Welcome to the Straightbourbon.com Forums.
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 29
  1. #1
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Bristol UK.
    Posts
    272

    Where are The True Indpendent US Bottlers

    I recently bought a bottle of Cadenheads (a Scottish independent bottler of fine spirits). This was described as ~59% 11yo Frankfort distillery bourbon and was from a limited run of about 270 bottles (from memory). This is an incredible bourbon that I'm sure most forum members would love.

    For those of you who are not 'into' Scotch, Cadenheads along with Douglas Laing, is one of the most well respected Scotch whisky bottlers around and consumers can buy with confidence, whatever the country or distillery. Every bottle is different and provides a unique whisk(e)y experience. The labeling is transparent, such that no two Heaven Hill offering (say) can be confused.

    So to get to my question, where is the American equivalent ?

    I know we have stuff like Noah's Mill, but this is just a brand, which is aiming for consistency. I noticed Binny's have started doing their own single barrel bottling of BT (not available to me unfortunately).

    Rather than worrying about differences between PVW 15yo and ORVW 15yo, we could celebrate them. PVW 15yo is a new bottling, to be explored and enjoyed.

    An indpendent bottler offering single cask offering of different ages from different distilleries would be allow bourbon drinkers access to some of the variety Scotch drinkers have enjoyed for many years.

    Two years ago I was obsessed with trying as many American whiskeys as possible. Now I feel like I've tried practically eveything I wanted to and have been drawn back to Scotch.

    My favourite whisk(e)ys are still American, but I'm not ready to stop exploring yet. It seems to me there is just so much potential being untapped for American whiskey.
    Cheers,

    Sion (AKA Bamber).

  2. #2
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Oct 1999
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    867
    I seem to recall that I raised this issue back in the early days of the forum. I got the reply that in America everything was focused on brands, brands and brands again.

    If I remember right, I also managed to incur the wrath of the (occasionaly volatile) then member Linn Spencer. (To compare with Scotch was a no-no. )
    Delighted to see you if you can find me!

  3. #3
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Bristol UK.
    Posts
    272
    Quote Originally Posted by Hedmans Brorsa
    ....
    If I remember right, I also managed to incur the wrath of the (occasionaly volatile) then member Linn Spencer. (To compare with Scotch was a no-no. )
    You do get that from some Bourbon drinkers. I wonder if the situation in the Bourbon vs. Scotch debate is starting to switch. There seems to be a lot more acceptance of Bourbon by the Scotch drinking community of late.

    WLW recently got whisky of the month in Whisky Magazine and there was plenty of people at the Bourbon stands at Whisky Live in London.

    Scotch would do well to emulate Bourbons exacting standards re colouring, but I believe Bourbon can increase it's wider appeal (i.e. Europe), with better labeling and more single barrel offerings.

    At the end of the day it is up to the big brands to allow their whiskey to be rebranded. Most of the IB's we get in the UK are from Heaven Hill.

    Anyone fancy some 8-12yo SB barrel strength Maker's Mark or WT ?
    Cheers,

    Sion (AKA Bamber).

  4. #4
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    295
    The American whiskey market has been in a state of rapid change for a while now, and it may have been that "back in the early days of the forum" there might not have been a market for independent bottlings of specific honey barrels, I get the impression that that may have changed. This is sort of going on already with the purchases of barrels by SB denizens.

    All it really needs is somebody to do it commercially. The toughest part would probably be getting whatever licenses and permits are required to sell whiskey, and negotiating the distribution labyrinth. If each label requires a time-consuming and probably costly process to get it approved, that may be an impediment to doing a bunch of single-cask bottlings. IIRC the barrels that the SB folks bought were bottled as existing products (Weller 12, wasn't it?). But maybe a label could be approved with blanks to write in the distillery, cask number, age, etc. There are lots of brands now that have batch numbers, barrel numbers, etc. that differ from bottle to bottle: WTRB, Woodford Reserve, etc.

    If I had some capital to play with, this could actually be a fun part-time business. It is the kind of thing that could be started small and expanded if successful; even if it's not wildly successful I can't imagine it would lose money: there's just got to be a market for bottles of really good whiskey; the question is how much American whiskey that market is prepared to absorb.

  5. #5
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Bristol UK.
    Posts
    272
    Johnnie Walker started out as one shop. Surely the market is ready for Bourbon.

    My impression at the SMWS (Scotch Malt Whisky Society) bar is that whilst bourbon maybe does not get the respect it deserves, people will happily drink it and enjoy it.

    Seems to me the Scottish IB's are ideally placed to start buying barrels from the US. I can only imagine American distilleries are unwilling to sell them or the IB's are fearful about changing their image by bottling American whiskey.

    George T. Stagg sells for 100 a bottle in this country. I cannot believe quality barrels from well known distilleries would not sell easily.
    Cheers,

    Sion (AKA Bamber).

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2009 and Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Houston, Tx
    Posts
    1,800
    Hey Chuck......I think you are spot on with your answers above. The legal maze one must traverse to do single barrel, limited, unique bottlings is huge. And the costs associated with getting necessary state and federal approvals, etc is not insignificant.

