Archive for November, 2015

Alcohol Poisoning in Russia Left 8 Dead and Many Hospitalized

whisky jack daniels

There have been thirty people from Krasnoyarsk, a city in Siberia, rushed to the hospital and 8 have died from consuming toxic alcohol. According to some reports, the poisonous whisky had about 60% of extremely toxic methyl alcohol that can cause blindness and death when taken by humans.

“It can accumulate in the nervous system causing Parkinson’s-like symptoms — uncontrollable tremors, rigidity and paucity of movement. Part of your brain ceases to respond as it should,” says Dr. Sarah Jarvis.

Hospitals have long been admitting poisoning victims since November 21 and they fear there will still be more of them. According to hospital doctors, many of these victims belong in the middle class rather than the homeless or marginalized, who are usually the victims of extreme alcohol poisoning.

The Krasnoyarsk police said that the toxic bottles were purchased online for a very low price (250-300 roubles per bottle or $3.75 to $4.50), which makes it attractive to most consumers. They were packaged with “realistic labels” that can easily fool ordinary consumers.

Two Russian men, 25 and 29 years old, have been detained by the police and are under interrogation in order to find out who manufactured the poisonous alcohol and, whether or not, it had been shipped to other cities in Russia.

whisky jack daniels

How to verify the authenticity of the alcohol. By

“We are co-operating with the Russian authorities as they investigate the incident. The best way for consumers to protect themselves from such counterfeit product is to buy from reputable retail stores,” says Phil Lynch, the director of corporate communications of Jack Daniel’s, to the Daily Star Online.

According to Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee, this incident suggest that there are criminal groups operating in Russia that are the cause of these deaths and are perfectly aware of the consequences. They also won’t rule out the possibility that the alcohol was smuggled from abroad.

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What You Should Know About Whiskeys

bourbon whiskey

A freshly distilled Glenlivet in 1964 would have been clear and have tasted cereal-rich, slightly smoky, brightly fruity, and a bit solvent-like. However, it needed time to mellow down in a barrel.

More than 50 years later, the liquor is now deep amber in color without the hint of its smoky aroma. The fruity notes have become richer; there are caramel, chocolate, honey, and toffee characteristics; and there’s a hint of tannic dryness. Most of the initial alcohol has evaporated in the barrel, which left only 100 bottles available in the market.

How Whisky is made

Like any other spirit, whisky is influenced by its environment — the type of barrel, the charring in the interior, as well as the place where the barrel is stored. Over the course of time, these factors make a huge impact on the color, feel, and flavor of the whisky. And although we don’t have an idea about the magic of aging a barrel, we do know that it is extremely significant.

By law, bourbon must be aged in an unused, charred wood barrel; meanwhile, Scotch whisky is aged in barrels that have been previously used for bourbon or sherry. While bourbon is being aged in American oak barrels; Scotch whisky is often aged in European oak.

Barrels are usually toasted in Europe and charred in the US before it is used to age whiskies. The charring will serve as filters of the spirit as it partially removes flavors that are undesirable to the taste — it works just like water filters work at home.

bourbon whiskey

Whiskey is a fantastic beverage to sip, shoot, or enjoy with coke, but do you really know everything about your favorite adult beverage?. Image from

How Barrels affect the Flavor

The wood used in the Barrel adds flavor to the whisky: lignin adds vanilla and marzipan-like flavors; while lactone gives butter coconut flavor. Lignin and lactones constitute the major part of what is called the “wood flavor”.

The wood spice, on the other hand, is composed of another set of compounds. The tannins give an astringent flavor — they can also be found in teas and walnuts, giving a similarly dry mouth feel. Tannins extract the sweet butterscotch taste of whiskeys over time, making it taste more like an old wet log.

Finally, the smoke flavors of whisky are measured by the amount of phenols. Despite being associated with campfire smoke, phenols that are aged in a whisky barrel don’t blow away during windy days; but, rather transform there.

Bryan Davis of Lost Distillery said, “The longer you age, the more the phenols bond with other things in the solution to form new compounds like phenylated carboxylic esters, which tend to taste like honey. In a way, you trade smoke for honey.”

