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cowdery
02-19-2007, 03:12
It looks like Pernod has managed to unload its Lawrenceburg, Indiana, distillery and related facilities, which it perviously announced it was going to close.

Someone probably will post the whole thing in Industry News, but here are the parts we care about.

Pernod moved Wild Turkey bottling from the distillery site outside Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, to the Lawrenceburg, Indiana, facility a couple of years ago and now will move it again, to the Fort Smith, Arkansas, plant that is principally known for making Hiram Walker liqueurs.

The 177-acre Indiana site includes "what is believed to be the nation's largest whiskey distillery." (Yes, the press releases specifically say "whiskey.") The complex also includes a bottling operation and warehouses, plus a grain elevator in Rushville.

The only other bidder in the final round was Sazerac, i.e., Buffalo Trace.

The buyer is CL Financial, parent company of Angostura, which is based in Trinidad. It makes Angostura bitters and some rums and vodkas. CL Financial also owns Burn Stewart Distillers, maker of Bunnahabhain single-malt and Thomas Hine cognacs.

What is not clear is exactly what the Lawrenceburg distillery (as opposed to the bottling operation) makes now and what Angostura intends to make there. At one time, and perhaps still, Lawrenceburg, Indiana, made the corn whiskey and bourbon-mash green whiskey that went into Seagram's Seven, but not the straight bourbon component, which came from Four Roses in the Kentucky Lawrenceburg. It also blended and bottled the product there, but Seagram's Seven went to Diageo, not Pernod.

Seagram's Gin is a Pernod brand, a big one, and some news stories mention it as being "made" at Lawrenceburg, IN. Maybe it is -- it's hard to know exactly what they mean by "made" with a gin -- but at any event it's not a whiskey, although it is "mellowed" in used barrels for about three months, which may account for some of the warehouses.

The news stories say Seagram's Gin will continue to be made there, but its bottling will shift to Fort Smith too.

The press releases from the two companies make it clear that CL feels it is acquiring a whiskey distillery. Quote: "(CL Chairman) Duprey added that the planned asset acquisition of one of the largest American whiskey distilleries significantly adds to his firm’s international spirits portfolio and overall prowess in the market."

Another shoe is undoubtedly going to drop.

OscarV
02-19-2007, 13:44
Another shoe is undoubtedly going to drop.

So what do you mean by that?
Do you think this new company will make bourbon, or expand their other spirits' production there?

BTW, I was at the Wild Turkey distillery in April of last year and the tour guide told us then that they were going to start bottling in Arkansas. I don't understand how it is cost effect to ship barrels or dumped barrels that far away to bottle them.

cowdery
02-19-2007, 20:01
What I mean is that I can't really figure out a good explanation for what Angostura is going to do with this plant. They can make bourbon there, they can make straight bourbon there, but they can't make Kentucky Straight Bourbon there because it isn't in Kentucky, and I think that matters to a lot of people.

They also don't have any American whiskey brands. Are they going to start some, buy some? One possibility is that they have seen an opportunity in the bulk whiskey business, which I think does exist, but that gets back to the first point. Aren't you hobbling yourself by buying a distillery that is not in Kentucky?

As for the economies of transporting a semi-finished product to another facility for additional work, it goes on all the time in a lot of businesses and I'm sure it's a complicated calculation. I'm sure they crunched the numbers and decided this would be more profitable.

Nice little town, Fort Smith.

Hedmans Brorsa
02-21-2007, 09:13
What is not clear is exactly what the Lawrenceburg distillery (as opposed to the bottling operation) makes now

Isnīt Sam Cougar distilled in Lawrenceburg?

HighTower
02-21-2007, 12:57
Yes, it does say L'burg on the label.

Scott

cowdery
02-21-2007, 16:04
Is it a blend? My information is that they don't make any straight whiskey there but they do mix up blends using straight whiskey from Four Roses and blending (i.e., unaged) whiskey and GNS made at the Indiana plant. Since the label typically only tells you where bottled, that would be consistent.

Could someone look at a recent Wild Turkey label and see what it says? Does it still say Lawrenceburg, Kentucky only? It will be weird if Wild Turkey labels say "Fort Smith, Arkansas."

ThomasH
02-21-2007, 21:49
I did a little calculating using mapquest today. The trip from Lawrenceburg, Ky to Lawrenceburg, IN is 117 miles and a little over 2 hours. The trip from Lawrenceburg, KY to Ft. Smith, AR is 692 miles and 10+ hours. I think maybe someone may have goofed in there cost calculations. The wages of the people driving the tankers alone would be astronomical. If they are paid by the hour, every trip would end up costing 2 hours of overtime one way. WT should have just updated the bottling line in Lawrenceburg,KY and left it alone. I can't believe this won't cause the price of a bottle of WT to go up!

