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arsbadmojo
09-12-2007, 05:55
From today's Cincinnati Enquirer:
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070912/BIZ01/709120326


Angostura, the Caribbean rum producer that acquired the Lawrenceburg distillery in June, on Tuesday purchased the closed Charles W. Medley distillery down river in Owensboro, Ky."

"One of the gaps in our portfolio has been Kentucky bourbon," said Duprey, who said his company paid more than $3 million for the distillery.

...Patel said Angostura wants to produce about 5 million gallons of bourbon annually from the Medley distillery.

Very interesting. Anyone know much about the history of the Medley distillery? When did it close, and what brands did it produce? I wonder if the still were intact, or if they have built new ones.

I also wonder if Angostura aquired the rights to those brand names, and if they'll market those same brand names or come up with something new?

How does 5 million gallons per year compare to some of the others?

arsbadmojo
09-12-2007, 06:48
Just doing a Google search for the Medley distillery revealed something interesting; apparently they used to make Wathens (http://www.wathens.com/) brand.

barturtle
09-12-2007, 07:05
Charles Wathen Medley was the previous owner and Master Distiller...I hope they will keep him on as MD, it would be good to see his knowledge returned to use in that capacity, while passing it on the the next generation of distillers.

5 million gallons is about a million barrels every 10 years BT produced its 4 millionth in 1971 and its 5th millionth in 1981...seems like very healthy numbers

arsbadmojo
09-12-2007, 07:20
Fascinating, thanks for the info barturtle. I too would love to see Charles Wathen Medley as MD, even tough I've never tried (and to be honest, never even heard of until a few minutes ago) Wathen's brand, just for continuity's sake if nothing else.

I don't know for sure if Angostura aquired the Wathen's brand name though. Wathen's has a web page up, and I was just reading this article (http://www.ellenjaye.com/medley.htm) which indicates that he is still doing some limited bottlings with what I gather is old stock.

doubleblank
09-12-2007, 08:40
If you want to know if an idled facility is getting restarted, look for air and water discharge permitting activity. I had heard a rumor the Medley distillery was being restarted, so for kicks I did a quick search for permits at the Medley distillery several months ago. I recall seeing at least two items. One was for an air permit to restart the boiler and another was for water discharge into the nearby river. So the Medley's were at least getting their ducks in a row for someone to resume operations there. Unfortunately, it won't be them (as owners, anyway).

Randy

mozilla
09-12-2007, 11:17
Wow, I just talked to Charles the other day....he seemed very proud of his and HH's family owned businesses. Hard to believe that he was on the verge of selling. Are we sure that it is DSP 10? Maybe they picked up one of the other Owensboro distilleries?

Hedmans Brorsa
09-12-2007, 11:35
What good news!

To me it really doesn´t matter which distillery it is. The very fact that a "new" distillery might be up and running is enough case for celebration, methinks.

mozilla
09-12-2007, 11:44
From what I understand, Charles has been making bourbon there. So, it would not be a completely new facility. ie. Wathen's

cowdery
09-17-2007, 11:54
There used to be a thriving whiskey-making industry in Owensboro and the Medley family was a big part of it.

Here's the history of the distillery Angostura just bought. Most of this comes from Sam Cecil's book, with some gaps filled in by other sources.

It was built originally, pre-Prohibition. by Richard and Will Monarch, who also built the Monarch Distillery that eventually became Glenmore's main Owensboro plant. (All that's left of that distillery is a bottling plant, now owned by Barton.

I'm not familiar with the layout, but apparently the two distilleries are close to each other. The distillery Angostura bought was originally RD#12, the Sour Mash Distilling Co.

After Prohibition, it was rebuilt and, in 1940, sold to the Medley Brothers, Wathen and John. It became Medley Bros. Distilling Co., RD#49. They eventually sold it but stayed on to run it. It changed hands several times until ultimately passing to Glenmore, in 1988. When Chris Morris was at Glenmore, running their Ezra Brooks brand, the distillery they invited you to visit as the Ezra Brooks Distillery was, in fact, this Medley distillery. Charles Medley, son of Wathen, was the distiller, from 1967 on.

What is now Diageo (then United Distillers) bought Glenmore in 1991. After they rebuilt Bernheim they shut down all of their other Kentucky distilleries, including Medley, which stopped producing in about 1994.