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The Growth of the Luxury Spirits from 2010 to 2020

Luxury spirits is referred to as the aggregation of the luxury brands in every category in terms of price and their status within their category.

According to the figures from Euromonitor International, the value of luxury spirits market will reach £12.8 billion in 2020 based on the current exchange rates and prices.

On the other hand, the volume of sales made in the spirits category is thought to slow down to a near stop from 2015 to 2020, says the recent research by the IWSR.

The main player in the luxury spirits market will still be the US with a growth in value to £4.9 billion in 2020 from £2.5 billion. Meanwhile, the UK is expected to have a growth from £432 million to £525 million.

Different categories of luxury spirits are expected to grow by the end of this current decade; most notably mescal/tequila, and whisky — from £579 million to £1.2 billion and £1.9 billion to £4.1 billion.

whisky exchange

Luxury Spirits Gifts. Image:

Global growth of luxury spirit in the last half of the decade (2015 to 2020), however, will be slower than the last 5 years. This growth slowdown will only affect some of the major markets. The US, who has seen 52% growth in 2010 to 2015, will only be seeing a 31.1% growth in 2015 to 2020.

According to Spiros Malandrakis, the senior analyst of Euromonitor International, the major benchmark of the Luxury spirits industry is the great recession. Western luxury brands were pushed to focus more on developing nations and China. And although China has suffered from recession, they are still open to western companies.

“But the latest benchmark in luxury spirits has been this bubble in China bursting, in line with crackdown on extravagant spending brought in by the government. This came at a time when sophistication of the Chinese palate increased,” says Malandrakis.

However, the biggest issue recently has been on how luxury brands would stand out from its standard and premium counterparts.

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Wholesale Irish Whiskey: Supporting Economic Growth

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Comepcon reports for The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey company that small Irish Whiskey brands might experience serious supply shortages without establishing a wholesale market for a bulk Irish whiskey. They also reported significant barriers to entry for companies entering the Irish whiskey market which can be addressed through bulk wholesale.

The findings were based on the analysis of the performance of the industry for Irish Whiskey and its ability to contribute to the economy of Ireland compared to the Scotch whisky industry.

whiskey brands

Scotch VS Irish Whiskey: What’s The Difference?. Photo(c):

The Main Points for the Report

  • In terms of exports, Scotch whisky has exported over $5.3 billion in 2014; while Irish whisky exported only $372 billion.
  • Unlike the Scotch whisky industry, Ireland don’t have a functioning market for wholesale whisky; thereby, creating doubts in costs and supply from new entrants.
  • The wholesale market for whiskeys in Scotland has encouraged the growth of the industry, having about 5,000 blended whiskeys and hundreds of malts. This enabled entrants to create their own brands.
  • In Ireland, there are only 4 distilleries that produce mature whiskeys; while in Scotland, they have about 115 operational distilleries, with 30 new facilities that are still under construction.
  • There are several barriers to entry in Irish whiskey industry, such as the mandatory 3-year maturation period before products are sold.
  • Currently, there are several companies that created Irish whisky brands; however, they were undermined due to the lack of supply of mature whiskeys.
  • The creation of a wholesale market for Irish whiskeys would be a very effective way of promoting new exports from Irish whiskey companies.
  • Having more whiskey brands might yield significant benefits in Ireland’s economy in terms of employment, production, and exports.

According to the Director of Compecon, Pat Massey, their analysis shows the fundamental challenges that the smaller Irish whiskey brands are facing in Ireland recently. Although there is an increase in demand for it, at home and abroad, potential small companies at large are stifled due to the lack of adequate support measures from the industry.

He added that the wholesale market is crucial for SMEs to be successful at the early stage of business; it is essential for the entire industry as well. According to the Irish Whiskey Association, it should be deemed possible to enter the whiskey market without having to build distilleries.

