many of them do make very good gins. New Holland, Corsair, Death's Door and Rogue all make very good gins.

ThirstyinOhio
03-19-2013, 12:31
Many of them do make very good gins. New Holland, Corsair, Death's Door and Rogue all make very good gins.

I would like to add Watershed to the list of those with excellent gin. Their 4 peel and barrel aged are very good products, their bourbon can still use some work but they are showing the most promise out of the Ohio distilleries so far.

Lazer
03-19-2013, 12:41
If I were a rich man, I would wait for a micros to fail and buy up all their stock and just let it age in my garage for 10+ years. If I didn't like it by then, I'd bottle and sell it at inflated prices in fancy bottles.
You may not be rich, but you're very smart. :cool:

To answer the O.P.: if you want to sell whiskey, you have to be a good salesman. That's not the same as being able to make good whiskey. Just take a look back three or four years. Lots of great whiskey on the shelf and nobody buying it but us... some of us.

sailor22
03-19-2013, 12:43
If I were a rich man, I would wait for a micros to fail and buy up all their stock and just let it age in my garage for 10+ years. If I didn't like it by then, I'd bottle and sell it at inflated prices in fancy bottles.

Something like that is what I anticipate will happen with a lot of them. Since many are producing something different than they typical Bourbon I can see some majors or middle size distilleries buying stocks that might come into play in vattings or mingelings with more mainstream products.

Maybe well be seeing "Silent Micro's Tastings" someday.

OscarV
03-19-2013, 12:45
It'll never hapen (answer to thread's question) because the micro distillers want money now and will never age anything.

squire
03-19-2013, 12:56
I wouldn't say they will never age anything Oscar but I can see why most won't.

Yeti
03-19-2013, 13:10
I think the micros could make a smashing gin.

I'm not a gin drinker, but I'll make another recommendation for Smooth Ambler. Their Barrel Aged Gin was very good to my uneducated gin palate. Aged 3 months in half new white oak and half used Old Scout barrels, bottled at 99 proof.

omgmarclol
03-19-2013, 14:02
Well, one of my local microdistillers does make something awesome: Berkshire Mountain Distillery's "Greylock Gin" and the various one-off "Ethereal Gin" recipes.

Really good gin. I've bought a number of bottles, and will continue to do so.



i've enjoyed all of the ethereal batches except batch 5 (purple label) which tasted like gin and perfume, but berkshire mountain's gin line is excellent.

callmeox
03-19-2013, 15:24
It'll never hapen (answer to thread's question) because the micro distillers want money now and will never age anything.

Never is an awfully long time, O.

silverfish
03-19-2013, 20:50
I have had the pleasure to taste a wheated bourbon that tmckenzie made, barreled and aged the proper way. It has a profile unlike any bourbon on the market today, I have to break in to the dusty closet to get a profile close to what he made.

I have tasted the McKenzie wheated as well and am looking forward to
an official release. I hope they are laying down a bunch of this stuff -
based on the sample I tried, it's gonna be something I'll wanna stock
up on. I'm glad they are in NY so perhaps availability will be in my favor.

tmckenzie
03-20-2013, 03:55
It'll never hapen (answer to thread's question) because the micro distillers want money now and will never age anything. It is happening, but only a few will do it.

tmckenzie
03-20-2013, 03:57
I have tasted the McKenzie wheated as well and am looking forward to
an official release. I hope they are laying down a bunch of this stuff -
based on the sample I tried, it's gonna be something I'll wanna stock
up on. I'm glad they are in NY so perhaps availability will be in my favor.
There will be some released this year. Probably be single barrel and barrel proof. The latest sample michealturtle got was what will be released. It is amazing stuff.

shoshani
03-20-2013, 07:01
http://www.frdistilling.com/ - These guys in Ft. Worth, TX might come close to a SW profile. If you believe their website info on their Straight Bourbon, they are using roller mills, it's a wheated recipe, and they are aging in standard 53 gallon barrels. They started filling barrels March 2012, so who knows when it will truly be ready. I'd like to see it age 6 years, but figure they will sell it much sooner to make some money.

Their website seems to go into loving graphic detail in every area except one: it has no mention at all of backset, that I could find. Are they making a sweet mash whiskey?

squire
03-20-2013, 07:34
I like their approach, a quality blend rather than the usual white goods, can anybody report on this?

VAGentleman
03-20-2013, 08:28
Here's a thread on FR from last summer

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?18024-quot-Whiskey-Made-in-Fort-Worth-Sells-Fast-quot/page2&highlight=firestone

wadewood
03-20-2013, 09:30
I like their approach, a quality blend rather than the usual white goods, can anybody report on this?

I've been told F&R TX whiskey is a blend of bourbon and American whiskey (distilled to a higher proof than bourbon aged in used bourbon barrels). Also that for the straight bourbon they are producing, they currently are using a sweet mash process.

squire
03-20-2013, 09:55
Unfortunately our prior discussions, while certainly thoughtful, are not very disclosive of the actual product put out by F&R. I would think that blends (blands?) are of limited interest to members of a Straight Bourbon Board yet I believe there is room for a producer to come out with an expression made with more thought than the usual GNS based stuff on the market today.

p_elliott
03-22-2013, 10:20
If a micro distiller made something that was really good it would probably cost $150

p_elliott
03-22-2013, 10:30
I remember watching Whiskey on A&E and they were talking about Stranahan's. They had the guy from Brandy Library in NYC judge it and he gave it high marks. I couldn't give the shit away at two SB.com gatherings.