    Again, as you stated above, members of this board and many retailers are essentially doing the same thing. We short circuit the process by tasting and purchasing barrels and have them bottled as a currently approved "label". These "special" barrels can be identified or described by using additional neck labels and neck tags. For example, several board members jointly purchased four barrels of Stitzel Weller whiskey from BT. They were bottled as Weller 12yo and have neck labels identifying each as a single barrel. The barrel I received has a label saying "Single Barrel of Stitzel Weller Bourbon/Distilled Summer 1992/Bottled Fall 2005". I could have added warehouse location, etc but that info doesn't interest me much. I now have bottles from six different barrels I either selected myself or participated in their selection.

    As Bamber noted, Binny's, in Chicago, has an extensive single barrel program. They are even able to have certain barrels processed differently, ie, bottled without chill filtering, etc. They have an excellent RHF done as a single barrel w/o chill filtering. Binny's is just one example. Even small retail shops are doing it now.

    When I was at BT during the Sampler, I saw at least fifty barrels selected by various retailers as single barrel products waiting to be bottled. Their single barrel bottling line is backed up for months. So, the answer to Bambers q about where are the special bottlings.......they are out there, just camoflauged as commercial bottlings and only at certain retailers. I'm quite certain a UK retailer could come to KY and purchase a "special" barrel and have it bottled as BT with their identifying label (or some other bottle available there).

    Randy

  7. #7
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Bristol UK.
    Posts
    272
    Well that sounds pretty much what I'm after Randy. Shame I cannot buy the stuff

    Seems like how the big blends like Johnnie Walker, and the rest started out. Retailers bottling their own brand.

    It's still a step away from having a Binny's or sb.com (say) own label, where they have bottled and branded the stuff themselves.

    Imagine sb.com offering a dozen single barrel offerings form different distilleries, with new stuff coming out every few months.

    I'm getting thirsty
    Cheers,

    Sion (AKA Bamber).

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2009 and Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Houston, Tx
    Posts
    1,800
    The issues are not insurmountable. LeNell (who posts here occasionally) owns a liquor store in NYC. She is in the process of creating her own label for whiskey for sale in her store. I recall her saying she recently picked the barrels for her initial bottlings....one of which is a barrel proof rye. So it can be done.....maybe she can describe the process from her perspective.

    I like your idea of a series of SB single barrel bourbons out in the retail market. I volunteer for the selection committee.

    Randy

  9. #9
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Bristol UK.
    Posts
    272
    Quote Originally Posted by doubleblank
    I volunteer for the selection committee.
    Randy
    I'll be an overseas correspondent please !!!!
    Cheers,

    Sion (AKA Bamber).

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Nelson County, Kentucky
    Posts
    2,735
    Quote Originally Posted by chasking
    The American whiskey market has been in a state of rapid change for a while now, and it may have been that "back in the early days of the forum" there might not have been a market for independent bottlings of specific honey barrels, I get the impression that that may have changed. This is sort of going on already with the purchases of barrels by SB denizens.

    All it really needs is somebody to do it commercially. The toughest part would probably be getting whatever licenses and permits are required to sell whiskey, and negotiating the distribution labyrinth. If each label requires a time-consuming and probably costly process to get it approved, that may be an impediment to doing a bunch of single-cask bottlings. IIRC the barrels that the SB folks bought were bottled as existing products (Weller 12, wasn't it?). But maybe a label could be approved with blanks to write in the distillery, cask number, age, etc. There are lots of brands now that have batch numbers, barrel numbers, etc. that differ from bottle to bottle: WTRB, Woodford Reserve, etc.

    If I had some capital to play with, this could actually be a fun part-time business. It is the kind of thing that could be started small and expanded if successful; even if it's not wildly successful I can't imagine it would lose money: there's just got to be a market for bottles of really good whiskey; the question is how much American whiskey that market is prepared to absorb.
    The independent bottler may soon feel the "pinch" for extra aged bourbon...That may put a slow down of private SB bottlings. It's been noted that the scope is "deperate"....

    There was a article in Whiskey Magazine about the shortage of extra aged bourbon. Not just one or two distilleries, but all of them. Mark Brown, Buffalo Trace, called it desperate...Stockpiles dropped 40% in 2004 the lowest since 1998. Max Shapria, Heaven Hill Distilleries, noted a increase in outage. The angle share incresased dramatically....

    No one can predict the future... I suspect that this pinch will last a few more years and things will level They have "the crystal ball" out and I can bet it's sayin'-----> "Mo' Bourbon"

    Bettye Jo
    Last edited by boone; 05-03-2006 at 12:06.

 

 

Similar Threads

  1. Bourbon-related obituary of a True American
    By Sijan in forum General Bourbon Discussion
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-12-2006, 18:22
  2. Is it true what they say?
    By Vision in forum General Bourbon Discussion
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 06-19-2004, 22:09

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Back to top