Thursday, November 6, 2014

MGP Launches First Brand: Metze's Medley

The company that was never going to have its own brand has announced the release of its first. It's called Metze's Medley.

Metze's Medley is, admittedly, a small and very limited release to support the inaugural Whiskey City Festival in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, which MGP is sponsoring. Since 2011, MGP has owned the Lawrenceburg distillery everyone there still calls Seagrams. MGP produces bulk whiskey for non-distiller producers (NDPs) to brand, bottle, and sell. Until now, MGP has said it had no intention of creating any brands of its own, because it didn't want to compete with its customers.

The new product will be labeled as Indiana straight bourbon whiskey. It is named for MGP Master Distiller Greg Metze, who has spent his entire 36-year career at the Lawrenceburg distillery. The festival is this weekend, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 7 and 8.

“MGP has a proud legacy of making world-class whiskeys,” said President and CEO Gus Griffin. “This limited edition medley, mashed and distilled at our historic distillery in Lawrenceburg, celebrates that legacy and the whiskey industry’s long history in the Lawrenceburg community.”

Metze’s Medley, a unique whiskey, consists of 20 percent of their 21 percent rye bourbon, made in 2005; 20 percent of their 36 percent rye bourbon, also made in 2005; and 60 percent of their 21 percent rye bourbon, made in 2008, making the youngest whiskey in the mix about six years old.

According to the company's tasting notes, the whiskey showcases subtle grain differences, delivering a rich full taste with slight vanilla notes and a spicy finish.

MGP is joining with the City of Lawrenceburg, Lawrenceburg Main Street, Hollywood Casino, and the Dearborn County Visitor Center to support the festival.  Guests who donate $100 or more to the Greater Cincinnati United Way at the event will receive a bottle of Metze’s Medley. Metze will be on hand to sign each bottle. The product will not be available for retail sale.

“MGP is pleased and excited for the opportunity to play a substantial role in supporting this festival, while also coming up with a creative way to further support our communities through donations to the United Way,” Griffin said.

Other activities during the two-day festival will feature whiskey tastings and exhibits, talks by industry experts, specially prepared food and great music, including nationally-recognized entertainment.

Since 1803, Lawrenceburg has been home to several distilleries, earning its name, “Whiskey City.” Through the years, the industry has made its mark on the history, economy and lives of generations of residents, regionally, as well as locally. MGP’s Lawrenceburg distillery was established in 1847 as Rossville Distillery. It was acquired by Joseph E. Seagram and Sons in 1933.

Additional details about the Whiskey City Festival can be accessed at


Anonymous said...

Hi Chuck,
Since this special whiskey will be unavailable to the public, is it really fair to call it a "brand?" That seems to imply entry into the retail market, which they deny. Isn't "special bottling" more accurate? Or do you think that this is the start of something big for MGP, that is "competing with their customers?"

Anonymous said...

At least one label will admit that the contents were distilled in Indiana :)

Anonymous said...

Maybe a little alarmist, maybe just prescient. Either way I think despite all of the bad blood surrounding brands who are using MGP's products, MGP itself seems to have been quite modest in its modern incarnation and frankly I'd love to have a nice little collector's bottle to represent their unwittingly influential hand in the whiskey landscape.


Alex said...

Anonymous, a brand communicates the provenance of an item, and Metze's Medley certainly is a brand owned by MGP. They indeed have entered the market with a product. Your point that it's not the "retail" market if they are donating the bottles to donors instead of accepting payment themselves does not change the branding of the product. No market is even necessary--for example, if I build a prototype of something, I can brand it as created by me even if I have no intention of ever giving it to anyone or ever creating a second copy of the prototype.

Chuck, thanks for keeping us updated about MGP. Sounds like it might be a great bourbon I'll never taste.

Anonymous said...

NOTE to MGP: If you release Metze's Medley to the public, I'll buy it, and I'll bet lots of other folks will do the same.

I sure hope that this is a hint at things to come for MGP. Why shouldn't they get the credit for what they produce, and build their own brands?

Why is it more interesting to buy MGP juice from an "artisanal rebottler" rather than directly from the distiller at a much more reasonable price point? I think it isn't.

If folks in Indiana are thinking of going the "let's sell our own stuff with our own brands" route, I highly encourage them to do this.