Here's a little news round-up from Bourbon Country.
Beam Inc. has reported its second quarter results. Sales are up and bourbon is why. In worldwide sales, Jim Beam itself is up 11 percent for the year, Knob Creek is up 9 percent, and Maker's Mark is up 29 percent. That's pretty incredible, but there is another Beam bourbon that is doing even better: Basil Hayden, up 33 percent.
Almost everything in Beam's portfolio is up. Effen Vodka is one notable exception. When Beam bought Effen Vodka from Sazerac three years ago, I said it was a mistake. Sure enough, Effen sales are down 14 percent, probably because Beam has lost interest in it since Beam now has Pinnacle Vodka, a much bigger brand and one that is not based on a vulgarity.
This month, Sazerac's Buffalo Trace Distillery will releases the sixth round of Single Oak Project bourbons. Twelve of these experimental bourbons are released each quarter. With release six, therefore, the score is 72 released, 120 to go.
Each release has a theme. This time, all twelve bourbons in the set are from Warehouse L, a masonry warehouse with concrete floors that many Tracians consider their best. The other common feature is low barrel entry proof (52.5% ABV). Since most bourbons go into the barrel at close to the legal maximum of 62.5% ABV, low entry proof is of great interest to distillers and aficionados.
The Kentucky Distiller's Association (KDA), of which Sazerac is not a member, is 132 years old but never has had a physical home. It now occupies a portion of Frankfort Barracks, a 141-year-old building that housed federal troops stationed in Frankfort between 1871 and 1876. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The address is 614 Shelby Street, Frankfort, KY 40601.
In addition to offices for KDA's staff, which has ballooned to three people, it will also serve as information center and gift shop for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour.