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Buffalo Trace Provides Updates on New Barrel Warehouses

Buffalo Trace distillery new warehouses

For the past few years, Buffalo Trace Distillery has been amidst a $1.2-billion dollar infrastructure investment — including new barrel warehouses.

At a capacity of 58,800 barrels each, these 10 additional warehouses gives the National Historic Landmark and trend-setting U.S. distillery with an onsite barrel inventory of more than one million aging whiskey barrels.

Buffalo Trace began filling its first new warehouse in the spring of 2018. This site is located on the adjacent 292-acre farm purchased several years ago. Since then, barrel warehouses AA through JJ have been filled. Buffalo Trace is currently working on Warehouse MM, and will continue to add future warehouses of the same size at a rate of one new warehouse every four months, until further notice. 

The new warehouses are seven stories tall, metal clad with insulation. The floors are wooden. Unlike most distilleries, Buffalo Trace heats its warehouses, starting with steam heat Col., E.H. Taylor, Jr. brought to the warehouses that he built in the late 1800s, and still used today on Buffalo Trace’s main campus. The heating for the new warehouses on the farm is a patented heating system in the floors with dual zones, so temperatures in each warehouse can be managed independently.

New Buffalo Trace warehouses under construction.

Buffalo Trace believes that these new, modern structures will elevate the distillery’s taste consistency.

“Consistency in a taste profile is much harder to maintain than most people realize,” says Harlen Wheatley, master distiller. “Any time you bring a new element into the equation, it has the potential to change the result. We’ve worked very hard to ensure our new aging warehouses are consistent in the taste profiles for which Buffalo Trace Distillery is known. We test all barrels in the new warehouses every 12 months and run them through a full sensory analysis to compare them to our ‘standard’ for that brand at the part in its aging cycle, and also compare them against barrels which have been aging the same amount of time in our more established warehouses on our main campus.

“We’re really happy the taste is consistent across the board and look forward to being able to release them once they’ve reached their aging potential,” Wheatley adds. “Along the way, we’ll continue to monitor them and run tests, as we do with all of our aging barrels, to make sure they are meeting or exceeding brand standards of quality.”   

Buffalo Trace has charted the progress of its new barrel warehouses for various elements, including temperature. The charts below compare the temperature inside in the first floor of barrel Warehouse AA, a “new” warehouse which holds 58,800 barrels, versus barrel Warehouse S, an “old” warehouse which holds 50,000 barrels, for the same time period: Jan 1, 2020 through Jan. 1, 2021.  The chart indicates that temperature fluctuation between the “new” and “old” warehouses is similar for the same time period.

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“It’s reassuring to see the temperature fluctuations over the year remain consistent between the two warehouses, despite the location differences between the two warehouses,” says Wheatley. “Through the years, we’ve gathered millions of data points on how the environment affects the whiskey inside the barrel. We know, for example, how important heating the warehouses are during the winter months, which is why we committed to continuing that tradition in our new warehouses we’re building. All of these data points give us great confidence that the bourbon we’re putting up today in our new warehouses will have the consistent flavor profiles our fans have come to expect.” 

This follows recent news from the distillery, the releases of Buffalo Trace Baijiu and Buffalo Trace Kosher Whiskey 2021.

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5 Luxury Liquor Brands Worth Splurging For

luxury liquor brands
Editor's Note: We welcome guest submissions like this article from our retailer readers.

What are the best luxury liquor brands?

The widely held belief is that an extravagant bottle probably reflects an uninspired cocktail. After all, any decent drink worth its value can sell itself no matter how it’s packaged — right?

However, with increased interest in premium offerings, a greater audience for luxury liquor stands out than ever before. Beverage companies are taking a closer look at how a fancy bottle can make their brands appeal to customers.

Here are a few premium liquor brands that will undoubtedly spark your liquor cabinet and make it look a bit extra fancy.

Bell’s Whiskey

Who is not impressed by Bell’s famous and iconic take on whiskey bottles? The style blends the traditional bottle shape with Bell’s brand to make something easily recognizable and delightfully unique.

Liquor brands add the cherry on top for royal weddings and big state occasions, influencing various versions of this style (each one is breathtaking).

The Macallan M Black 2017

Macallan ‘M’ Scotch Whisky

It is a distinctly premium liquor brand like whisky that takes influence from the distillery’s roots that stretches well back into Macallan’s heritage, with a preference for expressions aged in sherry casks.

