Sunday, December 8, 2013

Lexington Herald-Leader's Janet Patton Commands The Bourbon Beat

Don't count the so-called 'old media' out just yet.

With coverage of the American whiskey industry seeming to come more and more from specialized blogs and related 'new media' sources, it would be easy to write off the newspapers and other 'old media' that might have written about it in the past.

Not so fast.

About a year ago, the daily newspaper for Lexington, Kentucky, the Herald-Leader, decided to get serious about its coverage of all things related to the burgeoning whiskey industry, especially as it applies to Kentucky. They assigned an experienced journalist, Janet Patton, and gave her the necessary time and resources to do the job right. The result has been a series of articles unsurpassed by any other outlet for their scope, relevance, and accuracy.

The media in Kentucky has always covered whiskey as a business story and occasionally from the human interest angle. Patton and her editors have gone much further. What's more, they are treating it as a subject deserving of serious examination. Patton is willing to take on difficult subjects and ask tough questions. Her readers benefit, of course, but so does the industry, when everyone is better informed. As she herself has learned more about the industry, it has become harder for producers to sell her their spin. She'll report what they say, then drill down to get the rest of the story.

If 'The Chuck Cowdery Blog' is on your regular reading list, Patton's articles should be too. Happily, this 'old media' outlet has a good online presence. Her latest story, about non-distiller producers and how they get their whiskey, is here. From there, you can connect to past stories. (Just click on the arrows.) It's worth your effort.

Technically, today's package concludes the paper's four part series, but I don't think Patton and the Herald-Leader are going to stop now. They've taken the high ground. Let's hope they fight to keep it.


Anonymous said...

Yes, this series has been a very good one, and nicely illustrated. Perhaps it is only a quibble to note that the author defines "white whiskey" as the same as moonshine, and a photo caption refers to the non-existent Michter's Distillery on New Millennium Drive in Louisville. (Of course, a non-existent distillery is certainly in need of a "master distiller", and Michter's has that, too.) To be fair, Patton does quote you, Chuck, and she makes it clear that Michter's deals in sourced whiskey. Speaking of Michter's, I am sure we are all disappointed that the $4000 Michter's Celebration whiskey is already spoken for. Wire service reports, which I suspect were planted, tell us that rock stars and movie stars in the LA area can't get enough of it. So, none for us!

Tom Troland

Chuck Cowdery said...

Michter's does have a building in Louisville--two of them, actually. They have a bottling operation there now and two small pilot stills.

Justin said...

That was a very well researched and well written article. I look foreword to reading the other articles she has written. It has shed some much needed light for me on the NDP whiskies out there.

Harry said...

Chuck, thanks for the link to Janet Patton and her "Spirit of KY" Lex Herald-Leader articles. Those of us out-of-market had no idea. I've been working through your 'Bourbon Straight' list of flagship bourbons and found a source for Very Old Barton in WashDC (Magruder's on Conn Ave NW) and was struck by how similar the Very Old Bardstown label and bottle shape are to the Barton. Hence, I consumed her 4 articles on bourbon as a commodity with your comments on non-distillers in mind. Wish more non-distiller/bottlers put their product in 375ml bottles or even the minis sold in WDC and VA so I could try them. Regards, Harry.