When UD closed the Owensboro distillery and put Ed Foote, who had been at Stitzel-Weller (which UD also owned), in charge of the new Bernheim plant, Charles was out of a job. He bought the distillery back, along with a stock of whiskey made there. He created the Wathen's brand and sold the whiskey that way, but never restarted the distillery. He sold the cypress fermenters to Maker's Mark. They used the wood to repair their aging fermenters.

Otherwise, Charlie and Sam (his son) kept the place in good shape, but it's not a big distillery. Angostura isn't going to produce five million gallons there without a lot of expansion. Just to put it in context, the entire Kentucky industry produces about 50 million gallons a year.

Angostura, which most of us know only from the bitters, is actually part of a big insurance and financial services company with reserves of something like $13 billion dollars, so they have the money if they want to invest it in bourbon production.

As for brands, they are not acquiring any brands unless Charlie sold them Wathen's, which is the only brand he owns. No one seems to know if Charlie is going to work for them or not, but most people think it unlikely. Angustora is most likely intending to supply the now very tightly stretched bulk whiskey market, primarily in Asia.

craigthom
09-17-2007, 19:59
Thanks for the info. I'm still a little unclear on where the bourbon going into Wathen's comes from. Is it in their warehouses? Was it distilled there or at Glenmore? Is he still hand bottling there, or is he bottling somewhere else?

I had never heard of it, either, but a friend of mine is a distributor in Atlanta and is carrying it, so I did some googling.

cowdery
09-17-2007, 20:26
Someone else probably can supply a date, but the Wathen's distilled at Medley ran out a few years ago. Wathen's disappeared from the marketplace for a time. Charlie then found another, undisclosed source of whiskey and another producer to distribute Wathen's for him, and he was back in business. I believe he is still bottling it himself.

But most likely if you buy a bottle of Wathen's tomorrow it won't be from that pre-1994 Medley-made stock. Most likely what he is bottling now is from a current distillery.

craigthom
09-17-2007, 20:38
Thanks. That's what I was thinking, based on the Web site. If the bourbon was made at that distillery I'd expect it to be mentioned. The lack of any information about the source of the bourbon made me suspect that it was from somewhere else, maybe HH or BT.

mozilla
09-17-2007, 20:44
This is what I have put together from my conversations with Charles Medley: After UD took over and sold him back the distillery, he watched over thier bourbon stocks that had filled his warehouses to some degree. Some of this whiskey was made by Charles others were made in a variety of places, I would guess. UD owned so many distilleries and stocks of others from transactions. Charles had options on barrels, though not all. HH (after the fire) and Julian VanWinkel are some of the few that came to Owensboro to buy barrels. Charles kept all he could and monitered the rest for UD. He is having Wathen's bottled at Frank-Lin in Ca.

arsbadmojo
09-18-2007, 08:23
I think it will be very interesting to see what brands come out of this, and how soon. Do you think they'll wait until they've actually got their own aged barrels to get something on the market - or do something like Woodford Reserve did?

And if they're trying to fill gaps in the Asian market, if they'll even have a stateside product at all.

Also - what does RD# stand for?

cowdery
09-18-2007, 12:53
RD = Registered Distillery, an older terminology that Sam Cecil used in his book. The contemporary equivalent is DSP, which stands for Distilled Spirits Producer.

Brown-Forman had another distillery to get whiskey from. Angostura doesn't have that option. I don't expect they're going to develop brands at all, but will sell bulk whiskey to non-distiller producers. They don't have any meaningful brands now and when they bought the Florida company that owned Cruzan rum they kept the production facility but sold off the brands, so building a brand portfolio doesn't seem to be their strategy. Also, sometimes when companies start buying up facilities like this they try to clear the decks and get rid of any business the operation is already doing. Angostura has done the opposite, informing everyone who was doing business with the Lawrenceburg, IN, distillery and Russelville, IN, grain silo that they want to continue to do business with them.

I expect one of our agents in Western Kentucky/Southern Indiana to drive over to Medley and give us a report of what, if anything, is happening on the ground. Let's go, people!

arsbadmojo
09-18-2007, 14:49
Brown-Forman had another distillery to get whiskey from. Angostura doesn't have that option.

