Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mr. Boston Rock & Rye Rolling Along to a Comeback


I rarely just reprint press releases but this one, from Sazerac, struck me as amazing. The heyday of Rock & Rye was before my time, and I'm old. I guess everything old really is new again, and I do mean everything, even me.

Here's the release:

Mr. Boston Rock & Rye, the venerable rye whiskey liqueur flavored with citrus, is making a strong comeback in the southern United States, as on- and off-premise consumers are re-discovering this sweet treat.

Believed, in the late 1800s, to be the cure for the common cold, this combination of rye whiskey sweetened with sugar and citrus fruits became so popular it found its way into pop culture, with references in books and songs from 1914 all the way up to 1948.

In 1939, Mr. Boston began bottling this famous concoction, and 74 years later, the rye whiskey liqueur is showing a resurgence, as consumers are flocking to bars and liquor stores and enjoying it either straight or on-the-rocks. With double digit growth in the past year in some markets, it’s clear the flavored whiskey craze has reignited the taste for some old classics too, such as Rock & Rye.

“Consumers who are of newly legal drinking age and older have been raised on soft drinks and other sweet beverages, and crave that taste as they get older and look for adult beverages,” said Lori Logan, brand director, Mr. Boston. “With the popularity of flavored whiskeys over the past few years, combined with the yearnings for classic cocktails, it’s no wonder we’ve seen an increase in sales both on- and off-premise for Rock & Rye.

Mr. Boston Rock & Rye is 54° proof (27% ABV) and is available in 200 ml, 375 ml and 750 ml. The 750 ml retails for a suggested price of $9.99.

11 comments:

tanstaafl2 said...

If Rock & Rye truly is enjoying a resurgence then perhaps it is no surprise that Cooper Spirits, who brought a couple of gems to the cocktail scene to include St. Germain, has recognized the potential here and recently introduced Hochstadter's Slow & Low Rock and Rye. I was skeptical at first and the marketing isn't aimed at me so much as the newly legal drinking age group you noted but didn't want to judge without trying it for myself. I came away pleasantly surprised! And at 84 proof and tasting of a quality rye whiskey while costing only about $17 locally it seems a much more refined option than good ol' Mr. Boston Rock & Rye. However I probably should be fair and pick up a bottle of the Mr. Boston version to compare before passing judgement!

EllenJ said...

Rock 'n' Rye was still very popular in the '50s and early '60s, especially among the young and rebellious. There is some reason to believe the phrase may have inspired Cleveland D.J. Allen Freed to call the new, R&B-oriented (i.e., sung by white artists emulating black artists) music he was airing as "Rock 'n' Roll"

Lazer said...

It is also mentioned in a Grateful Dead song that was performed for the first time in 1972 called "Half-Step Mississippi Uptown Toodeloo." http://artsites.ucsc.edu/Gdead/agdl/halfstep.html

sam k said...

I liked the original Hochstadter's, a lot, but am disappointed that they've lowered the proof to 84. I don't have a bottle right now, but it was either 92 or 94 to start with. I'll have to get a new one and give it a chance.

Charles Jacquin et Cie of Philadelphia may be the only producer who never stopped making rock & rye, and theirs is also 54 proof.

It's yet another revived category, and is ripe for a vertical tasting...it wouldn't cost much!

sam k said...

Oops...rereading this, it seems like Mr. Boston has never ceased production, either. Good for them!

tanstaafl2 said...

The initial Hochstadter's Rock & Rye was 98 proof. I occasionally hear that it is still found on a few shelves (especially in Michigan it seems). I have only seen the current 84 proof so far.

Anonymous said...

In looking for these products locally all I could find was Jacquin's Rock & Rye at 80 proof.

Anonymous said...

Looking again, perhaps Jacquin's Rock & Rye in the US is only 54 proof.

The Bitter Fig said...

If Lazar is bringing up The Dead, I'll throw in Phish. First line of the song Run Like An Antelope: "Rye, Rye Rocko."

mike gaebelein said...

Here in cleveland, paramount distillers has been producing rock and rye all along quietly chugging along.

Anonymous said...

And good old paramount has the lemon and orange slice floatin in the bottle like the worm in tequilla!