The author’s comments about MGP’s deft use of rye got my attention…
Interesting! I have heard mixed reviews and concerns regarding this distillery’s operation. There are some who feel what they produce for these craft labels to age on their own is barely consumable because of the mass quantities. I, for one, was disheartened to learn (probably three or four years ago when one of the first articles about this place came out) that so many expensive bottles are filled with this cheap and very much not unique alcohol.
I was never into craft beers, and remain skeptical of craft whiskies. I know there is a world-wide obsession with “craft” and “small batch” anything, especially in my age group, but I really wish people would stop mistaking those two terms for a guaranteed superior product. That is not always the case.
Thanks for sharing.
Here is the original article I remember reading. It used to be entirely free, but now cuts off. Still, the gist is there.
These are the standard selling points of the craft-distilling movement, with its locavore lingo, terroir talk, and handmade hype. But, in the new crowd of micro-distillers, it is now standard for the alcohol being sold to come not from their own distinctive stills, but from a hulking factory in Indiana.
Nice add, Greg. Definitely has my attention.
I don’t like to discourage people from drinking what they want, but people should know what they are drinking. Bulleit is almost $30 a bottle here and they are buying mass-produced starter whiskey from Indiana? That’s a con to me. I say this actually enjoying how Bulleit tastes, but it will never be my go-to.
I also read that Knob Creek (even pricier) buys their starter whiskey from Jim Beam ($18 a bottle). People often associate Knob Creek as “high end” and Jim Beam as “cheap shit”. They might think differently with a little research.
The other con, and this really is just a coincidence, is that this Indiana distillery happens to be located in a Lawrenceburg, which is too easily confused with Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, one of the capitals of bourbon production. People see a cool, old timey-looking label and that is all it takes.
Where I live (South OC) a craft spirits bar has opened recently. They stock and offer tastings of dozens of ‘craft’ spirits, as well as ‘craft’ beer and high end wine. Haven’t ventured in yet.
Good points all, Greg.
Seems the whiskey “map” and the beer “map” have changed dramatically since international conglomerates chose to interfere in these markets.
Was at the liquor store the other day, and damn it, rehashing this article made me start reading labels again for where the whiskey is distilled. One by one: Indiana, Indiana, Indiana. Rather disheartening.
Finally picked up a bottle of Elijah Craig. They’ve been around forever, but I never got around to trying it. The label said produced and distilled in KENTUCKY as all proper bourbons should be. I bought it. I was actually blown away by not only the flavor, but by how smooth it is. I cannot be more descriptive with tasting notes or the “nose”, but I will just say this is what bourbon should taste like. Priced at $27.99, it was a better bourbon experience than some bottles I have had for $75. I read that it is a blend of 8 and 12 year old bourbons. Fine by me at that price point.
Personally, I think Elijah Craig is a great Bourbon. And still “under the radar” of most drinkers.
I just cannot believe they are made by Heaven Hill, arguably my least favorite bourbon.
The big factory distilleries produce better product than the small craft distilleries most of the time. MGP produces lots of whiskey, most of it very good. I have friends who own quite a few brands that are excellent that source superior barrels from them for their products. As for buying very young or unaged barrels or bulk and aging yourself as some brands do. That is a crapshoot. Hard to tell until barrels are 2+ years old how good it will be. As for the comment on “proper” bourbon should be made in Kentucky. That is an uneducated statement. You have your opinion, but no facts to back it up.