But don't a lot of labels purchase buorbon from other distllers? PVW doesn't have a distillery, for example.

mozilla
09-18-2007, 21:03
Talked to Charles Medley today and found out some information regarding the pending sale....
Before I start I would like to say that Charles has been a typicle Kentucky gentlemen in our conversations, very open and honest regarding some issues that I would have figured to proprietary secrets and other things. He also has a great, dry sense of humor.
....Yes, the distillery will be sold to Angostura. It has been prepared to begin production in the near future. No, the Wathen's label is not part of the deal. Yes, they are looking for label/s to use. Not sure how hard they are searching? Yes, Charles will stay on as a consultant to keep things going the "Medley way". As far as I know, he will only be in Owensboro.

Some of the other questions I remember people asking: No, Charles has not distilled for some time(I got that one wrong). Yes, he has bought and sold bulk whiskey to about every major distillery I know. From what I gathered it happens alot more than we all think it does. Charles mentioned that he had an agreement with Seagrams, back in the day, to make 5000 barrels a year, every year. That blew my mind! Not just Seagrams but the thought that (pick a bourbon) is not real (same bourbon).
Let's see.....I know there was more, but I refereed a couple of football games this evening and can't recall yet. :falling:

cowdery
09-18-2007, 23:17
Buying whiskey might make sense if they were launching a new brand, but that does not seem to be their strategy at all. This is going to be a bulk whiskey operation, which is what Medley was when Charles was barreling 5,000 barrels a year for Seagram's.

As I've often said, none of the distilleries sell bulk whiskey except when they do, but for the last couple of years, virtually all of them have sold all they can make as their own brands and then some. Some have standing bulk whiskey contracts but the spot market for bulk has just about dried up. That's the niche Angostura wants to fill.

Hedmans Brorsa
09-19-2007, 00:25
Buying whiskey might make sense if they were launching a new brand, but that does not seem to be their strategy at all. This is going to be a bulk whiskey operation, which is what Medley was when Charles was barreling 5,000 barrels a year for Seagram's.

As I've often said, none of the distilleries sell bulk whiskey except when they do, but for the last couple of years, virtually all of them have sold all they can make as their own brands and then some. Some have standing bulk whiskey contracts but the spot market for bulk has just about dried up. That's the niche Angostura wants to fill.

If this is true, then you just took the excitement out of it for me. :)

Alas, it was too good to be true, anyway.

mozilla
09-19-2007, 07:57
I would not expect them to come out with a new product right away. I know that Charles will be using the bourbon they make to fill his own label. Past that I can not say what will exactly happen to thier bourbon. Like Chuck says, it will be sold as bulk for a time, until when they get a label /s. After that I'm sure the market will dictate where the bourbon goes.

HBUSSELL
12-01-2007, 11:29
The Wathen brand is currently( as of June 2007) being bottled by the Frank-Lin Company of San Jose, CA. Prior to this current arrangment it was being hand bottled and labled by father and son, Charles and Sam Medley

When the Glenmore property was purchased the existing stock was not purchased. Charles Medley obtained some of that stock and that is what is currently being bottled as Wathen.

squire
12-01-2007, 18:01
More power to them. I hope they bring Yellowstone back, or even better, Mellow Mash.
squire

barturtle
12-01-2007, 18:32
More power to them. I hope they bring Yellowstone back, or even better, Mellow Mash.
squire

Yellowstone is owned by David Sherman(Luxco) last I checked

squire
12-01-2007, 23:44
Hi Timothy, yes, I'm aware the brand name is now owned by the David Sherman co. I'm talking about the Medley made Yellowstone we enjoyed in the 70s that was also the best selling Bourbon in Kentucky. My point was I hope the new owners would, using the same still and mashbill, provide us with an equally good product. Professional men and blue collar alike put the 7yr 90 proof Yellowstone on their table for guests as 'good stuff' because it was. I don't care if the new owners call it 'Old Washtub', just give me the same whiskey. It was a good whiskey at a good price.
Regards,
Squire

Gillman
12-02-2007, 01:42
Old Yellowstone was great! It had a strawberry-like top-note and a pleasing elegance. In a sense (I now see) it was a notably "winy" bourbon.

Gary

cowdery
12-02-2007, 20:51
Angostura didn't aquire any brands with its purchase of either the Lawrenceburg, Indiana, distillery or of the Owensboro, Kentucky, distillery. It looks like they want to produce for the commodity market, i.e., bulk.

Rughi
01-04-2008, 03:06
Back in September, Chuck suggested:


I expect one of our agents in Western Kentucky/Southern Indiana to drive over to Medley and give us a report of what, if anything, is happening on the ground. Let's go, people!