The Macallan M comes in a spark decanter modeled by Fabien Baron and made by Lalique, who previously collaborated with Macallan on The Macallan in Lalique Series. This is wrapped in a deluxe box with a crystal stopper.

Tequila, Clase Azul Ultra

Collectors snap up the unique Clase Azul product, which is only made in numerical batches of 100 bottles. Clase Azul Ultra tequila is matured for five years in the frequently used sherry wood barrels from Spain, giving it a distinct polished character.

The Ultra flask is a work of art, hand-painted with platinum and featuring a silver agave pendant logo applied with 24-karat gold.

30 Year Don Pancho Rum

This rum is among the most recent in a long queue of rums made, distilled and blended by Don Francisco Fernandez after he left Cuba after nearly 40 years as the master distiller and brewer of Havana Club rum.

This was one of his most recent items in Panama, where he is now located as one of the premium liquor brands. A business legend, he is one of the first people worldwide to be given Maestro Ronero.

Hennessy 250 Collector Blend (PRNewsFoto/Hennessy)

In the 1970s, he was influential in modernizing Cuba’s rum industry. This rum’s manufacturing and bottling were minimal, with just 600 bottles made in total.

Hennessy 250 Collector Blend Cognac

The Hennessy 250 Collector’s Blend, honoring Hennessy’s 250th anniversary, pays tribute to two and a half decades of creativity, worldwide globalization and creative passion. This iconic liquor brand is the product of a thorough mixing and aging process, displaying strength on the palate with a delicate balance and aromatic tones varying from orange zest and freshly grated cinnamon to licorice, crushed peppermint leaf and spices. Each limited-edition bottle comes in a deluxe gift package.

Andrew Christian works as a store manager at Arrow Liquormart in Littleton, Colorado. He loves his combination of nature, wine and nerdy friends who appreciate his homemade wines. Read his recent blog post, We Love 5 of the Best Beer Brands of 2021, and You Will Too!

Feature photo by Victor Hughes on Unsplash.

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Interview: Talking Craft Beer Terpenes With Blue Point’s Adrian Hot

craft beer terpenes
Legalize Wheat is a new beer from Blue Point that contains terpenes.

Craft beer terpenes are among the latest innovations in the brewing industry. These are aromatic compounds found in many plants, often associated with cannabis, which contain terpenes in high concentration.

Obviously craft beer cannot contain THC. That remains against the law. But recent advancements in technology have allowed brewers to work with other botanical terpenes that mimic the tropical-fruit aromas of cannabis. Brewers like Blue Point, which released Legalize Wheat in celebration of the 4/20 holiday earlier this year.

Legalize Wheat is a 7.0% ABV Hoppy American wheat ale made with a Pineapple Express terpene blend, mimicking the famous cannabis strain. For a deeper dive into terpenes, we recently spoke with Adrian Hot, Innovation Manager at Blue Point.

Beverage Dynamics: What’s up with the rise of craft beer terpenes?

Adrian Hot, Innovation Manager at Blue Point.

Adrian Hot: I think it’s a fun conversation. Hops obviously have a bunch of terpenes themselves. And with recent technology, you can use botanical terpenes and plant-based aromatic compounds to help increase the aromatic experience of a craft beer.

We first experimented with this with our double IPA, Peripheral Drift. We used mango terpenes to emulate the aroma of Mango Kush cannabis. We were impressed with how well balanced it made out beer. It provided a huge pop on the nose that every IPA drinker is looking for. And brewers love to try to outdo one another with how complex of a nose can we create with different hop profiles.

BD: Legalize Wheat is an amazing pun. Where’d this beer come from?

AH: With April coming about, we wanted to do something with 4/20. So the concept of Legalize Wheat came about as a more approachable version of our terpenes DIPA. Legalize Wheat has a wheat base, soft and fluffy, easy to drink. It’s more of a 6-pack-kind-of beer. It has the intense aromatics of an IPA without the bitter finish.

With both of those projects, we were interested in how the terpenes could enhance the tropical fruit notes and dankness that we’re going for.

BD: What is the demo for beer with terpenes?

AH: When you make these beers, you’re targeting the beer geek who loves the nitty-gritty details, who loves the science behind brewing, who’s interested in how we make these aromas. These also speak to the hop consumers looking for more complexity in their beers.

BD: How has recent technology benefited terpenes beers?

AH: The technology actually already existed in other beverage categories, but the craft beer consumer has started looking for more complexity. That’s why more beer companies are now looking into terpenes.

