Monday, October 14, 2019

My Favorite Dad Joke



This is not a traditional 'Dad Joke.' It just happens to be my favorite joke told to me by my dad, Ken Cowdery (1920-2010).

It is about a father and son. The son lives in town, the father lives alone on the family farm several miles outside of town. Every day, as is his custom, the father walks into town, purchases a pint of whiskey, and walks back to his farm. For years, the son has enjoyed this daily opportunity to at least observe his father from his office window, but recently he has noticed that time is catching up with the old man. His stride has shortened and his gait has slowed. The daily walk has become a chore for him.

The son, being a devoted son and not wanting to see his father suffer (and having failed for years to persuade his father to abandon the farm and move to town), decides there is at least one small way he can give his poor father some relief. He purchases a 1.75 L bottle of his father’s favorite whiskey, drives out to the farm and gives his father the gift. The father, never a demonstrative man, accepts the gift and thanks his son, who returns to town.

The next day the son, still basking in the glow of his thoughtful deed, looks out the window to see his father once again walking into town. Moreover, his father seems to have aged ten years. His skin is pallid, his clothing is disheveled and he is walking with even move difficulty than usual. The son immediately rushes to his father’s side. “Dad,” he cries, “What are you doing? I brought you that bottle of whiskey so you wouldn’t have to make this walk every day.” The father slowly raises his head and looking directly into his sons eyes, whispers in a quiet voice, “Son, whiskey don’t keep.”

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Van Winkle Family Asks Retailers and Resellers to Play Nice



I usually don't reproduce press releases here, but I found this one interesting. No other brand has these kinds of issues.

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             FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (Oct. 10, 2019) – This is the favorite time of the year for bourbon fans, the annual release of the Van Winkle Bourbons.  Like previous years, yields from the barrels are low due to evaporation during the long aging cycle. 

            Known for their smoother and sweeter flavor due to the wheat recipe versus the traditional rye recipe found in most bourbons, Van Winkle bourbons are aged years longer than most others and have garnered an impeccable reputation among connoisseurs.  Although  bourbon has become increasingly popular worldwide in recent years, very little Van Winkle is sold overseas, so that these coveted bottles are available in the United States.
 
The Van Winkle collection consists of several whiskeys. Suggested retail prices are as follows:

$69.99 - Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon 10 Year Old 107 proof
$79.99 – Old Rip Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon 12 Year Old
$119.99 – Old Rip Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 Year Old
$119.99 - Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 15 Year Old
$199.99 - Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 20 Year Old
$299.90 – Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon 23 Year Old

“Unfortunately we cannot control the price retailers charge, so some retailers mark it up beyond our MSRP, even though we ask them not to,” said Julian Van Winkle, president, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. “We are committed to releasing a quality product and hope retailers will honor what we suggest as a fair retail price.”

Upon release of the Van Winkle bourbon this fall, Buffalo Trace warns consumers to be wary of online resellers such as Craigslist and other online marketplaces, especially private Facebook and MeWe groups. “Trading and selling bourbon online is an unlicensed and illegal sale.  Purchasing bourbon online from unlicensed parties is dangerous.  The product may be counterfeit and unsafe.  If you are not a licensed retailer and you are selling Van Winkle products, we are prepared to take action to curtail the activity,” adds Kris Comstock, senior marketing director at Buffalo Trace Distillery. 

The Van Winkle line of whiskeys has won a multitude of awards through the years, including the 20-year-old receiving a double gold medal, best bourbon, best small batch bourbon at the 2018 New York International Spirits Competition; the 15-year-old being named Best Bourbon, 11-15 Years Old in the 2019 Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, and also nabbing a Gold Medal at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. 

The Van Winkle Whiskeys will be available starting in November, but please be mindful that supply is quite limited and bottles shall be hard to find in stores, bars and restaurants. They will be packed three bottles per case.