Has anyone given Charles Medley a visit yet?
I wonder if he's got his crew together and stills running yet.

I also wonder if he'd be open to receiving a few visitors around, say, the end of April at Sampler time.

Roger

boss302
01-05-2008, 18:07
Very interesting. Anyone know much about the history of the Medley distillery? When did it close, and what brands did it produce? I wonder if the still were intact, or if they have built new ones.

I also wonder if Angostura aquired the rights to those brand names, and if they'll market those same brand names or come up with something new?

How does 5 million gallons per year compare to some of the others?

Angostura makes an excellent 12-year rum.

I hope their bourbon venture goes well. I'm just pulling my hair out at the thought of a closed distillery in OHIO getting chosen over the Michter's distillery, where American whiskey pretty much began...

cowdery
01-05-2008, 21:58
Angostura makes an excellent 12-year rum.

I hope their bourbon venture goes well. I'm just pulling my hair out at the thought of a closed distillery in OHIO getting chosen over the Michter's distillery, where American whiskey pretty much began...

I assume you mean Indiana, as that's where one of the two plants Angostura bought is located. That plant was in operation, i.e., it wasn't closed. They just took it over.

The other plant Angostura bought is in Owensboro, Kentucky, and has been closed for about the same length of time as Michter's. There is, however, virtually nothing left at Michter's except some falling-down buildings, whereas while Medley (the Owensboro distillery) needs some work (new fermenters, for one thing) the plant overall is in good shape, plus it's in Kentucky, a plus label-wise.

Also, "where American whiskey pretty much began"? Not really. That's mostly marketing fluff.

nydistiller
01-20-2008, 12:40
Has anyone heard the latest on restarting of the medley distillery?

cowdery
01-21-2008, 10:36
I spoke with a reporter from the Owensboro newspaper last week and she didn't have anything to report. I think they said they expect to have it in operation by year's end.

nydistiller
01-21-2008, 15:27
I spoke with Charles, last month because I was interested in the job, and he said he was looking for someone, but a lot of things had to take place before they could get serious, but that they would be making whiskey agian one day. Did they buy the old seagrams plant in indiana too?

cowdery
01-22-2008, 08:42
Did they buy the old seagrams plant in indiana too?

Yes, they bought that one first and are now operating it.

cowdery
01-24-2008, 00:26
I read today an interesting claim, in an official Angostura press release, about the plant in Lawrenceburg.

They claim it is the single largest spirits distillery in the U.S. and produces 9 percent of the total U.S. domestic spirits consumption. This includes more than 31 percent of the domestic gin demand, 18 percent of the domestic vodka demand and 14 percent of the domestic whiskey demand.

Its catchy new name is Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana LLC.

Caradog
01-24-2008, 12:56
RD = Registered Distillery, an older terminology that Sam Cecil used in his book. The contemporary equivalent is DSP, which stands for Distilled Spirits Producer.

Brown-Forman had another distillery to get whiskey from. Angostura doesn't have that option. I don't expect they're going to develop brands at all, but will sell bulk whiskey to non-distiller producers. They don't have any meaningful brands now and when they bought the Florida company that owned Cruzan rum they kept the production facility but sold off the brands, so building a brand portfolio doesn't seem to be their strategy. Also, sometimes when companies start buying up facilities like this they try to clear the decks and get rid of any business the operation is already doing. Angostura has done the opposite, informing everyone who was doing business with the Lawrenceburg, IN, distillery and Russelville, IN, grain silo that they want to continue to do business with them.

I expect one of our agents in Western Kentucky/Southern Indiana to drive over to Medley and give us a report of what, if anything, is happening on the ground. Let's go, people!

Could it be that they have kept up agreements to lock in grain supplies? I've been delighted that bourbon retail has not shot up in the past year as has, say, beer, esp. in light of what's going on with corn and ethanol...

Clearly they've got capacity to make a lot of spirit - not sure why a label as storied as Angostura wouldn't want to build/relaunch a premium bourbon, even if it was only a small percentage of what they were making in bulk.
(I'm thinking about the nice job that's been done retooling Four Roses for the US market - just picked up a yellow label the other day.)

