Friday, July 3, 2015

He Who Has the Whiskey Calls the Tune

With bourbon booming and supplies of aged whiskey tight, people who make their own whiskey from scratch are sitting in the catbird seat, but they're not alone. People who have long-term production agreements with distillers are also at an advantage over non-distiller producers (NDPs) who do not.

Best situated are the big regional rectifiers who buy a lot of whiskey for what are usually bottom shelf straights and blends, companies like Luxco in St. Louis. They are not distillers but in many cases they have access to enough whiskey to credibly create and support national brands. To put it simply, they have the flexibility to allocate their best stocks to profitable mid- and top-shelf brands, while still supporting their more marginal commodity products. They increase their profits, and we get to try some original whiskeys, often at a good price.

Luxco, a company founded in 1958, has had a long relationship with Heaven Hill but it gets bourbon and rye from other sources too. This year, it has made some bold moves to enter the big leagues. It's too early to tell if they'll succeed but if you want the whole story, you need to get the new issue of The Bourbon Country Reader, Volume 16, Number 6.

Luxco this year has upgraded Yellowstone and Rebel Yell, and introduced a new super-premium bourbon, Blood Oath.

Our other story in this issue is about the investment Kentucky's taxpayers are making in distilleries and other businesses. These days, we usually learn about new plants and proposed expansions when their tax incentives are announced, as several were this spring.

All of this is in the new issue of The Bourbon Country Reader, America's oldest publication dedicated exclusively to American whiskey. Honoring tradition, it still comes to you on paper, in an envelope, via the USPS.

subscription to The Bourbon Country Reader is still just $20 per year (six issues) for addresses in the USA, $25 for everyone else. The Bourbon Country Reader is always independent and idiosyncratic and has no distillery affiliation. It is published six times a year, or thereabouts.

Click here to subscribe with PayPal or any major credit card, or for more information. Click here for a free sample issue (in PDF format). Click here to open or download the free PDF document, "The Bourbon Country Reader Issue Contents in Chronological Order." (It's like an index.) For the record, this new one is our 96th.

Because this completes Volume 16, that means Volume 16 is now available as a bound volume for $20, or you can get any three bound volumes for $50.

If you prefer to pay by check, make it payable to Made and Bottled in Kentucky, and mail it to Made and Bottled in Kentucky, 3712 N. Broadway, PMB 298, Chicago, IL 60613-4198. Checks drawn on U.S. banks only, please.


Doctor Tarr said...

I remember when Old Ezra was fifteen years old, came in a wooden box, and cost fifteen bucks. I didn't know at the time it was a Luxco product.

Chuck Cowdery said...

If Luxco plans a refresh of Ezra Brooks, that is yet to come. Old Ezra is now 12-years-old and illustrates the overall point. Luxco has a contractual source for 12-year-old bourbon, a rarity for NDPs these days, some of which is making its way into Blood Oath and the new Yellowstone.