Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Little LDI News.

For my own selfish purposes, I prefer it when whiskey producers are public companies, because they routinely report information of interest. For example, this is from MGPI's First Quarter Results Statement, released yesterday. MGPI is the new owner of Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana (LDI), the distillery responsible for Templeton Rye, Bulleit Rye, Redemption Rye, and others.

"Also in the current quarter, the Company recorded initial sales, including premium bourbon and whiskeys, from its recently-acquired distillery in Lawrenceburg, Ind. Operational improvements are underway at the facility under new leadership, complemented by a stronger sales and marketing team."

I wish they would phrase it as "premium bourbon and other whiskeys," but they'll figure that out eventually. It's also interesting that while whiskey enthusiasts know the distillery primarily for its rye, and none of its bourbons are particularly well-known or well-regarded, the word they choose to highlight in a publication aimed primarily at current and prospective investors is bourbon. It's likely the folks in MGPI's investor relations department don't even know that knowledgeable whiskey people look to LDI primarily for its ryes with their unique 95% rye mash bill, developed there for Seagram's by retired Master Distiller Larry Ebersol.

MGPI doesn't have any whiskey brands of its own so its customers were naturally concerned about the direction MGPI would take at LDI after the acquisition. MGPI is a big grain neutral spirits producer (GNS, i.e., vodka), but has not previously been a player in whiskey. A strong commitment to whiskey, and improvements in operations and leadership, are all good signs. It's not a lot -- I didn't say these public reports are brimming with information -- but it is exactly what LDI's customers and fans wanted to hear.

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