Plus, if it's Angostura, the labels don't even have to fit! Thanks for you experience and insights, Chuck - priceless in looking at the details and the landscape.

jburlowski
02-04-2008, 15:42
An update from the local paper:
http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008802030343

mozilla
02-04-2008, 15:54
Great news. Thanks for the updated material.

cowdery
02-04-2008, 17:24
Interesting that they are planning a cooperage too. There probably is room for another one, as Bluegrass (Brown-Forman) has essentially taken itself out of the market, as it can only make enough for its own needs, mostly JD.

It says they're going to introduce "a new Charles Medley Kentucky Bourbon label." However, they may not own the name. Medley used to have a Medley Brothers brand, and some others, all of which were sold to Glenmore, which means Diageo may own them now.

The article repeats a common, but false, belief: "While bourbon can be made anywhere in the United States, Kentucky is the only state allowed to put its name on the bottle." It t'aint so. Couple of other small mistakes too but, all in all, a good article.

mozilla
02-04-2008, 17:56
From what Mr. Medley has told me in the past...he has a few labels up his sleeve for just such an occasion. I doubt they will have trouble getting any of those started.

cowdery
02-05-2008, 00:30
It's possible that, like the distillery, he got some of these labels (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5860) back when Glenmore was sold to Guinness. No offense to Charlie, but I doubt Guinness put a very high value on them. (I'm referring specifically to the Medley ones, not Mellow Mash).

nor02lei
02-05-2008, 03:31
An update from the local paper:
http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008802030343

Good news indeed John!

Leif

kpendle
09-11-2008, 20:35
While looking through the who makes Bulleit topic I saw the mention of Owensboro and on a whim did a quick search and saw the article below.

http://edc.owensboro.com/documents/medleya28aug.pdf

Be warned this was discovered with a Google search but does not appear to be a link to an old article. I would not want to start any problems like the recent posting of a link to a 6 year old United Airline bankruptcy article.

It is dated 8/28/2008. So I think it should be recent.

Ken

Rughi
09-11-2008, 20:49
$25 million dollar restoration
40 jobs
1800 bushels a day
and free slop!!!

Not the emphasis of many bourbon articles I read.

And hey - 70% corn
- no mention of other grains, but that promises a healthy amount of rye. If barley is 8-12%, then the rye is 18-22%, which is closer to Four Roses territory than AAA.

Of course, the 70% could just be a rounded number to let an eager journalist calculate bushels/day in his head more than be meant as a precise number.

Thanks for the article, Ken.

cowdery
09-11-2008, 20:50
The article is current and, for the most part, accurate. I think that plant distilled its last drop before 1992, but I could be wrong about that. They certainly were not running anything like full time in 1992 or for the previous ten or more years, but maybe they were firing it up for a couple of months each year.

I was, however, struck by this statement from the new plant manager. "People are people, parts are parts," Schneider said.

That attitude has led to the downfall of many a proud distillery.

The fact that they chose to hire someone with zero experience at whiskey-making is puzzling. Every recent hire (by which I mean the last 20 years) at every other producer was somebody with some related experience, at least as a brewer.

But maybe this guy isn't going to be the distiller. Sometimes the distiller is the plant manager, but not always. Charlie Medley is in the background but I don't think he's going to be their master distiller. He's not a young man.

There may still be some old hands around Owensboro who know their way around a distillery and barrel house, but they won't be young men either.

craigthom
09-12-2008, 05:11
Given this guy's background, I wouldn't be surprised to see him leave after the reconstruction was done. He's there to rebuild, not to make whiskey.

mozilla
09-12-2008, 08:09
Mr. Medley will be around to take care of the bourbon making. He will also be using their distillate to fill his label...Wathen's. So, they will probably be aging bourbon alot longer than the four years that was stated. I would guess that they will also build more warehouse capacity. It will only take 4 years to completely fill their warehouses up. So, how will they be able to fill four year bottles and Wathens, at a higher age, with this young distillate? Can you say expansion?

barturtle
09-12-2008, 08:59
Mr. Medley will be around to take care of the bourbon making. He will also be using their distillate to fill his label...Wathen's. So, they will probably be aging bourbon alot longer than the four years that was stated. I would guess that they will also build more warehouse capacity. It will only take 4 years to completely fill their warehouses up. So, how will they be able to fill four year bottles and Wathens, at a higher age, with this young distillate? Can you say expansion?


I believe they have warehousing in Lawrenceburg, IN as well. Nothing says they can't age it up there.