Dolph Lundgren
03-22-2013, 10:53
I remember watching Whiskey on A&E and they were talking about Stranahan's. They had the guy from Brandy Library in NYC judge it and he gave it high marks. I couldn't give the shit away at two SB.com gatherings.

I feel like a lot of reviewers overhype the craft distillers. It's artisinal; blood, sweat, tears, and (sometimes) life savings went into production; David vs. Goliath; etc... It's easy to see why reviewers romanticize these guys and get behind what they're doing. On top of that, I think a lot of reviewers want to draw parallels with the craft brewing movement, which has taken over the beer world.

But, at the end of the day, the stuff the craft guys produce just doesn't compete with the big dogs. I've had Balcones, Leopold, Koval, and others, and almost all of them were priced $40+. Its just not worth it.


High West and Willett are the exception here.

squire
03-22-2013, 10:55
NYC huh? That's a long way to travel to find someone who likes the stuff.

squire
03-22-2013, 10:58
Dolph, for the most part I agree with what you posted. For the record though I think we should point out that both High West and Willet are selling whisky made by somebody else.

p_elliott
03-22-2013, 11:18
Dolph, for the most part I agree with what you posted. For the record though I think we should point out that both High West and Willet are selling whisky made by somebody else.

Ya Thunk? ,,,,,,,

tmckenzie
03-24-2013, 09:39
If a micro distiller made something that was really good it would probably cost $150

ank
some of them try to rip people off in general, we keep our products priced so somebody can enjoy it and not break the bank.

Alden
03-24-2013, 10:45
We have a new micro here, in Winter Park, FL. They bill their product as "young whiskey" and last year, when I sampled some, it tasted like vodka.

I should get a bottle now and see if it's any better. It's affordable.

http://www.wpdistilling.com/

squire
03-24-2013, 12:06
Their web site implies they distill their own rum, do you know if that's true?

Alden
03-24-2013, 14:11
Their web site implies they distill their own rum, do you know if that's true?

I would assume so. Why?

brettckeen
03-24-2013, 16:58
Prichard's Double Chocolate Bourbon I enjoy from time to time. Koval's Bourbon using Millet as the 2nd grain is young but the sweetness of the corn is beautiful and shines through and is a delightful sip.

Dolph Lundgren
03-25-2013, 05:55
Dolph, for the most part I agree with what you posted. For the record though I think we should point out that both High West and Willet are selling whisky made by somebody else.

Fo shizzle. I just like to throw those two guys into the equation because they are now distilling and I think their method (sourcing until they're able to produce) is more effective than other craft distillers (putting out young products, small barrels, etc.).

WsmataU
03-30-2013, 07:02
If a micro distiller made something that was really good it would probably cost $150

My thought exactly...I know Charbay whiskey is supposed to be stellar but the $300 entry fee keeps me at bay.

WhiskyRI
06-12-2013, 10:07
I think time will solve this problem - Many of the distiller's are already doing interesting things with Gins (once a sleepy category) - Berkshire Mountain's Barrel-aged gin is very, very tasty. Roughstock Whisky from Montana is making some good stuff, and not some not-so-good stuff. It's not all bourbon yet - but it is whiskey. As I've said elsewhere Balcones is making some great whiskies - and they've finally released a bourbon (which I've yet to taste).

As the Craft distiller's sales networks, customer bases and distribution networks grow in size they'll soon be in a position to lay down and eventually release older stock (at least the successful ones). While their prices may seem high now on a comparable quality basis, I think in 5 years time, maybe sooner, there'll a lot of people hunting for dusties from these very same distiller’s. And given the low numbers of cases being released it’ll be much harder and far more regional.

I could be wrong, it’s happened before I’m told, I just can’t remember when it was…..

wadewood
06-13-2013, 06:26
I think in 5 years time, maybe sooner, there'll a lot of people hunting for dusties from these very same distillerís. And given the low numbers of cases being released itíll be much harder and far more regional.

I disagree. The mantra for the craft distillers is if you don't like our whiskey now, try the next batch, it's getting better. And that statement is the truth for most of these distillers. So why would dusty hunters want these early releases that were not that great? The exception is maybe it's a 1st release from the distillery and collected as a commemorative bottle.

sailor22
06-13-2013, 06:43
My thought exactly...I know Charbay whiskey is supposed to be stellar but the $300 entry fee keeps me at bay.

Charbray also makes a whiskey that retails for under $60. I enjoyed a few pour last weekend and thought it was very good.

Balcones Winston
06-13-2013, 11:23
Oh boy, where to start with this thread :)

cbus
06-14-2013, 18:12
I would like to add Watershed to the list of those with excellent gin. Their 4 peel and barrel aged are very good products, their bourbon can still use some work but they are showing the most promise out of the Ohio distilleries so far.

Middle West Spirits and Toms Foolery seem to be moving along quite well also.