Thursday, January 9, 2014

MGP Maintains Focus on Product Innovations as New Year Begins

Especially in light of the management shake-up that occurred late last month and was reported here Tuesday, MGP is actively reassuring customers that the company remains firmly committed to strengthening its role and presence in the beverage alcohol industry as an innovative producer of world-class bourbons and whiskeys (brown goods), as well as distilled gins and grain neutral spirits (GNS) (white goods).

Since Tuesday we have learned that, in addition to CEO Tim Newkirk and R&D VP Don Coffey, VP of Supply Chain Operations Scott Phillips has also left the company. Still in place are VP of Alcohol Sales David Dykstra and VP of Engineering Randy Schrick. Schrick is also one of the two interim CEOs and one of the company's two master distillers. The other master distiller is Greg Metze, who is at the company's Lawrenceburg, Indiana, distillery where its whiskey program is based. Metze began at Lawrenceburg under Seagram's and has worked there for 35 years. Metze and plant manager Jim Vinoski are both still at Lawrenceburg.

The Lawrenceburg distillery made more of both white and brown goods in 2013 than ever before in its long history, more even than at the height of its ownership by Seagram's. The biggest gains were on the whiskey side.

“MGP has built, and continues to build, a solid base of loyal customers due largely to our reputation as a reliable, innovative and long-established supplier,” said Schrick.

“In each of the markets we serve, we are dedicated to consistently providing the best possible products and service to all of our customers,” said David Dykstra, vice president of alcohol sales. “As such, we are continuously implementing ways throughout the company to improve our operational methods and techniques while simultaneously researching and developing new product innovations. The latter includes the recent and ongoing development of several new distillery product offerings.”

Last spring MGP announced the development of six additional mash bills for new rye, malt and wheat whiskeys, as well as new bourbons. MGP has also continued to develop several new wood and other flavor treatments, and this past fall added GNS distilled from wheat to its growing line of premium alcohol products.

MGP has also added a distilled spirits innovation center to the Lawrenceburg facility. “We view our role with customers as being one of providing increasing expertise and support as their agent of innovation,” Dykstra said. “Our future is not just about supplying premium distilled spirits. We must go beyond that and be highly engaged in the development phase at the consumer product level. Our new innovation center represents a big step in fortifying our ability to help customers drive growth of their distinct brands.”

MGP of Indiana is unique among American whiskey distilleries in that it produces no brands of its own. Known whiskey customers of MGP include Diageo, High West, Templeton Rye, Strong Spirits, Smooth Ambler, and Chattanooga Whiskey Company.


Harold Bussell said...

Plus a ton of micro distilleriess, that is distilleries in name only.

Florin said...

The time will come when MGP will be recognized among the iconic American distilleries, with the likes of Four Roses, Buffalo Trace, and Wild Turkey. Right now they are still given short thrift, as if distilled by MGP somehow cheapens the product. How would people feel if they knew a label sourced their whisky with Buffalo Trace? I think MGP is just as good.

Anonymous said...

Florin, you are a wise man.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know if MGP can/will provide a "do it yourself" product? I.e., one chooses among the various products to create a personal blend of bourbon?

Chuck Cowdery said...

Limited by what they have in inventory, yes, that's exactly what they plan to do.

Anonymous said...

I just saw an advertisement for Bull Moose Three Barrel Rye from Long Island Spirits, is this another sourced Rye from LDI? It's quoted as being a mash of 95% rye and 5% malted barley.

Chuck Cowdery said...

Very likely.