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Thread: Rye-ality

  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Rye-ality

    Every publication this side of "Highlights for Children" has done a story about the rye revival. I've written a couple of them myself.

    But for all the buzz, rye sales are still very small. They've grown a little but not much.

    Last December in The Bourbon Country Reader, I wrote that I've talked to the distilleries and if they were making rye three days a year, it is now four, but that's all the more it has grown after several years of good press.

    A little bit of growth from a very small base.

    Now I've gotten some sales numbers. The person who gave them to me explained that the numbers for Heaven Hill's and Sazerac's products are low. As private companies, they don't have to report. What numbers we have for those companies come from what they sell to control states. But this will still give you some idea. It represents a running year, so May 2009 through April 2010 in this case.

    Jim Beam Rye is far and away the leader at 42,365 cases. Beam reports and I'm told its figures are accurate. To give you a frame of reference, the big bourbon and Tennessee whiskey brands -- Jim, Jack and Evan -- each sell millions of cases a year. Wild Turkey 101 and Maker's Mark are each a bit shy of breaking the million-case threshold. A brand like Knob Creek or Woodford Reserve will sell more than 100,000 cases a year.

    Second after Jim Beam Rye is Old Overholt Rye, which Beam makes. It clocks in at 18,804 cases. Third is Beam's Ri 1, at 3,746 cases. The Beam ryes are 87 percent of the category (as reported).

    Next, astonishingly, is Templeton Rye at 3,351 cases, followed by Wild Turkey Rye at 2,750 cases. Sazerac Rye ("Baby Saz") is next at 1,158cases, Rittenhouse BIB and 86 have reported just 254 and 183 cases respectively.

    Why gather these numbers if we know they're not accurate? We know some (Beam's) are accurate. We know the others aren't high, we know they''re low, but we don't know how low.

    Even though they don't report, if Heaven Hill's or Sazerac's ryes were outselling Beam's, they'd figure out a way to get that information out there. Heaven Hill, for example, provides enough information about the sales of Evan Williams black label to support their claim that it ranks third after Jack and Jim.

    That Templeton Rye, sold in two states, is outselling Wild Turkey Rye, that is sold in 50, is fascinating too. High West sold over 1,000 cases, most of it Rendezvous Rye. Wasmunds Rye Spirit sold 787 cases.
    Last edited by cowdery; 06-04-2010 at 21:31.

  2. #2
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    Unhappy Re: Rye-ality

    I would buy rye whiskey, but nothing is available, here, except Jim Beam Rye. Maybe I will try that someday, but I would like to be able to get some of the "higher end" ryes.

    Tim
    Self-Styled Whisky Connoisseur

  3. #3
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    Re: Rye-ality

    Thanks for the info, Chuck. The numbers are quite astounding, really. I would never have thought Baby Saz and Rittenhouse BIB to be so low or Templeton to be so high. I'm doing my personal best to boost Rittenhouse's numbers but there's only so much one person can do. The real shocker is the relatively small number of cases being sold of WT Rye. That's quality stuff at a great price and widely available. Strange!
    "I distrust a man who says 'when.' He's got to be careful not to drink too much, because he's not to be trusted when he does." Sydney Greenstreet

  4. #4
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    Re: Rye-ality

    Also Baby Saz cases are only six.

    7000 Baby Saz and 3000 Ritt BIB just seems way too low.
    ~Robert BTOTY #2 2009

    GBS Member - 2011 Indoctrination

  5. #5
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    Re: Rye-ality

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post


    Next, astonishingly, is Templeton Rye at 3,351 cases, followed by Wild Turkey Rye at 2,750 cases. Sazerac Rye ("Baby Saz") is next at 1,158cases, Rittenhouse BIB and 86 have reported just 254 and 183 cases respectively.

    That Templeton Rye, sold in two states, is outselling Wild Turkey Rye, that is sold in 50, is fascinating too. High West sold over 1,000 cases, most of it Rendezvous Rye. Wasmunds Rye Spirit sold 787 cases.
    I have a habit of visiting way too many liquor stores and spending too much time perusing their American whiskey shelves. This often causes a verbal exchange between a store clerk or owner. I like to play along and let them talk, at least for a while. No other whiskey has been recommended to me more than Templeton Rye. Just the other day (where I finally found a 375 of 101 Frankfort ER) I heard again " I really love Templeton, you have to try it, we can't keep it in stock". They obviously have done a great job of marketing it and people really seem to like it, just like Jack and Jim. And by the way, not one store person has known it was not distilled in Iowa. I've even had to use my G1 phone's browser to convince several otherwise.

  6. #6
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    Re: Rye-ality

    Remember, we know the Sazerac and Rittenhouse (Heaven Hill) figures aren't accurate, as they only represent control states sales. I have, however, talked to both producers and have a good idea how much they are making. It's not much.

    Also, actual case size (e.g., six for Baby Saz) is irrelevant. Reporting is always done in "flat" cases, which are 9 L cases, the equivalent of a case of twelve 750 ml bottles. The case sizes are equalized for reporting purposes. So 100 4.5 L cases would be reported as 50 9 L cases.

  7. #7
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    Re: Rye-ality

    This is probably just my own limited experience but I've found a lot of people have a left over belief that rye whiskey is "rot gut" whiskey and won't buy it or try it. Most of the people that say that are too young by a long shot to have tried the highly adulterated rye whiskey that was circulated during the prohibition period. When I question why they believe that, the general reply is that's what they always heard.

    Strange how myths prevail long after truth has vanished.

    I like rye whiskey. Unfortunately, the only rye I've seen in my neck of the woods is the Jim Beam Rye and for a very short time the WT rye. The Beam rye was very mild in nose and taste. The WT was much richer to me. If you don't want a strong taste, Beam is the way to go and it's plentiful here.

    I usually have to travel to Tallahassee Florida and visit the Market Square liquor stores to find good whiskey selections.

    Ohhh Alabama ABC! Take down that wall!
    Often I am forced to deal with the fact that I prefer bourbon over dealing with facts.

  8. #8
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    Re: Rye-ality

    I find most people still think rye is canadian whiskey.

  9. #9
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    Re: Rye-ality

    Quote Originally Posted by tmckenzie View Post
    I find most people still think rye is canadian whiskey.
    I would agree with that, especially around here which, long after the demise of Hiram Walker and his company, is still CC country.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Rye-ality

    In honor of your post, Chuck, I'm doing my part and drinking Rittenhouse Rye. Very tasty.
    Amy
    __________
    Be good and you will be lonesome.
    - Following the Equator Mark Twain

 

 

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