Wednesday, April 3, 2013

MGP Adds Six New Whiskey Recipes to Lawrenceburg Distillery's Portfolio

In the current issue of The Bourbon Country Reader (Vol 15 No 2), MGP Vice President of Alcohol Sales and Marketing David Dykstra talks about his company's future plans for whiskey production at Lawrenceburg, Indiana. In that interview, he says they are "developing new mash bill formulations of rye, wheat and other grains that we expect to introduce to the marketplace in the coming years."

Six of them were announced yesterday and will begin production this month.

They are:
  • Two new rye whiskeys, one made from 51% rye and 49% barley malt, and the other made with 51% rye, 45% corn and 4% barley malt.

  • A 95% wheat whiskey.

  • A 100% barley malt whiskey.

  • Two new bourbons, one produced with 45% wheat, and the other produced with 49% barley malt.
Currently, MGP of Indiana makes a very popular 95% rye whiskey, and two rye-recipe bourbons that contain 40% rye and 25% rye, respectively. They also make corn whiskey.

“The incorporation of these additional mash bills in our product offerings is driven by our commitment and ability to satisfy a growing and diversified mix of customer needs,” said Dykstra. “It enables us to provide those we serve with a wider, more distinctive selection of world-class beverage alcohol options. Furthermore, it reflects our ongoing focus on innovation while also demonstrating our capabilities to produce customized formulations.”

Development of the new mash bills was initiated by the company’s beverage alcohol sales team, with collaboration from MGP’s research, development and innovation group and Greg Metze, master distiller at the Lawrenceburg facility.

According to Dykstra, the company’s new wheat whiskey and wheat bourbon “will be among some of the more unique products of their type” in the marketplace. “The popularity of wheat-based spirits, mainly in the white goods category, has grown in recent years,” he said. “We expect this to favorably impact demand for products in the brown goods category, as well, and want to be firmly positioned to help our customers in the branded packaged goods arena meet that demand.”

Dykstra says the company’s new rye whiskey produced from 51% rye and 49% barley malt is expected to deliver a deeper flavor than traditional rye whiskey, resulting in opportunities for customers to establish and market novel brands that possess a distinctly satisfying point of difference. 

Additional details regarding each of the recently developed mash bills, along with MGP’s custom formulation capabilities and complete lines of premium whiskeys, bourbons, grain neutral spirits (i.e., vodka) and distilled gins, are available at the company’s booth at the American Distilling Institute (ADI) Spirits Conference and Expo in Denver through April 4 of this week.

Information can also be obtained by accessing the company’s website.

The former Seagram's Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, was acquired by MGP in 2011. Previously known as LDI (Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana), the distillery has been supplying whiskey to non-distiller producers since about 2005. MGP is a leading independent supplier of premium spirits, offering flavor innovations and custom distillery blends to the beverage alcohol industry. The company also produces high quality food grade industrial alcohol and formulates grain-based starches and proteins into nutritional and highly functional ingredients for the branded consumer packaged goods industry. The company is headquartered in Atchison, Kansas.


Anonymous said...


Great Info. New mashbills should make interesting New Whiskies.

Rob K said...

That's pretty cool. Any idea who uses their corn whiskey?

Lazer said...

is all of the whiskey that is being aged utilizing new charred oak barrels or are they playing with used barrels?

Chuck Cowdery said...

They all must be aged in new, charred oak barrels, except the corn whiskey. Their corn is probably just used for blends. If anyone is selling it as a straight, I'm not aware of it.

Anonymous said...


MGPI mention plans to develop and market whiskey under their name ?

Chuck Cowdery said...

That's covered in the Reader interview. No, they don't plan to create or acquire any brands of their own.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post. I am not too familiar with how the bulk whiskey world works... I assume that MGP does all of the aging for its customers as well? I wonder how so many products that use the same bulk whiskey (such as the MGP 95% rye) are able to differentiate. I know there are a few companies doing some additional finishing or filtration after purchasing, but are there other ways to make a bulk product unique?

Chuck Cowdery said...

The distiller typically does some or all of the aging but the customer (who must have the appropriate licenses) can take delivery immediately and do the aging themselves. Any combination is possible but most common is the distiller keeping the whiskey until it is ready to sell.

Anonymous said...


If I decided I wanted to make up a good story and start my own line of "Frontier Bourbon".....