With this technology, you can vapor-distill for clean, isolated terpenes, for the exact aromas you’re after. You can reformat terpenes to recreate and blend together cannabis flavors like Mango Kush. We can take a cannabis strain and see its individual cannabinoids and then reformat that using mint, basil and other botanicals — without using cannabis at all.

BD: How much do consumers understand terpenes?

AH: Terpenes in craft beer are still very novel at the moment. Obviously we want to stress the legality of this. We don’t want to mislead anyone. We want to allude towards cannabis strains without misleading anyone into thinking that there’s actual cannabis in our products.

With the broader legalization of cannabis, terpenes overtime could become more normal in beer. In the meantime, these are all TTB-approved. There are certainly some extra conversations with the TTB to make sure all our i’s are dotted and our t’s crossed.

BD: What’s next for craft beer terpenes?

AH: We’re in the process of doing a few different Legalize Wheat and Peripheral Drift variants with different terpenes blends. There’s a whole world of terpenes that you can reformulate to create different experiences.

Kyle Swartz is editor of Beverage Dynamics magazine. Reach him at kswartz@epgmediallc.com or on Twitter @kswartzz. Read his recent piece What Canada Tells Us About Trends in Cannabis Beverages.

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High West Launches Limited-Release Rendezvous Rye Label

High West Rendezvous Rye ed mell
The High West Rendezvous Rye label artwork by Ed Mell.

High West Distillery & Saloon has announced an exclusive rendition of Rendezvous Rye, with a new label.

The limited release features custom artwork by artist Ed Mell.

In keeping with the theme of the original High West labels, Mell designed the new Rendezvous Rye label to reflect a New West, Meets Old West aesthetic, with warm earth tones and a contemporary-inspired cowboy scene.

This latest release of Rendezvous Rye is available beginning Monday, May 3.

“High West’s newest version of our signature Rendezvous Rye gives whiskey enthusiasts plenty of reasons to toast this season,” says High West General Manager Daniel Schear. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with Ed Mell on the custom label, a look and feel which embodies the spirit of the West in a single bottle.”

This limited edition also kicks off High West’s transition of the fast-growing distillery’s flagship whiskey to a seasonal release. Showcasing the older side of rye whiskey, Rendezvous Rye has evolved to include more of High West’s own pot still rye, the company says, which brings elements of dried fruit, leather and candied ginger to the final product.

Ed Mell designed the new Rendezvous Rye label to reflect a New West, Meets Old West aesthetic, with warm earth tones and a contemporary-inspired cowboy scene.

A blend of straight rye whiskeys, this season’s Rendezvous Rye reveals notes of poached pear, bitter orange, ground ginger, lavender, wet sandalwood and tanned leather, the company reports. Flavors of persimmon, dried apricot, snickerdoodle, ginger chews, walnut sauce and spiced caramels are followed by a finish of cocoa nibs, allspice and toasted oak.

High West Rendezvous Rye can be purchased locally at High West General Store in Old Town Park City, High West Distillery on Blue Sky Ranch in Wanship, Utah, or state liquor stores for a suggested retail price of $69.99 per 750-ml. bottle.The bottle is available nationwide in stores and online by the end of May. 

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90+ Cellars Sancerre Rosé, New Branding

Reserve Series Lot 196 Sancerre Rosé
90+ Cellars Reserve Series Lot 196 Sancerre Rosé, plus refreshed looks for high-end offerings.

90+ Cellars has unveiled Reserve Series Lot 196 Sancerre Rosé, plus a refreshed look for the new vintages of Lot 126 Sancerre, Lot 27 Barbera d’Alba (both Reserve Series) and Lot 26 Barolo (Collector Series).

This is a continuation of the company’s new label rollout for their higher-end wines.

Sancerre may be best known for its world-class white wines made from sauvignon blanc, but the region also has a not-so-well-kept secret of making rosé wines from pinot noir, the company says. Reserve Series Lot 196 Sancerre Rosé is made from handpicked pinot noir grapes, originating from vines planted on clay and limestone in the village of Sainte Gemme.

The wine receives its pale pink color by allowing the skins of the grapes to mix with the juice for a short time, after which they are pressed and fermented.

Reserve Series Lot 196 Sancerre Rosé is lively on the palate, the company reports, with aromas of strawberries and watermelon, accompanied by hints of flinty minerality and crushed herbs. The wine is light bodied and silky with a hint of racy acidity. The suggested retail price is $25.99 per 750-ml. bottle.

Featuring new labels, Lot 126 Sancerre, Lot 27 Barbera d’Alba and Lot 26 Barolo retail for $25.99, $18.99 and $33.99, respectively, per 750-ml. bottle.