Also, the cool thing about warehouses is, you can rotate out stock in one area to sell young, while another area sits there and ages for extended periods of time.

mozilla
09-12-2008, 12:12
I thought KSBW had to be aged in Ky for at least the first two years....if not longer, to be called KSBW. Are you referring to being just called bourbon?

cowdery
09-12-2008, 13:39
The way to look at it is that it can't be Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey until it's straight whiskey, and that takes two years. If it ages in Kentucky, it becomes Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey on its second birthday and can thereafter go wherever it wants as Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

You may well be right about construction management.

Charlie may not see it this way but he's not a long term solution for them because of his age and temperment.

Their stated intention is to produce commodity bourbon for bulk sale in international markets. For that purpose, they may feel two years is sufficient. We'll see what they do, but they have not been a brand-oriented company to this point. That could change, but their strategy in all of their acquisitions seems to be to be a low cost provider of services such as bottling, as well as contract distilling, bulk whiskey, pretty much any place they can find a niche, but as a production company, not as a beverage marketer.

They're definitely going to change the landscape, but don't look for them to be producing, or trying to produce, the next great enthusiast bourbon.

Maybe in ten or fifteen years.

craigthom
09-12-2008, 20:15
I could have sworn it had to be aged in Kentucky for a year and a day to have the state on the label, so you could age a year here and a year in Indiana and still have Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. I'll go find it.

barturtle
09-12-2008, 20:29
I thought KSBW had to be aged in Ky for at least the first two years....if not longer, to be called KSBW. Are you referring to being just called bourbon?


I think you're right about the KSBW thing...but nobody has yet shown me the actual text of that law yet, so I can't verify...if anyone knows where this law exists, please let me know where to look or give me a link.

But yeah, I was just talking about Bourbon.

craigthom
09-12-2008, 20:46
I haven't found it yet, and here's the TTB LABELING AND ADVERTISING OF DISTILLED SPIRITS (http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=7299fda34c498fae90457c19da61fbc5&rgn=div5&view=text&node=27:1.0.1.1.3&idno=27), which includes the definitions of terms such as "bourbon" and "straight whiskey" and "cognac". I don't find the word "Kentucky" in the document.

cowdery
09-13-2008, 20:47
You won't find Kentucky in the document because it isn't there. What the document says is that place of origin labeling has to be true. A bourbon can only be Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey if it is aged in Kentucky for two years because, as I already said, it becomes straight bourbon on its second birthday.

Once it is something, it can't revert to an earlier form. I think that's the part people have trouble understanding. Once it's bourbon, it's bourbon. You can't make it un-bourbon. No matter what you do to it, the bourbon is still bourbon, and straight bourbon is the same way. No matter what you do to it, it remains straight bourbon.

If it becomes straight bourbon in Kentucky then it's Kentucky straight bourbon no matter what you do to it thereafter. There's no specific law that says those specific words because there doesn't need to be. The law leaves no other possible outcome.

Even if you mix it with something else, the bourbon in there is still bourbon. It then becomes bourbon and something else. If you throw a bunch of sugar into it it becomes a bourbon liqueur, not a bourbon whiskey, but the bourbon is still bourbon. What part of this am I not explaining correctly?

craigthom
09-14-2008, 08:19
Yes, Chuck, but it's a bourbon as soon as it is poured into the barrel. If it's made in Kentucky, then it's a Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey.

If the barrel is put on a truck and taken to Indiana or some other state, then on it's second birthday it is a Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

There's nothing in those regulations that say it loses it's Kentucky origin by moving to another state.

I have been told at a distillery that it's a year and a day to get the "Kentucky" name. A lot of what we are told at distilleries is, well, part of the myth, so that's not proof.

It's not in the TTB naming regulation. I am sure somewhere there is an official document that determines how "Kentucky" can be used on a bourbon bottle. I have also been told at a distillery that "Kentucky" is the only state name that can be used as part of the name of a bourbon. If that's true, then it's got to be written somewhere. I suspect both of these are in the same place.

cowdery
09-14-2008, 08:53
Yes, Chuck, but it's a bourbon as soon as it is poured into the barrel. If it's made in Kentucky, then it's a Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey.

Not quite. It's bourbon only after aging. Although the regs are silent as to how long it must age, TTB accepts three months as the minimum.


If the barrel is put on a truck and taken to Indiana or some other state, then on it's second birthday it is a Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

If they did that, then they would have a choice. They could either call it Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey or Straight Bourbon Whiskey, but not Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.


