Monday, October 17, 2022

The Eventful Year 2012

Jim Beam's American Stillhouse opened in 2012.

The last two decades have been a whirlwind for fans of American whiskey. As we start to look back on the year now wrapping up, here's a peak at what seemed exciting ten years ago, at the end of 2012.

One of the year's best releases was Abraham Bowman Virginia Limited Edition Whiskey, a phenomenal 18-year-old bourbon at 138.6° proof (69.3% ABV). Its moment on the stage was so brief, most of it was consumed instead of collected. It never had a chance to be a unicorn.

Larceny, Heaven Hill's Old Fitzgerald spin-off, debuted in 2012. I called it "a major new star in the wheated bourbon firmament." In addition to being very good whiskey, it replaced a false origin story with a true one.

Jim Beam's American Stillhouse opened in 2012 and set a high bar for distillery visitor experiences. It has been upgraded and updated several times since, as bourbon tourism continues to grow.

The mystery that was Angostura's Lawrenceburg Distillery Indiana (LDI) became the marginally less secretive MGP in 2012. It is the distillery now known as Ross & Squibb. It doesn't matter. Everybody still calls it Seagram's. MGP still isn't as transparent as one might like, but compared to the previous owners they were "a breath of bourbon-scented fresh air."

The renowned Michigan craft brewery New Holland released its first Beer Barrel Bourbon in 2012. I called it "rectification in the finest sense of the word, which means 'to set right; correct.'" They took an undistinguished major distillery bourbon and made it not only drinkable but genuinely special by finishing it in their beer barrels. And they told the truth about it too.

Maker's Mark v Diageo was decided in 2012 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. It said Diageo couldn't use red wax tendrils on tequila bottles, upholding that as part of the Maker's Mark's trademark. I was thrilled to have my work cited not once but five times in the decision. As my sister said, "I sure hope all that stuff you wrote in your book was true now that they're using it to decide court cases." Me too, Jane. Me too.

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