About Van Winkle Bourbon

The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery has a four generation history. The Van Winkle family’s involvement in the bourbon industry began in the late 1800s with Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr. He was a traveling salesman for the W.L. Weller and Sons wholesale house in Louisville. Pappy and a friend, Alex Farnsley, eventually bought the wholesale house and also partnered with Mr. A. Ph. Stitzel on the purchase of Mr. Stitzel’s distillery.  The three of them merged the two companies and became the Stitzel-Weller Distillery.   

In May of 1935 at the age of 61, Pappy opened the newly completed Stitzel-Weller Distillery in South Louisville. Its prominent brands were W.L. Weller, Old Fitzgerald, Rebel Yell, and Cabin Still.  Pappy had a heavy influence on the operations there until his death at the age of 91. His son, Julian, Jr. took over operations until he was forced by stockholders to sell the distillery in 1972. The rights to all of their brands were sold to Norton Simon, Inc. Later, United Distillers, who eventually ended up with the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, sold off all of the original labels around 1999. 

After selling the distillery, Julian Jr. resurrected a pre-Prohibition label, the only one to which the Van Winkles kept the rights, called Old Rip Van Winkle. He used whiskey stocks from the old distillery to supply his brand. Julian Jr.’s son, Julian, III took over in 1981 when Julian, Jr. passed away. Julian III has continued with the Van Winkle tradition of producing high-quality wheated bourbon. His son, Preston, joined the company in 2001 and the Van Winkles look to continue that tradition for generations to come.

In 2002 the Van Winkles entered into a joint venture with Buffalo Trace Distillery in Franklin County, Frankfort, Ky. All of the Van Winkle’s whiskey production now takes place at Buffalo Trace Distillery under the same strict guidelines the family has always followed. For more information on the Van Winkle family of bourbon please visit www.oldripvanwinkle.com.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Can Pennsylvania Become the Kentucky of Rye Whiskey?


Whiskey rebels tar-and-feather a tax collector during the Whiskey Rebellion
(1791-1794)
What is creativity?

Some say it is the act of combining two or more things that haven’t been combined before, or combining them in a new way, thereby making something beneficial and new.

Somebody put peanut butter and jelly together for the first time.

Alcoholic beverages often are combined with other things, food obviously, but also history and culture.

That is the set-up for what the recently launched Whiskey Rebellion Trail is trying to accomplish. It is ambitious and risky, and a conceptual stretch, but they just might pull it off, as we consider in the new issue of The Bourbon Country Reader.

The Whiskey Rebellion Trail has three main parts: the Rebellion itself, the region’s rye whiskey heritage, and its booming craft distillery movement.

The Whiskey Rebellion (1791-1794) was, of course, a historic event of great importance to the early life of the American republic. Seemingly unrelated is the modern craft distillery movement. The thread that pulls all the pieces together is Pennsylvania’s historic importance as a producer of rye whiskey, produced there then and produced there now. As the popularity of rye whiskey has surged in the last few years, Pennsylvania distillers have tried to help Pennsylvania own rye whiskey the way Kentucky owns bourbon. That’s a high bar but worthy.

Current Reader subscribers should receive their copies in a week or so. New subscribers can get on the bandwagon by clicking here.

Founded in 1994, The Bourbon Country Reader is the oldest publication devoted entirely to American whiskey. It is a charming mix of news, history, analysis, and product reviews. Do you worry that advertising spending influences coverage in other publications? No chance of that here since The Bourbon Country Reader is 100 percent reader-supported. It accepts no advertising.

To experience The Bourbon Country Reader for yourself, you need to subscribe. Honoring history, The Bourbon Country Reader still comes to you exclusively on paper, in an envelope, via the USPS.

A subscription to The Bourbon Country Reader is still a mere $20 per year for addresses in the USA, $25 for everyone else. The Bourbon Country Reader is published six times a year, more-or-less, but your subscription always includes six issues no matter how long it takes. For those of you keeping track, this new one is Volume 19, Number 5.

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