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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Chicago
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    12,375

    Curb Your Enthusiasm

    The micro-distillery movement is great. That there would be so many small distilleries in America making--well, anything--I never would have predicted. No one is more amazed than I am and no one is more delighted.

    As whiskey enthusiasts, our prime directive is to try as many different whiskeys as we can. That's who we are. That's what we do. So naturally when a new whiskey comes along, regardless of its source, we want to try it, or at least learn a little more about it.

    Which is why I want to advise my fellow whiskey enthusiasts, with regard to micro-distilleries, and in the immortal words of Larry David, curb your enthusiasm. The micro-distillers would like you to believe, and some of them actually believe this themselves, that they came right out of the box making products that are superior to those made by the majors. They didn't and they aren't.

    In the case of whiskey in particular, what you have is simply a very limited range and the limitation is age. Some interesting things are being done with ages ranging from five minutes to about two years, but that's it. There is very little out there that is older than two years and it shows.

    I'm not talking about the High West Rendezvous Rye, or High West BourRye, or Templeton Rye, or Angel's Envy Bourbon, or WhistlePig Rye, which were all made by majors and just bottled and sold by little guys.

    In terms of the actual micro-distilled products out there, they're all just very young. Despite what some people say, nobody has figured out how to speed up the aging process.

    This is not to say there is no merit in these young whiskeys. There is a lot of merit in many of them, but relative to what we're used to as whiskey drinkers, they're all too young. That's just the reality of what these guys are trying to do.

    The other reality is that they are all going to be too expensive for what they are. That's also in the nature of the exercise. Whether or not they're "worth it" is something only you can decide.

    So by "curb your enthusiasm," I don't mean "forget about it." What I mean is "don't expect too much." Enjoy these products for what they are and feel good about supporting someone's dream.
    Last edited by cowdery; 05-09-2010 at 18:04.

  2. #2
    Guru
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    Jun 2008
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    Metro Detroit
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    4,989

    Re: Curb Your Enthusiasm

    Very well put.

    This has been my struggle with the growing numbers of micros here in Michigan. I want to try them. I want to be supportive, but if one of the majors was putting out one of these products, I would be bitching about it all over teh interwebs. Too young, too expensive.

    Luckily there's bar that I regularly haunt that carries all of New Holland's spirits. The Zeppelin Bend malt, Freshwater Rum, Knickerbocker Gin and the Hatter Royale Hopquila and their vodkas (which they don't make themselves) are available at the bar.

    I tried Zeppelin Bend again last week, just to give it a second opinion. It was much better than I had remembered. I almost ordered a second one. I'm glad I didn't. When the bill came it was $10 for 1.5 oz. For the sake of comparion, about 9 miles away is a Cajun/Creole restaurant that has Blanton's for the same price.
    bibamus, moriendum est
    Sipology Blog

  3. #3
    Guru
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    May 2006
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    Napoleon, MI
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    7,282

    Re: Curb Your Enthusiasm

    This new wave of micro distilling reminds of all the bad starchy-yeast beer that beer snobs used to lie to themselves about.
    ovh

  4. #4
    Disciple
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    Jan 2009
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    NE OH
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    1,781

    Re: Curb Your Enthusiasm

    I'm glad this is happening but I'm only sporadically interested in supporting it.

    Most micros seem to run $45+ and sometimes that's only for a 375ml. There are too many really good products out there I like in the $50 range that I know I like for me to take a gamble on an entire bottle of the micros.
    ~Robert BTOTY #2 2009

    GBS Member - 2011 Indoctrination

  5. #5
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    224

    Re: Curb Your Enthusiasm

    The only micro I have had a chance to try was "Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey." I am happy I tried it, but I wouldn't buy another bottle. I had to force that one down. I guess some people are expecting the micro-distilleries to be closer to the micro-breweries, but there are considerable differences. Beer can be made in weeks vs years (and you can perfect your brew at home before you even start up your business), and the major distilleries already put out a huge range of quality products; with beer, you just don't have that. Maybe in 10-15 years when the micro distilleries really have a chance to age and learn, we might start seeing some really good micro whiskies. For now, I don't think the price reflects the quality by any means.
    Last edited by Thesh; 05-10-2010 at 12:44.

  6. #6
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Saline, MI
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    751

    Re: Curb Your Enthusiasm

    So how does an upstart break into this market? With the up-front time investment to make a really good whiskey of maybe 6+ years, and the risk of having a multi-year stock of aging juice with no cash returns, how can someone get into the bourbon business?
    Craig

  7. #7
    Connoisseur
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    Jul 2009
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    Arlington, TX
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    745

    Re: Curb Your Enthusiasm

    Quote Originally Posted by cas View Post
    So how does an upstart break into this market? With the up-front time investment to make a really good whiskey of maybe 6+ years, and the risk of having a multi-year stock of aging juice with no cash returns, how can someone get into the bourbon business?
    Craig
    By selling young juice to finance the aged juice?
    Mark Edwards - Proof of Sanity Forged Upon Request

  8. #8
    Guru
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Northern Kentucky
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    3,403

    Re: Curb Your Enthusiasm

    Quote Originally Posted by cas View Post
    So how does an upstart break into this market? With the up-front time investment to make a really good whiskey of maybe 6+ years, and the risk of having a multi-year stock of aging juice with no cash returns, how can someone get into the bourbon business?
    Craig
    Usually by trying to sell vodka and / or poor, under-aged whiskey at high prices.

    I applaud the movement but am less sanquine about its prospects than others here. I think the economics are just too daunting to see many succeed with a quality product.
    John B

    "Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons… that is all there is to distinguish us from other animals."

  9. #9
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    224

    Re: Curb Your Enthusiasm

    Quote Originally Posted by cas View Post
    So how does an upstart break into this market? With the up-front time investment to make a really good whiskey of maybe 6+ years, and the risk of having a multi-year stock of aging juice with no cash returns, how can someone get into the bourbon business?
    Craig
    I bet you could sell it as blended whiskey quite easily. Start yourself off with a few different recipes, and as necessary, blend with GNS and older whiskies from other distilleries. Don't just try and go out guns blazing with a premium straight whiskey.

  10. #10
    Trippah and Admin
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northeast Ahia
    Posts
    4,516

    Re: Curb Your Enthusiasm

    Curbing my enthusiasm is easy since the flavors I enjoy most in bourbon come from the barrel and faking it doesn't count.

    Dropping 10 bucks on a sixer of micro brew is nowhere near the commitment that one makes when soaking 50 bucks into a 375 of young whiskey.
    My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment.
    I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?

 

 

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