Thomas

Hedmans Brorsa
02-22-2007, 01:43
Is it a blend? My information is that they don't make any straight whiskey there but they do mix up blends using straight whiskey from Four Roses and blending (i.e., unaged) whiskey and GNS made at the Indiana plant.

Iīve only ever managed to find one bottle of Sam Cougar Black. On the label it claims to be "Authentic Kentucky style bourbon whiskey".

They donīt use the words 'distilled' or 'bottled'. What it says is "produced by Cougar Distilling Co, Lawrenceburg, Indiana".

Maybe Scott or any of the other Aussies here have a more recent bottle. I have a suspicion that mine is relatively old.

HighTower
02-22-2007, 03:47
I´ve only ever managed to find one bottle of Sam Cougar Black. On the label it claims to be "Authentic Kentucky style bourbon whiskey".

They don´t use the words 'distilled' or 'bottled'. What it says is "produced by Cougar Distilling Co, Lawrenceburg, Indiana".

Maybe Scott or any of the other Aussies here have a more recent bottle. I have a suspicion that mine is relatively old.
Too right, you do have an old bottle, it has not been called "Sam Cougar" for some time now, it is simply just "Cougar" Bourbon now. I have a regular bottle of Cougar (current bottle), and the XS (Extra Strength), older label. They both say "Produced by Cougar Distilling Co., Lawrenceburg, USA. On the run of the mill bottle, it says "From the makers of fine Bourbon Whiskey since 1865".

Check out http://www.fosters.com.au/enjoy/spiritscider/cougar_bourbon.htm
for the current bottle.

Scott

Hedmans Brorsa
02-22-2007, 12:07
Check out http://www.fosters.com.au/enjoy/spiritscider/cougar_bourbon.htm
for the current bottle.

Scott

Thanks for this! Iīve never seen a picture of the new bottles.Interesting that it carries a 5yo tag. Mine does not state any age.

I wouldīve posted a pic of my bottle, but I realize now that my camera is at my office.

It would be interesting to know what the phrasing "Authentic Kentucky style bourbon whiskey" implies. The way I interpret it, it is a straight whiskey but not produced in Kentucky, therefore the (somewhat desperate) "Kentucky style" billing.

And if it is a blend, mustnīt the word 'blend' or 'blended' be written somewhere on the label?

HighTower
02-22-2007, 13:15
From what I understand, yes. We do have a few of those here. And they do say Blended Bourbon Whiskey, and also state that they are 51% bourbon and 49% GNS. We sell one called Real McCoy, and it as a premixed rink with cola is a lot more popular than it should be...:grin:

Scott

cowdery
02-22-2007, 19:01
Here in the USA, we have Title 27 Section 5, The Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits. It governs how distilled spirits sold in the United States (regardless of where made) must be labeled. Does Australia have anything comparable and, if so, what does it say?

I've considered the possibility that there is enough market for "straight bourbon whiskey" that doesn't care about the absense of the word "Kentucky," both inside the USA and internationally, that you could make some money if you had some to sell. I don't know a lot about the Indiana facility, but I have every reason to believe they could start tomorrow making a bourbon mash whiskey that in two years could legally be sold as "straight bourbon whiskey" and in one more year could be sold in Europe as whiskey, and that's a pretty attractive window if you think the business is there.

Part of me wonders, "can't you do that in Kentucky?" But where?

Even assuming there are a couple of silent distilleries that could be put back into production in Kentucky in less time than it would take to build a new distillery from scratch, actually doing it is months maybe years away. The culmination of the recently announced capacity increases in Kentucky is months or years away too.

There is demand now and there is capacity now at that plant. I don't know what they have in those warehouses, either. It's possible they're getting some whiskey stocks in the sale. It's possible that plant has been making straight whiskey for some time now. I don't know what they've been making there or what Angostura plans to make there.

CL Financial, Angustora's parent company, is big in fuel ethanol. I don't believe they're buying this plant to make fuel ethanol there, but assuming demand for fuel ethanol is growing, that could be putting pressure on the price of the bulk GNS that is most of the "vodka" sold in the USA. Owning a dedicated GNS plant might be a good business move. The mystery in the case of Angustora is, for what brands? They don't have a brand portfolio to plug into their production capacity.

In lieu of supporting their own brands, maybe they think this is a good time to be a contract distiller. I don't know. That's what makes this such an interesting story.