Lot 26 Barolo is the company’s longest-running Reserve line, now in its 12th vintage.

This follows the recent release of 90+ Cellars Lot 197 Prosecco Rosé. Their wines are available in retail locations across a number of key markets, and nationwide on ninetypluscellars.com.

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Brockmans Gin Spring Gift Pack

Brockmans Gin Spring Gift Pack
Brockmans Gin Spring Gift Pack.

Brockmans Gin has introduced a value-added gift pack for the spring 2021 season.

Available in select markets, this pack includes a 750-ml. of Brockmans Gin, a Brockmans cocktail recipe booklet and a Spanish style Copa Glass for gin cocktails.

The gift pack is designed to provide shoppers with a gifting option, and retailers with a value-added package to drive incremental sales of Brockmans during the spring 2021 season.

“Brockmans Gin is intensely smooth offering an exquisitely versatile and complex taste experience,” says Matt Argenti, Brockmans Gin USA brand director. “Its’ signature taste is created with a blend of botanicals including blackberries, blueberries, coriander, bittersweet orange peel and juniper berries and presents shoppers with an impressive gifting option and the ultimate centerpiece for any spring celebration.”

Brockmans’ value-added gift pack is now available for a suggested retail price of $34.99 per VAP.

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Casamigos and Williams Sonoma Release Cocktail Mixes

Casamigos Williams Sonoma Cocktail Mixes
Casamigos Hibiscus Strawberry Smash.

Casamigos and the consumer retail company Williams Sonoma have announced two new cocktail mixes as part of the Casamigos for Williams Sonoma collaboration.

The new Casa Colada and Hibiscus Strawberry Smash cocktail mixes were developed in partnership with Casamigos, the fast-growing tequila and mezcal brand from George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman.

Casamigos Hibiscus Strawberry Smash features herbal hibiscus tea and the sweetness of strawberry juice and puree. 

Casamigos Casa Colada is a balance of creamy coconut with zesty lime, a hint of cinnamon and a splash of agave for natural sweetness, the company says. Garnish with a wedge of lime.

Casamigos Casa Colada.

Each cocktail mix allows customers to make cocktails by combining the tropical mixers with ice and Casamigos Reposado or Blanco tequila. Each mix is 25.4-oz. (approx. 12 servings) and retails for a suggested price of $18.95 per bottle.

The two new flavors mark the latest expansion of the collaboration between Williams Sonoma and Casamigos, which includes six cocktail mixes, three rimming salts and multiple gift sets.

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Interview: What Canada Tells Us About Trends in Cannabis Beverages

cannabis beverages trends canada
The Kindred Canada portfolio of cannabis beverages includes the brand everie.

For a preview of future trends in cannabis beverages in America, look to Canada. Our neighbors to the north officially legalized recreational marijuana nationwide in 2018. That provides a look ahead for how the industry might play out longer term in the U.S., as CBD’s popularity continues to grow, and federal legalization increasingly gains support in Washington D.C.

With that in mind, we recently sat down with David Prodanovic, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Kindred Canada. Kindred is the Canadian cannabis brokerage firm for Breakthru Beverage.

Beverage Dynamics: What do consumers look for in cannabis beverages?

David Prodanovic: High THC and great taste are two characteristics driving consumer behavior when it comes to cannabis beverages. Beyond that, consumers seek options at a more affordable price point, plus products that contain natural flavors and low sugar. The latter two speak to the broader health-conscious consumer behavior trend that transcends industries. Our portfolio captures a good mix of options for consumers, including two different brands of tea bags that are a mix of THC and CBD, and CBD sparkling beverages in a can, all of which have been well received in the market.

BD: What’s the demo for CBD drinks? How about THC?

David Prodanovic, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Kindred Canada

DP: For CBD drinks it’s a lifestyle choice. We see health-conscious consumers looking for benefits to help with sleep, anxiety and pain management, among others. When it comes to demographic trends, it leans slightly towards female consumers, both current and new CBD users.

THC drinks are different in that we see male consumers favoring this format, often with the highest THC possible. In most cases these drinks are sought out by current cannabis consumers.

BD: How important are flavors for these drinks?

DP: It’s the most important factor, along with sugar content. Those products that offer great taste and low sugar are leading the pack. Health-conscious consumers are always looking for approachable, natural flavors that are not overly sweet. Our portfolio has a diverse mix, and we counsel our suppliers on high-performing trends in the marketplace, working more as a partner in that sense. This is not unlike trends in the beverage alcohol space.

