View Full Version : Woerner's/Joshua Brooks Bourbon

02-22-2007, 21:35
Once in San Francisco I picked up a bourbon in a corner liquor store on Geary Street. I liked the brand name, Woerner's Kentucky Straight Bourbon, and Woerner's is also the store's name. The owner, a personable gentleman, told me that the company which did the private label for him also does the Joshua Brooks bourbons, and he carried at least one of those too. He said the bourbon in both bottles was the same and the private label arrangement was not being renewed so what he had in the store under the Woerner's label is the last of that brand. This was a while back but I am sure he still has some.

I bought the bottle, a 750 ml. (it came in both 750 ml. and 1 litre containers, both 80 proof).

I only tried it recently since I did not think it would be anything special but in fact it is excellent and a superb value. It has a marked sweetness and yet a good charred barrel taste against a good "mashy" background. This is the real deal, for under $9.00 it puts most other bourbons I know in that price range in the shade. As sometimes happens, it trumps many bourbons which cost multiples of its own price.

I searched Frank-Lin Distiller's Products (bottler's name on the label). This produced an interesting website describing a long-established business (since the 30's). They bottle tequila, vodka, bourbon and other drinks. Unlike many bottlers, they state on the website where they get their bourbon from except it is multiple sources. The site notes that bourbon has been obtained past and present from National Distillers, Fleischmann's, Jim Beam and Heaven Hill. The house indicates it likes to choose "sugar barrels" and even the 80 proof Woerner's shows that. I imagine the 8 year old, 90 proof Joshua Brooks must be even better but I am quite happy with the regular, inexpensive private label. I like a whiskey that does not rub out all distillery character but is smooth and drinkable.

In sampling Woerner's brand bourbon, I can't place the distillery. I don't get either Beam or Heaven Hill markers: maybe it is a mingling of both or from somewhere else.

Anyone at Gazebo tasting this would approve. Bay Area SB-ers, pick up Woerner's from the store of that name on Geary (not far the downtown side of Van Ness) and tell me I am wrong.


02-26-2007, 11:26
For a description of the current own-brand bourbon line of Frank-Lin, a liquors packing business based in San Jose, CA, see www.frank-lin.com/prod_bourbon.html

When I dial into the main page, it states the site is under construction but the various parts of the site can be accessed (the sub-pages if that is the right term) directly. Once you are at the bourbon page, you can read the rest of them.

The vodka page is interesting, they do that new vodka out in the red bottle I've seen in many stores in the U.S. called Beyond. I think Skyy is theirs, too.

The bourbon is quality stuff, I can attest to that.


02-26-2007, 12:21
Skyy is a San Francisco company owned by inventor Maurice Kanbar. However, I don't believe they have any production facilities of their own. Their spirit is made at a GNS plant here in Illinois and they use bottling houses all over the place. They were bottling it at Brown-Forman when I was there recently. I saw what looked like Skyy bottles in a photograph of the Frank-Lin bottling line, so they probably do some bottling for them.

I thought it interesting that they have bonded warehouse space to let.

Hedmans Brorsa
02-26-2007, 12:22
Somehow, I got more intrigued by that Potterīs bourbon. It is the first time Iīve seen the words 'blend' and 'straight bourbon' on the same label.

I seem to recall reading about Potterīs once upon a time. Arenīt they doing Canadian 'blends', as well?

02-26-2007, 12:31
Well, Potter's was a distillery in British Columbia, now closed, and it bottled from remaining stocks the Century line of Canadian whiskies. Originally, they were Potter's distillate, and the oldest ones still may be; now they are sourced from other Canadian distillers.

Frank-Lin probably had some kind of connection to that distillery.

Under Scotch whisky on the site, is mentioned also a Potter's Canadian whisky. I would think this may be the same as one of the younger Century expressions, but labelled Potter's (the original name of the whiskies in Canada) for the U.S. market.

The connection between Kanbar and Frank-Lin is explained under the Services button viewable on the page I linked.


02-26-2007, 12:48
Well, Maurice is cheating on them with B-F then, because I stood in the bottling house at Brown-Forman about three months ago and watched they bottle Skyy.

02-26-2007, 13:41
Maybe Frank-Lin sub-contracted the bottling of its east coast distribution to B-F. If that occurred Frank-Lin is still doing the bottling as the contractor and would control quality through its sub-contract. Not sure what they are doing, just a thought.


02-26-2007, 15:35
I thought of that too and it's certainly a possibility.

Brown-Forman is a good example of a company that "doesn't do contract work, except when they do." Actually, for a company that says they don't, they do quite a bit.

I think they would counter that the only contract distilling they are doing is for other distillers (HH & Diageo), which is done more as an accommodation to industry colleagues than as a profit center. And they've never told me they don't do contract bottling which, clearly, they do.