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Craft Vodka on the Rise?

Craft Vodka

The vodka business is a perfect example to the power of consumer marketing. Per federal law, the best-selling liquor in America should be a neutral spirit; that is, without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color. While aficionados can tell the differences among the brands when drinking straight from the shot glass or on the rocks, the distinctions tend to be made by tipplers who douse their vodkas with cranberry juice and tonic water. Therefore, purveyors make an effort to advertise and elaborate bottles that look like pieces of modern sculpture. In fact, one brand went so far as hiring starchitect Frank Gehry for design.

According to Bloomberg reports, big vodka is starting its own version of craft revolution that has caused concern in large beer brewers. Just like beer, the total sales of vodka flat-lined in the US as more drinkers prefer whiskey and the top vodka (Smirnoff and Absolut) distillers are losing money to their rivals. They’ve been beset by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, produced by Fifth Generation in Texas, and New Amsterdam, which is made by California’s E&J Gallo Winery in California, whose combined sales bypassed the volume of Absolut in 2014.

Craft Vodka

Craft vodka products. Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for NYCWFF

While New Amsterdam doesn’t market itself as artisanal, Tito’s does. Tito’s proudly label itself as “crafted in an old-fashioned pot-still by America’s original microdistillery”. However, some buyers were disappointed to find out that this is just a description of the roots of the booze rather than the present day production process. While Tito’s hit the market when it was still a small-scale company, Forbes reported in 2013 that it had expanded into a 26-acre operation that produces 850,000 cases in 2012. Opportunistic drinkers later filed a suit claiming that Tito’s misled the consumers with their packaging. But most of the suits were recently dismissed by the judge.

Like most vodka producers, the company simply buys neutral grain spirits from a commercial manufacturer and distills them using their high-tech facilities to finish their product.

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The Irish Whiskey Aged Stout Available Only in Some States

Innis & Gunn, an award-winning independent brewer of oak-aged beers, will be releasing their cult-favorite winter seasonal in the US. The Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Aged Stout has been introduced in 2012 with a 7.4% ABV. Since then, it was a US hit that quickly sold out within just weeks of making it to the liquor stores’ shelves.

How is Innis & Gunn

The Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Aged Stout is a rich, complex, and very smooth whiskey that features dark chocolate and coffee flavors with a hint of honey and spice and oak/vanilla aromas. It has a velvety taste which leads to a satisfying finish of dark malts and whiskey.

“Ireland is known for its great stouts and its amazing whiskey. We’re paying tribute to both of them in our Irish Whiskey Aged beer,” said Dougal Sharp, the founder and master brewer of Innis & Gunn.

The beer is said to be matured in their Oakerator aging device on American oak that is instilled with Irish whiskey.

“We use a lightly toasted oak for this beer to match Irish whiskey casks, which are typically lightly charred. This produces more of the coconut and spice notes that you get in an Irish whiskey, and less of the caramel and vanilla notes you find in American bourbon,” according to the Sensory and Quality Manager of Innis and Gunn.

“It’s an especially unique beer for US fans of barrel-aged beer. It’s got a lot of oak and whiskey character but it doesn’t overpower the beer itself. It’s a very balanced mix of spirit and beer that’s hearty and delicious but also very quaffable,” she added.

Innis and Gunn Irish Whiskey

Innis and Gunn Irish Whiskey Oak Aged Stout at The Pint Las Vegas. Image by bevxusa.com

The Oakerator Device

The Oakerator device of Innis and Gunn gives a modern twist on the practice of barrel-aging. Rather than aging the beer in a barrel, it incorporates the barrel to the beer itself. The beer is processed in the modern device, which is filled with blends of toasted and spirits-infused oak in order to have a better and more consistent barrel-aged flavor. Sharp had conducted two years of extensive research to create the device. It went through trials at the popular brewing school at Edinburgh, the Heriot-Waite.

