Thursday, March 10, 2011

Diegeo Goes On The Record.

This post pertains to my post yesterday about Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana (LDI) and the one last week about new Bulleit Rye.

I finally heard from my usual and official Diageo contact, who was as I speculated away on family business, which is why she was slow to respond. I am assured that a sample of Bulleit Rye is on the way.

She confirmed that Bulleit Rye is produced at LDI. "It’s made by our friend and master distiller Greg Metze - distilled, aged and bottled, all at LDI. We chose LDI because of our long-term partnership with them (Seagram’s history) and because they are experts at what they do; they are reliable and they produce great-tasting whiskey."

They are not, however, offering media tours of the distillery.

She also addressed my questions and speculation about Bulleit Bourbon. "Bulleit Bourbon is made – 100% made – in Lawrenceburg Kentucky."

As I have reported previously, sources connected to Kirin have disagreed with that assertion. They need to put up (i.e., go on the record) or shut up. Diageo has the high ground now.

Diageo also categorically denies that there is any LDI bourbon in Bulleit Bourbon.

Now you might ask, "Chuck, do you believe them?" From my experience, companies will often obfuscate, mislead, dance, dodge and "no comment," but rarely do they lie. So, yes, I believe them.

What about the new make we know Diageo is buying from Brown-Forman? Diageo has other needs for bourbon besides Bulleit, so there is no conflict in those two bits of information.

She also had this to say, "Bulleit Rye has long been a dream of Tom’s – it makes sense for the brand, as Bulleit Bourbon’s high rye content lends itself to launching this new addition to the Bulleit family. On his travels across the country, Tom has often been asked by bartenders to create a rye, and so he’s quite pleased, for that reason among others, to be launching this month."

And this information was offered about LDI: "There are two facilities in Lawrenceburg that are one mile apart. The first produces whiskey, neutral spirit and some gin. Moon Mountain Vodka uses the other facility, which is the bottling hall."

So Moon Mountain, which I wrote about here, is bottled at LDI but distilled somewhere else. Where? They're not saying except that it is "a Midwest distillery using a small batch copper pot still."

Also unanswered is my question about the Bulleit Rye label’s use of the word 'mash' in 'Straight 95% Rye Mash Whiskey,' in which I wondered if that is an alternative form of the designation 'distilled from rye mash,' which permits used barrels. Point blank, is Bulleit Rye aged 100 percent in new charred oak barrels or are used barrels used? I'm still waiting for an answer to that one.

Finally, and this did not come from Diageo, I got my Magic Eye Secret Spy Viewer to give me a picture inside LDI. What I see is an announcement newly pinned to the bulletin board. It says the distillery is for sale and they hope to find a buyer who will be able to operate it at full capacity.

Although LDI's ownership has changed twice in the last ten years, it has operated continuously through the changes and there are still many employees there who go back to the Seagrams era. We hope this ends well for their sake and for all of us who would hate to see the number of major American whiskey distilleries shrink from 13 to 12.


Steve said...

The latest "Binny's blog" ( this:

>>Bulleit Bourbon is a big brand, and if I could use the word "commercial" without it seeming too negative, I would. It comes from Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and we're seeing more and more interesting whiskey from Lawrenceburg.<<

Did they mix up their Lawrenceburgs?

Chuck Cowdery said...

Maybe just badly written. It is confusing, as Bulleit Rye comes from Lawrenceburg, Indiana; while Bulleit Bourbon comes from Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. This little piece is about the rye.

Vidiot said...

I got some PR material from Diageo in response to some questions, and they say:
"Bulleit Rye is created with the utmost precision and care throughout every step. The highest quality grains are selected from a particular growing year, which currently includes grains sourced from Germany, Sweden and Canada. The water source is an ancient glacier acquifer, where the water is naturally filtered through limestone and sand, while maintaining an ideal temperature of 56 degrees. The liquid is then fully aged and matured in charred new oak barrels for between 4 and 7 years.

Bulleit Rye is produced in Lawrenceburg, Indiana and Bulleit Bourbon is produced in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Both locations provide the ideal criteria to create our two quality products. The mashbill for Bulleit Rye is 95% rye and 5% malt, which is an extremely high rye content with no corn."

So it sounds like it's definitely new charred barrels. I do wonder why they're using the "mash" wording, though.