There's nothing in those regulations that say it loses it's Kentucky origin by moving to another state.

There's nothing in those regulations that says anything about it, except that the origin labeling must be truthful.


I have been told at a distillery that it's a year and a day to get the "Kentucky" name. A lot of what we are told at distilleries is, well, part of the myth, so that's not proof.

It's a common belief, but it's not true.


It's not in the TTB naming regulation. I am sure somewhere there is an official document that determines how "Kentucky" can be used on a bourbon bottle.

And, yet, there is not.


I have also been told at a distillery that "Kentucky" is the only state name that can be used as part of the name of a bourbon. If that's true, then it's got to be written somewhere. I suspect both of these are in the same place.

Jim Rutledge, among others, has said that in his presentations. I asked Jim to give me a source. He did some checking, got back to me and said, "what do you know, it's not true. I'll stop saying it."

Who do you think controls what can be said on labels? TTB. Kentucky has no way to control how someone uses the state's name. Maybe within the state it can, but it has no jurisdiction outside the state. It can sue if it thinks someone is using the state's name in an improper way, but that would be a tough case to win. TTB has regs, which you can read, but it also has policies and practices, which you cannot. As best I can determine, and I have done considerable research on the subject, the policy and practice is as I have already described.

craigthom
09-14-2008, 09:54
If they did that, then they would have a choice. They could either call it Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey or Straight Bourbon Whiskey, but not Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.


So you've said, but why? It's still made in Kentucky, and it's still straight bourbon whiskey. It's origin doesn't change as the barrels move. There's nothing in the English language that says adjectives must be used cumulatively.

mozilla
09-14-2008, 10:03
So, let me see if I can lay this out strait:

Out of the still: Bourbon Distillate
After (how long): Kentucky Bourbon
After 2 years: Kentucky Straight Bourbon
After KSB: It can be sent anywhere to age further and still be KSB

cowdery
09-14-2008, 15:16
So you've said, but why? It's still made in Kentucky, and it's still straight bourbon whiskey. It's origin doesn't change as the barrels move. There's nothing in the English language that says adjectives must be used cumulatively.

No, but there is TTB practice, and TTB practice is consistent with my explanation. Presumably they accept the actual producer's certification, i.e., if HH says the whiskey is KSBW, TTB accepts that. If somebody who doesn't have a distillery in Kentucky and who doesn't have documentation that they bought the whiskey from a Kentucky producer wants to put "Kentucky" on the label, TTB will question it. I hate to put it this way, but my way makes sense. Your way doesn't. You will see, on the bottom shelf, commodity brands just labeled "bourbon whiskey," yet they don't have an age statement so they must be four years old, so why aren't they labeled "straight bourbon whiskey," and since the whiskey more likely than not came from a Kentucky distillery, why isn't it labeled "Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey"? Each situation is different, but those producers know what the TTB requires (as policy, not published regulation) and don't want to jump that hurdle.

I assure you that I have searched high and low for all of the mythical regulations we've all heard about and they don't exist.

It's an unwritten but still enforced rule. You're not Kentucky straight unless you became straight in Kentucky. If you were born in Kentucky but became straight outside of Kentucky you can be Kentucky or straight, but not both.

One reason you're not going to see a memorandum about this is because nobody is trying it.

And you're not going to see Vermont Straight Bourbon Whiskey, not because there's a rule against it, but for the same reason. The only state whose name has cachet in the bourbon world in Kentucky, which started to use it when Illinois became a big producer. Nobody said Illinois couldn't put its name on the label, but who would want to? There's no Illinois Fried Chicken either, but that doesn't mean there's a law against it.

I don't know how these myths get started nor do I understand why they're so hard to kill.

Rob K
09-23-2008, 15:24
This may be what you want: Title 27 - 5 - C (http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=675aedfe5d03f5930aa1e9232627dfdf&rgn=div8&view=text&node=27:1.0.1.1.3.3.25.2&idno=27): Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
PART 5—LABELING AND ADVERTISING OF DISTILLED SPIRITS
Subpart C—Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits

NYtaster
09-24-2008, 18:13
I don't know anywhere near what many on this board know about Bourbon, in the end I just know what I like, in the end that's all that matters as a consumer.