BD: How important is functionality in cannabis beverages?

DP: The pandemic amplified an already rapidly growing trend for consumers seeking the products they want — when and where they want them. That’s why cans are and will remain the leader, given their ease of use and mobility. When we look at the current market, cans made up nearly half of total cannabis beverages, far outpacing the next closest options like powders or bottles.

BD: What’s next for cannabis beverages?

DP: Right now, cannabis beverages only represent about 2% of total cannabis sales. But we’re confident in the growth potential of this segment, and expect to see year-over-year growth for the next three to five years. There is a high likelihood that these products will gain a similar percentage of market to other edibles in the near future, which is a priority for Kindred, because we see this as a great way to grow the consumer base and, therefore, the size of the market. Drinks also fit into established lifestyle activities, so the more we can get our brands into existing occasions the better  

And of course, innovation is key. Producers need to remain innovative with every aspect of their product, similar to the ready-to-drink (RTD) market, to capture and keep consumer interest.

BD: When will cannabis beverages enter the mainstream?

DP: Cannabis beverages represent a critical opportunity for the industry, given their widespread appeal to regular users as well as new consumers. We see beverages as a critical component of overall industry growth, as consumers enter the market and try products other than flower.

Ultimately, the size of the segment will be somewhat limited, due to current restrictions in place on quantity of active ingredients, as well as a relatively high price point compared to other segments. Regardless, we see a bright future for cannabis beverage, and are excited to help expand it to more consumers.

Kyle Swartz is editor of Beverage Dynamics magazine. Reach him at kswartz@epgmediallc.com or on Twitter @kswartzz. Read his recent piece The 2021 Spirits Growth Brands Awards — Celebrating Top-Selling Brands.

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Tullibardine Unveils Two U.S.-Exclusive Single Malts

Tullibardine artisan 12 Year Old
Tullibardine Artisan and Tullibardine 12-Year-Old.

Tullibardine and Prestige Beverage Group have announced the release of two new single malt scotch whiskies created exclusively for the U.S. market — Tullibardine Artisan and Tullibardine 12-Year-Old.

Tullibardine Artisan matured for its entire life in ex-bourbon barrels. It’s bottled at 80 proof, and reflects the distillery’s floral and cereal character. The nose is soft, honey and heather with hints of grassy meadows, hints of vanilla, creamy fudge and subtle oak aromas, the company reports. On the palate is sweet barley sugar, liquid honey and vanilla, with hints of malted biscuit before a finish that’s warming, gentle spice. 

Tullibardine 12-Year-Old is the brand’s new signature single malt for the U.S. market. It matured in first fill ex-bourbon casks for a minimum of 12 years. This is a creamy expression, bottled at 80 proof, with notes of soft citrus, toffee apples and freshly baked biscuit, the company reports. The nose features floral notes with creamy vanilla and aromas of Muscovado Sugar. The finish is creamy barley sugar flavors.

Both 750-ml. bottles hit shelves now, with an SRP of $29.99 for the Artisan, and $44.99 for the 12-Year-Old.

These new expressions are available in Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., Fla., Ga., Hawaii, Ill., Ind., Iowa, Ky., Minn., Neb., N.D., Neb., Nev., N.J., N.Y., S.D., Tenn., Texas and Wis.

“We are delighted to introduce these exclusive single malt expressions to the United States, which reflect the outstanding quality and craftsmanship of our whiskies,” says Michael Elliott, general manager at Tullibardine Distillery.

These expressions join Tullibardine’s current U.S. offerings of 228 Burgundy Cask Finish, 500 Sherry Cask Finish, 15-Year-Old, 20-Year-Old, 25-Year-Old and The Murray Double Wood Edition.

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Podcast: Responsible Alcohol Practices in 2021

responsible alcohol

Responsible alcohol practices remain extremely important in the (hopefully) final leg of the Covid-19 pandemic in America.

The 2020 health crisis completely changed the alcohol industry with cocktails to-go, direct-to-consumer shipping and alcohol ecommerce. These and other pandemic challenges necessitated adaptation from beverage alcohol regulators, who stepped up with responsible alcohol practices tailored to our modern crisis.

In this latest On & Off podcast episode, we recall these challenges from 2020, and also look ahead for what’s next in responsible alcohol practices in 2021. Editors Melissa Dowling and Kyle Swartz interview Steve Schmidt, Sr. Vice President for Public Policy and Communication for the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA). Listen below:

Like that podcast episode? Check out our recent episodes:

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