Thursday, July 3, 2014
MGP Adds Wheat Whiskey to Its Portfolio
MGP of Indiana has added another whiskey to its expanding portfolio: wheat whiskey. The mash bill is 95 percent wheat, 5 percent barley malt. This parallels the company's popular 95 percent rye whiskey. The grain is non-GMO. The oldest wheat whiskey they have available for sale is one-year old.
MGP's wheat whiskey is “exceptionally smooth and possesses lightly floral and sweet taste characteristics with good barrel notes and nice balance,” according to David Dykstra, MGP's vice president of alcohol sales and marketing.
MGP is primarily a distiller of neutral spirits, including wheat vodka. “The popularity of wheat-based spirits has increased in recent years,” said Dykstra. “With rising demand in this area of the market, the addition of wheat whiskey to our product portfolio provides MGP’s customers another excellent opportunity to grow their brand presence,” he added.
MGP is well-versed in wheat science and processing technologies, as it is the largest U.S. producer of specialty wheat proteins and starches.
About ten years ago, Heaven Hill Distilleries introduced the first wheat whiskey from a major distiller in the modern era, Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey. Its mash bill is 51 percent wheat, 39 percent corn, and 10 percent barley malt, so very different from the MGP product. Several micro-distilleries, such as Dry Fly in Washington, also make wheat whiskey.
MGP sells no brands of its own. It sell its spirits to non-distiller producers, who take the products to market.
Wheat whiskey should not be confused with wheated bourbon such as Maker's Mark. A wheated bourbon substitutes wheat for rye, and typically contains 12 to 15 percent wheat. Bourbons always contain a 'flavor grain,' usually rye but sometimes wheat, because corn has so little flavor itself. A wheat whiskey mash bill must contain at least 51 percent wheat.
MGP is based in Atchison, Kansas. Its whiskey distillery is in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.