The Chairman and Co-Founder of The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey, Andre Levy, said, “Issues such as high cost of market entry, the presence of larger established market players, controlling supply and the difficulty in accessing a long-term and competitive mature whiskey supply. These are prohibitive to new market entrants and threaten existing brands looking to survive, grow sustainably and share in the category they played a part in growing.”

Levy also calls for the Irish Government to support the immediate establishment for wholesale market of Irish Whiskeys; adding that they believe that the Government has an essential role in supporting the SME sector as they continue to work to help economic growth.

The Irish Whiskey Association, on the other hand, says that properly functioning internal wholesale market is essential to encourage new entrants, decrease the risk of business models, as well as to encourage a more efficient use of capacity.

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Utah’s Top Liquors

While wine is considered to be the most popular drink of choice in Utah, the top-selling branded alcoholic products are actually Barton vodka, and Jack Daniels’ Black Label whisky.

Barton Vodka has the most units sold in the overall alcoholic beverages category. They’ve sold around 666,572 bottles from September 2014 to September 2015, says the data collected by the Utah Department Alcoholic Beverage Control. Their sales went up to $4.9 million this year.

Mixed Drinks on Restaurants

Vickie Ashby, the state spokeswoman, said that Barton vodka is often bought by restaurants to create a cocktail or mix drink, as well as drink specials. According to her, “Bartons is the cheapest”.

Popular Drinks According to Sales

The Taaka vodka placed second for having 363,092 bottles sold. While Fireball Cinnamon whiskey and Smirnoff vodka placed 3rd and 4th, respectively. Jack Daniels’ Black Label, on the other hand, made it to the 5th spot having over 200,000 bottles sold.

Jack Daniels as Top Earner

Black Label is also the overall top dollar earner in the state, having $6.1 million in sales with 234,097 sold last year. Meanwhile, Crown Royal whisky placed second, and Barton vodka came in third. Fireball Cinnamon Whisky and Jagermeister sold over $4 million in sales, joining the top 5 alcohol sales in Utah.

fireball whiskey

The Top Selling Liquor in Utah. By

Wine Statistics

Utah, the wine-loving state opts for the white varieties. This includes the top dollar earner Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve chardonnay which sold 55,029 bottles in total, having a net sale of $902,000. Vendange chardonnay, on the other hand, has the most units sold with 70,565 bottles, having $221,000 in net sales. Although it was reported last year that over 8.2 million gallons were consumed by the residents last year, the lower wine product numbers this year are due to the wide variety of brands and variants sold, according to Asshby.

Beer Statistics

In terms of beer, Icehouse is the top-selling brand as it sold about 1 million units; having net sales of $1 million. Squatters Hop Rising Double IPA, on the other hand, sold the most in cash sales with net sales of $1.6 million, selling a total of 872,859 bottles.

Squatters are based in Salt Lake City. It is among the craft breweries that had helped raise the beer sales in the state by 9 percent this year — considered to be the “biggest” jump in 5 years.

Note, however, that the numbers don’t include those that are sold in grocery stores that contain less than 4% (based on the law of the state). Utah doesn’t actually keep track of those sales.

According to Jim Olsen, Utah Beer Wholesalers Association’s president, although Icehouse is still popular, the generation of millennial beer drinkers want a variety of tastes and flavors.

Utah’s Liquor Sales

Utah is among the states in the country that is run by liquor sales. In fiscal 2015, the state had $396 million in total sales of liquor, marking an 8% increase from 2014; it is also more than double from 10 years ago. According to data available, liquor sales have increased since 1996.

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First Ever Canadian Whisky to Win the Whisky of the Year Award

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Jim Murray, the renowned whisky writer, awarded Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye as the 2016 World Whisky of the Year — the first time in history for a Canadian Whisky to receive an honor. Canadian and Rye whisky has been increasingly popular among whisky aficionados and consumers lately.

“Crown Royal Northern Harvest pops up out of nowhere and changes the game. It certainly puts the rye into Canadian Rye. To say this is a masterpiece is barely doing it justice,” says Murray as he awarded them, with a record of 97.5 out of 100 points.