The Irish Whiskey Aged Stout is currently available in four packs of 11.2 ounce bottles and 5.5 gallon kegs at $9.99 SRP. It is available only in some states in the US, including Illinois, North & South Carolina, Ohio, Alabama, and etc.

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Get Ready for the Limited Edition Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016

Yamakazi sherry cask 2016

Suntory, the producer of the Best Whisky in the World in 2015, is set to introduce the single malt Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 in February after the success of their 2013 edition.

What you should know?

  • The Sherry casks where the 2016 edition has been matured are sourced by Shinji Fukuyo, Suntory’s master blender himself, from Spain.
  • The Sherry Cask 2016 is in great company as it will be joining the Yamazaki’s casks collection that includes bottles that were aged in oak, Bourbon, and Mizunara barrels.
  • Its base will be made up of similar kinds of whiskies that were used during the award-winning 2013 release. It will be bottled at 48% ABV. This no-age statement expression 2016 blend was actually matured for 2 more years. The blend also has a variety of rare sherry cask single malt whiskies that were carefully chosen from over 100 malt whiskies — some of them are more than 25 years old.
  • According to their master blender, the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 is blended for those who love refined and subtle tastes.
  • There will be a new bottle to hunt down in 2016 for Connoisseurs of Japanese whisky. It will be priced at Rs 20,000 and only 5,000 bottles will be sold in specialist whisky stores and bars starting on the 1st of February 2016.
Yamakazi sherry cask 2016

Yamakazi sherry cask 2016. From www.gqindia.com

The European Release

It was recently announced that Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 will be released in Europe. But since about 1,500 bottles out of the 5,000 are to be released in the Japanese market, it can be concluded that the rest will be shared between Asian, American, and European market. And while it is released in Japan in February 1st, it may take about a few weeks to months before it will be available in other parts of the world.

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The Best Gift You could Give to a Man?

Scotch Whisky Collection

In a world where gift-giving is part of the culture, Scotch whisky is definitely the best gift a man can get. Giving two leading whiskies that are steadily making its way to Indian market, a proof of how women celebrated its virtues as well.

Actress Chitrangada Singh told the INS during the launch of spirits major Diageo-USL’s Scotch Whisky Collection that, “Growing up, the strongest memory that I have when I think of parties, or a celebration, is my father pulling out a bottle of whisky, a Scotch whisky, for his friends.”

According to her, mostly her father would pull out a VAT 69 bottle. “He is a whisky drinker even now and he enjoys it, he savours it. He often talks about the art, the whole craft; the time it takes to make whisky… did I grow up on Scotch? Yes, I grew up on the smell of scotch… so; I think if I were to gift it, it’ll be a VAT 69 to my father who enjoys it even today, a good drink of whisky.”

Scotch Whisky Collection

Scotch Whisky Collection. Photo: depositphotos.com

Singh explained that she would give it as a present because she hears a lot of her friends talk about how they enjoyed Scotch whisky. “I would gift it because I do hear a lot of my friends (talk about it), a lot of my male friends enjoy it and I think a lot of young people are starting to enjoy Scotch whisky which is something that was something else earlier.”

There are four brands of the Scotch Whisky Collection: the Black Dog Triple Gold Reserve, which is a luxury blend of a premium aged malt and grain whisky that is matured in oloraso sherry casks for character and depth; the Black Dog Black Reserve, which is blended with a variety of malts from different regions of Scotland; Black & White with premium Speyside and Highland whiskies that will balance body and flavor; and, VAT 69, which is chosen among blends made by popular blenders.

If a person is a drinker, Scotch whisky is a very good gift, says Singh. It won’t be set aside in the corner; you’d know that it will be enjoyed by many people.

According to Shibani Dandekar, a sports anchor, it is actually the men who are hard to buy for (and not the ladies) because you don’t know the kind of shirt or ties they need. It is a taste-specific gesture that this dilemma has resulted to giving SWC collection because it is almost guaranteed that men will love it.