What's it take(Besides BIG MONEY) to have your own brand of bourbon ?

Using "Contract Distiller" (MGP as example)to distill, age, and bottle finished product.

Lazer said...

Personally, I've only had the 95% rye and I didn't like it. My opinion is that whiskey as a commodity doesn't work well. I prefer the distiller to put his name behind his product. This is interesting experimentation, and maybe more distillers willing to put their own name on the line should try it. Or maybe they have already...

Anonymous said...

I like some of the products using MGP whiskey. The Willett single barrel rye was pretty solid at 4 years, and pretty great 5. It's also 25 bucks or so for a 110 proof 95% rye.
Those wheat's could be very intersting in blends to make "4 grain bourbon," if such a thing is permitted.

Anonymous said...

Some of these sound very interesting! Particularly interested in some of the more unusual stuff like the 95% wheat and the 51/49 corn/malt combo. I believe the latter is same as the Town Branch mashbill, iinm. Wonder who, if anyone, is going to bring these to market (and will they be affordable when they get there!).

(Slight correction, though, the existing rye bourbons are 5% less rye than what you listed here, due to the malt. They're the same 75/20/5 and 60/35/5 mashbills as Four Roses, appropriately enough considering the shared Seagram's history.)

Chuck Cowdery said...

Somewhere along the line, one of the Lawrenceburgs tweaked the recipe, because the two current bourbons made at MGP of Indiana are 40% and 25% rye, respectively. This is how the Indiana distillery has identified them for years, even under the previous owners.

Anonymous said...

Far be it for me to argue, but this is the exact wording on their website:

Mash Bill for 25% Bourbon Whiskey

Corn: 75%
Rye: 21%
Barley Malt: 4%

Mash Bill for 40% Bourbon Whiskey

Corn: 60%
Rye: 36%
Barley Malt: 4%

So we seems to be finding conflicting info. Wouldn't surprise me if they tweaked it. I guess that's one of the advantages of being a contract/bulk distiller who's largest-volume product is a blend; one can tweak as needed in response to all sorts of conditions, and still keep the main products more or less in line with expectations.

Chuck Cowdery said...

What website are you looking at? Four Roses? Because I'm looking at the current MGP site, the old LDI site, and the spreadsheets they provide to customers to show they what they have to sell, and they all say 40% and 25%.

Chuck Cowdery said...

But I see what you're saying. Somewhere they're describing the 25% bourbon mashbill as 75/21/4. Weird.

Chuck Cowdery said...

Okay, I think I'm catching up to you. What they call "25% bourbon" is 75/21/4 or, I suppose, 25% not-corn. Likewise the "40% bourbon" is 60/36/4, i.e., 40% not corn. I repeat, weird.

markfollette said...

Very interesting mashbills. Thanks for the info and a great blog.

Anonymous said...

Bummer, now more fake distilleries that don't make their own whiskey will pop up with new LDI whiskeys.

Bedlamist said...

To quote an article from the Bourbon Hub (a site I didn't know existed till I wanted the answer for the aging question myself): "LDI/MGP does not sell to the public and they do no aging themselves. Instead, they distill a high-quality white dog product that other distilleries buy and age themselves."

Now I have a question: has anybody sorted LDI/MGP's rye whiskeys by the prices the bottlers charge for the brands? Or better yet, price + age?

Bulleit 95% Rye quickly became my favorite rye so far, but I'd like to sample as many MGP ryes as I can afford. With "afford" being a key word. Whatever you say about MGP the juice is tasty.

As for MGP juice and the future of my bourbon-swilling career, I found a list of brands it's sold in a list of distillers organized by state here:

By the way, I was very disappointed with the last bottle of Pikesville I bought this past Summer when I visited my family: when trying to sip it slowly it was unduly harsh and hot, maybe because it's too damn young. It's not sold here in KY so I don't drink it often, but my last experience told me there was no need to load my luggage up with it. There goes another cherished chestnut of my troubled youth.

Chuck Cowdery said...

I'm not sure what they mean by "does not sell to the public." If they mean they don't make any brands of their own, that's true, but they will sell to anyone who has the correct license.

As for aging, MGPI of Indiana has a full complement of warehouses and typically the whiskey they distill is aged there. Although the customer certainly can take the new make and age it elsewhere, very few do.

As for lists of products that contain MGPI whiskey, there is no official list and the one you cited, by SKU, is the best one I know about.