On the other hand I have plenty of experience with Govt. regulators and their "interpretation" of the rules. There are many instances where the end result is a combination of regulations, common practice, traditional interpretation and individual bias on the part of an examiner. As long as none of the above are contrary to another and the practice in question is commonly accepted then the letter of the law is just the starting point.

As Chuck pointed out, if Kentucky (the state govt.) found that there were a company out there saying KSBW and there were no evidence AND it was an inferior product or a Kentucky based distillery was complaining then a suit might be in order. Otherwise, what's in a name, if its good we drink it and if its not then we don't and it won't last on the market anyway.

Remember too many lawyers spoil the pot, or something like that.

cowdery
09-24-2008, 19:00
Two things.

First, someone who will lie to you about something will lie to you about anything. I don't care how good their product tastes. Oh, I might drink it, but I still hold it against a producer if I think they're lying to me. People say, "heck, all marketing is is lies," but that insults me as a lifetime marketing professional.

Second, everything NYtaster says is true, but there is one more factor. The competition. The TTB may not aggressively police some of their own more obscure rules, because they know that if a product in violation starts to succeed in the marketplace, someone will tell them about the infraction.

I did some checking while in Kentucky over the weekend and the understanding of the people in the industry is that bourbon has to be made in Kentucky and aged there until its second birthday to be called Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

One reason for giving the officers who approve labels some discretion is so they can prevent people from pulling "tricks" like saying it was "made" in Kentucky and is "straight," ergo KSBW, even though it was aged out of the state. Even though it's not written down, the officer can say "nice try" and deny approval.

One thing you learn in law school is that the rhetorical legal tricks that seem to turn the tables in countless formuliac movies don't work in real life.

Attila
10-13-2008, 09:21
Thanks to everyone who has provided information on this thread. Great reading!

craigthom
01-04-2009, 12:53
I was driving through Owensboro today so I ran by the distillery. A clad warehouse (G, I think) had a good bit of the siding ripped off and new wood framing underneath. I saw a couple of people working on the roof of one of the brick warehouses.

The smokestacks are gone. I read somewhere that they were damaged by Ike and were removed last month.

The security guard said they expect to be operating in the Spring, for what that's worth.

I had mutton barbecue last night for the first time. It wasn't bad for non-Georgia non-pork barbecue.

TomH
01-05-2009, 17:42
A recent AP article (which also quotes SB's own Chuck Cowdery) says that production is about a year away

http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2008/12/19/ap5845886.html

Tom

shoshani
01-06-2009, 22:36
I'm going to slide here in the slimmest of connections, because I am curious about Angostura's distilled spirits, but rye more than bourbon. Jim Murray has made a career out of lamenting the fact that the rye whiskey distilled by Seagram at Lawrenceburg, IN was never made available as a straight. Does anyone know if Angostura has any plans to bottle it, or even if they have the mashbill to make it?

cowdery
01-08-2009, 17:39
I haven't had any success yet getting any information directly from Angostura. I think the journalists who have may be just going there and knocking on the door. I do know that all the people the previous owners had been doing business with got calls from the new owners (Angostura) indicating that they wanted to continue to do business with them, under the same terms.

In addition to the distillery there is a bottling plant there and the sale also included a corn wholesaler, making them the only whiskey company that owns its own corn supplier.

As for the straight rye made there, without going into all of the details, it seems more likely than not that both the Templeton Rye and High West Rye are, in fact, the straight rye made at Lawrenceburg, IN.

Again without going into all of the details, it seems more likely than not that Angostura will not be marketing anything to consumers anytime soon, and maybe not ever. They appear to be positioning themselves as a commodity producer and provider of custom distilling and other producer-to-producer services.

mozilla
01-08-2009, 18:54
I guarentee that Wathens will be the Angostura bourbon.

cowdery
01-09-2009, 18:15
I guarentee that Wathens will be the Angostura bourbon.

Yet the logical answer to a question is frequently not the actual answer. I remain to be convinced that there will even be an "Angostura bourbon" as such.

mozilla
01-09-2009, 20:11
Well, I recieved my information directly from Charlie. He said that he would be using some of the new distillate for his label...instead of having to go through HH.
I expect that Charlie would reserve the right to change his mind...but the last thing I heard was he would use their juice.

cowdery
01-09-2009, 22:22
Charlie absolutely does speak for Charlie, but he only speaks for Charlie. What he told you is a long way from Wathens being the Angostura bourbon. Lose "the" and the statement is fine.