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EFFEN Vodka Introduces their Limited Edition Bottle

effen vodka

EFFEN Vodka and its partner, 50 cent, have just recently introduced their new limited edition bottle of the premium liquor. As it arrived right in time for Super Bowl 50, the elegant bottle is in a football sleeve textured case. It is stamped with Fifty’s signature and logo as well.

effen vodka

Just in time for game day! Image by dunk360.com

During the press release, 50 Cent said, “EFFEN is the perfect example of LIQUID LUXURY, and it’s taking over. This limited edition football bottle will raise the game for your football party.”

Last year, EFFEN Vodka partnered with 50 Cent, whose business and marketing strategies, influential networks, passion, and high energy levels helped out the brand. Their partnership had already succeeded in introducing EFFEN to legal age fans. The brand was marketed through sponsorships, social media and retail programming, as well as in 50 Cent’s performances, music videos, and network.

According to the Senior Brand Director of Vodka at Beam Suntory, Jason Dolenga, the partnership is just a preview of what’s in store for the people. “50 Cent is one of the hardest-working businessmen out there and has played an integral role in the triple-digit growth of EFFEN Vodka this past year. We’re excited to launch this limited edition football bottle to give our fans a taste of the exciting things to come from EFFEN and 50 Cent in the future.”

The limited edition bottle of EFFEN Vodka is available at selected retailers nationwide this month with an SRP of $35.99 per 750 ml bottle. It is made up of 100% premium wheat through a continuous process of distillation. True to its name, EFFEN Vodka gives out a crisp and smooth feel, creating a clean taste on the mouth. Its stylish rubber sleeve just shows how committed EFFEN is in providing premium vodkas with their modern design.

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How to Start a New Malt Whisky Business?

malt whisky

Jim Swan, a whisky consultant once said that if you are selling every little thing you make, you are making your own money. He advises all the distilleries about Scotland’s prized single malt whiskies. Single malts are whiskies coming from one distillery with the use of malted berry alone. This is most commonly offered at higher price than whiskies that are blended.

The industry is soaring high these days. According to Scotch whisky Association, there has been a 5% increase in the first half of 2015 amounting to £406m. While many business-minded people are considering a malt whisky business a good investment, it is a fact that not all can push this through.

Establishing this kind of business will need one to shell out millions of pounds first. A period of 10 years should be waited for the whisky to be ready for sale. With at least £5m, one can start making whisky and then spend more to continue making until the year comes when the whisky is ready to be sold.

malt whisky

What does it take to create a new malt whisky business? Photo(c): www.spirit-hunters.com

To be able to continue running a small puree, one should have at least £250,000 each year. The hardest part here is that eight to ten years may be needed in order to break even. But, still there are a lot of distilleries in Scotland, which is the largest single malt producer in the world. Apparently, there are 117 in total, and 30 of them are small and independent.

According to Douglas Clement, the founder of Kingsbarn Distillery, there will be huge challenges you are going to face when it comes to your initial investment and the waiting time for your product to be out the market. He also added that the only setback when it comes to whisky is that you will have to wait 10 years to see your profits.

Stuart Nickerson has also worked in the whisky industry for a period of three decades. He was with his wife and the couple Frank and Debbie Strang in establishing the Shetland Distillery. They use their own money and grant coming from Scottish Government’s economic and community development agency. In November 2014, they started selling.

Another man who has entered the whisky industry is Anthony Wills who founded Kilchoman Distillery. For him, it is all about weighing your options before starting the business.

These three men believe in the promise of whisky business. It comes with a lot of challenges though but for them, it will all be worth it.

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Whisky is Good for our Health!

whisky health

Whisky is among the best alcoholic beverage that you can drink. Not only does it have the least chances of giving you a hangover, but it is among the healthiest one around. You’d find that having a few shots of whiskey every week will help you to:

Prevent Weight Gain

Compared to other cocktail drinks, beers and wine, whisky is a low-calorie alcoholic drink that you can find on grocery and liquor stores. You may drink a bottle of whiskey without having to worry about gaining pounds. Thanks to its low sugar content!