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From Purple Felt Drawstring Bags to 2016 World Whisky of the Year. Photo courtesy:

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye was only released in the US early this year. It features the distinct Canadian rye whisky that consumers loved throughout the years. This latest variant is the first ever blended variant with 90% rye whisky. It gives out a smooth and spicy flavor which can be blended with rye cocktails. You can also have it neat or on the rocks, depending on your preference.

“Crown Royal Northern harvest Rye showcases the rye whiskey that has been such an integral component of the Crown Royal Deluxe blend since 1939. This is a testament to the unbelievable blending and distilling that’s been taking place in Gimli for over 75 years. We are thrilled that Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye has been named World Whisky of the Year!” says the Vice President of Crown Royal, Yvonne Briese.

The recognition from the whisky community comes after they’ve launched their new campaign entitled “The One Made for a King”. This campaign was created to share the 75-year-old brand’s history, as well as its credentials with some of its consumers. It will come out in digital and social, as well as print and TV.

Aside from the 2016 World Whisky of the Year award, the Crown Royal Northern Harvest was also awarded with a double gold medal during the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This new variant is part of Crown Royal’s wide portfolio of variants that whisky drinkers would love to enjoy; this includes the Crown Royal Regal Apple. The Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel was also a recipient of a double gold recognition and a winner of the “Best Canadian Whisky” award during last year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

As Crown Royal raises a glass in celebration winning an award for their Northern Harvest Rye, they are still keen on reminding their consumers to drink responsibly.

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Scotch Industry Booms in US

red label whisky

According to recent studies, the exports of single malt Whisky to the US has increased by 60% from 2004 to 2014.

Richard Lochhead, the Cabinet Secretary for Food and Drink, met with the President of Distilled Spirits Council of the US, Dr. Peter Cressy, the members of the council, representatives from each Scotch Whisky companies, as well as the retailers to celebrate the success of the Scotch industry and promote quality products.

Mr. Lochhead says that the USA has been the biggest market for whisky exports and these have been proven by research. He notes that Americans clearly have great taste in alcohol and that they know how to appreciate the finer things in life.

“America is a key, and important, growth market for a range of our products and it’s great to see that our whisky exports are going from strength to strength,” says the cabinet secretary. “Scotch whisky is so popular that we export a bottle a bottle every 40 seconds and I’ve definitely been impressed by the enthusiasm for our fine malts in the US.”

red label whisky

Johnie Walker Whiskey. Image:

The Red Label Whisky

The Red Label is the pioneer blend of the Johnnie Walker scotch; it was the first one to be introduced around the world.

Who doesn’t love whisky and limited edition alcohol? Diageo PLC with Global Trading Concern, their official distributor, launched a limited edition of Johnnie Walker Red Label in a one-liter bottle.

The limited edition bottle showcases the bold taste and flavors of the Red Label. Its bold liquid is featured with the use of red-colored bottle that will surely standout on the shelves. Aside from that, it is also used to signify good luck, celebrations, strength, and brave decisions.

Drinking a Whisky

Since whiskies are popular today, more and more people are getting on board with drinking it at the bar. If you are one of them, then you know how important it is to drink like a pro especially when you are in public.

According to David Miles, Maxxium UK’s Mixxit Manager, “The most fundamental rule of whisky drinking is drink your whisky any damn way you want to. Do not be bullied by people who say everything has to be a certain way.”

Another important thing is to know the casks where the whisky is aged in. There are two types of casks; bourbon and sherry. And the difference between the two isn’t just seen in the obvious, but it can be tasted. Bourbon has a vanilla feel with hints of tropical fruit in it. Meanwhile, sherry has fruity, nutty notes. What you order depends on your taste.

Note that water can open up the whisky, making savor the taste and smell the flavor. According to Miles, start with just a small drop and then go from there. He wouldn’t recommend scotch on the rocks because it is very volatile at room temperature; that is the reason for its strong smell. Instead, drink it with ice.

To those who say that scotch shouldn’t be added in cocktails, you can do actually do it. Miles says you can actually enjoy a whisky sour, blend the spirit with lemon and sugar. Or, you can try it as a base of a long drink with ginger ale and soda water.

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