Promote a Healthy Heart

Like wine and dark beer, whisky can also make the heart healthier. Not only does it reduce the chances of blood clot formation, it also lowers the risk for stroke and heart attack. The antioxidants found in whisky can prevent cholesterol from clogging up the arteries. It can even help increase good cholesterol levels.

Help Fight Cancer

Whisky is high in antioxidants that are known as ellagic acid. Ellagic acid prevents the body from coming into contact with carcinogens. Aside from that, it helps protect the body from chemotherapy and reduces oxidation in the body.

Enhance Brain Health

According to a study in 2003, drinking whisky helps reduce the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s. If you’re concerned that your brain has slowed down with age, it might be time for you to start drinking whisky to protect the brain from any damages.

Relieves Stress

Stress is one of the main causes of a wide variety of health problems in our body. Fortunately, we have whisky as stress relievers! Whisky helps in reducing stress and anxiety levels as it calms your nerves and helps relax our body. It promotes circulation throughout the body, thereby providing oxygenated blood to the organs.

whisky health

Health Benefits of Whisky. By www.wideopencountry.com

Memory Booster

The antioxidants found in whisky also have memory-boosting effects. This same property also helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, which helps keep the brain young and active.

Promotes Digestion

People drink whisky after meals to relax the body after eating heavily. It also helps curbing the appetite and prevents overeating. And what’s even better? It aids digestion, thereby reducing your risk of indigestion after a heavy meal.

Great for Diabetics

Because it has a zero-carb content, diabetic people can drink whisky without worrying much about their blood sugar levels. If you are one of them, a shot or two of whisky might just be right for you!

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What to Expect on the Golden State of Cocktails 2016

Golden State Cocktails

On its third year, the Golden State of Cocktails will be bringing about 3,000 people from the booze industry and cocktail fans to downtown’s Majestic event space, Sunday to Tuesday, for 3 days of tipsy seminars, lunches, and happy hours. The event aims to take a look at mixology, consumer trends, and how the spirits industry is today.

While GSC will only hold smaller events in San Diego and San Francisco, their marquee city will be Los Angeles, in the hopes of gathering the biggest crowds, as well as some of the most popular people in the business. This year, the award-winning bartender of the exclusive 365 Tokyo bar in Las Vegas, SeongHa Lee, will be hosting a Japanese whiskey tasting.

What are the other highlights of the event?

Among the highlights of the GSC events are Sunday’s Tiki Cocktails and Culture in a Modern Setting, which tackles about the revival of the tiki culture. Meanwhile, a talk on the effect of drought for the spirits industry and how to make drought-friendly cocktails will be held on Monday. On Tuesday, there will be a discussion about punch bowls, their origins, and how to make a perfect one. In partnership with Munchies, Vice’s food site, dinners will be held every evening at Girasol, Faith & Flower and Hatchet Hall.

Golden State Cocktails

Golden State of Cocktails returns to Los Angeles with drought-friendly drinks and plenty of whiskey. By goldenstateofcocktails.com

Brief History of Golden State Cocktails

The Golden State of Cocktails event was created by 213 Hospitality, a group that helped revive the nightlife among bars in downtown Los Angeles for the past few years. It is expected that the attendance will double compared to the previous years.

“This was just sorely needed in California. Many of us have been flying to cocktail weeks in London, Portland, New Orleans, New York City. And none of those were covering all the issues and tastes of California’s business climate and customer. Also, we wanted to unite California’s hospitality industry,” says Cedd Moses, the 213 Hospitality’s proprietor.

Meanwhile, the director of the event, Geoff Nudelman, said that, “Los Angeles has really come into its own as an international cocktail and spirits destination.”

To purchase tickets for the events and to know more about it, you may check their site online. The Daytime programs, which cost around $40, are open to anyone who is 21 years old and over. Most of the talks held during this time will come with samples according to the subject being discussed.

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Brown-Forman, Sazerac Co. Agreed on the Sale of Southern Comfort and Tuaca

Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

Brown-Forman Corp., which acquired Southern Comfort in 1979 and Tuaca in 2002, announced on Thursday that the company already decided to sell these liqueur brands to Sazerac Co, for $543.5 million

Southern Comfort, the sweet, whisky-flavored liquor has been into struggle in the market as flavors has been added to bigger whisky brands like Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and Crown Royal Regal Apple, which indeed pushed into its category. Besides, Southern Comfort has also been unseated as the flavored whisky like Sazerac’s Fireball Cinnamon Whisky becomes the choice of people in most bars. Tuaca on the other hand is an Italian liqueur with tastes of vanilla and orange that Brown Forman acquired in 2002, in which also been decided to be sold along with Southern Comfort.

Base on the company’s close monitoring, Southern Comfort sales fell another 7% on its sales volumes in October 31, six months after it declined by 4% to 2.2 million nine-liter cases in April 30. It is really been a big thing compared to Brown-Forman Jack Daniel’s line of brands that rose within the year to 7% or 21.3 million nine-liter cases.

Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

Brown-Forman selling Southern Comfort to Sazerac for $543.5 million | Lexington Herald-Leader

During an earnings call with analysts in December, Brown-Forman Executive Paul Varga said they really tried to prop up Southern Comfort even though most people already preferred a more traditional whisky and flavored options of famous brands like Jack Daniel’s and Crown Royal. The company still spent money for Southern Comfort last year, although it is already about to be sold and already looking for a buyer.

It spent for the release of video and song “ShottaSoCo” featuring actor Danny McBride that according to Spotify was a top-10 viral effort. “That’s evidence that the brand continues to get support and we continue to try to put our best foot forward in a really competitive environment for it,” Mr. Varga said.

The sale of Southern Comfort to Sazerac is expected to close March 1. The deal comes amid a prolonged slump for Southern Comfort. The sale is indeed very sensible for company’s strategy of getting itself out from producing challenged brands and noncore brands; as the company has already focused on Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve. These brands have grown in recent years in spite of a surge in the sales of American whiskey.

After buying Southern Comfort, Sazerac is thinking of a brand that is globally known. The company believes it can revitalize the sales of Southern Comfort, as what the company done for world’s fastest-growing brands like Fireball’s sales increase.

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The Best Whisky in the World? Not Scotch!

japanese whisky

Recently, the Japanese whisky has started competing with Scotch as the “sip of choice”. This is why when the popular spirits writer Jim Murray named the 2013 edition of the Suntory Whisky Yamazaki Sherry Cask as the best whisky in his 2015 Whisky Bible, this Japanese whisky have made it big.

What makes the Whisky Special?

According to Suntory, it’s all about the sherry. The company chooses Spanish casks that were utilized for sherry storage, and it’s the cask that added flavor to the single-malt whisky under the Yamazaki variety. Its complex blending process adds to its richness and mystique as well. The whisky product isn’t sourced only from the single cask, but a combination of many of them.

japanese whisky

A single-malt from Japan has been named the best whisky in the world. Photo by time.com

The officials of Suntory made it clear that the 2016 edition will be its own, a variety that differs from the popular 2013 edition. They assured customers, however, that it is from the same family; expect a little more depth to the 2016 edition.

The 2016 edition is said to be hot in the market. Suntory only released 5,000 bottles worldwide, and according to their brand ambassador Gardner Dunn, only a limited number of bottles will be sold in America. He also said that previous versions of Sherry Cask were sold out.

How to Enjoy Yamazaki Sherry Cask?

According to Suntory, it can be enjoyed in any way you please, with ice or on a little water. “We’re very much about never telling anyone how to drink your whisky,” said Dunn. But he suggests that it is best drunk neat, so you can taste its flavorful notes.

The 2016 Sherry Cask is an ultimately good whisky, with rich and refined taste all at once. It is delicious but not overpowering with a hint of chocolate and cocoa. It is clear that aging whiskies in those carefully chosen sherry casks definitely took the spirit to another level.

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