Thursday, January 29, 2015

The New Bourbon Country Reader Is in the Mail

If I have any credibility left after yesterday's blunder, I would like to announce the publication of a new issue of The Bourbon Country Reader, my idiosyncratic bourbon newsletter.

Regular readers of my work know I can be hard on Diageo, the Big Galoot just keeps asking for it. In this issue we uncharacteristically congratulate the world's largest drinks maker for turning lemons into lemonade. Instead of paying a fine of $10,000 a day, they created the Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company. It is on the connection between those two things that this tale hangs.

But wait a minute, I can't help it. If an 'Orphan Barrel' is so-called because its 'parent,' the distillery that distilled it, is now defunct, then how can the outfit that 'adopted' them be a distilling company? Aren't all of the whiskeys they're selling already distilled? How can you give birth to an orphan?

Back to the newsletter.

One question Diageo has never answered about Orphan Barrel is why? Nobody lets whiskey get that old on purpose unless they're servicing a product in that age range, which Diageo is not. This is the sort of thing Diageo doesn't talk about, but the industry assumed they held onto so much of the whiskey made by the companies they acquired so they could use it in their Canadian whiskies such as Crown Royal.

The U.S. is the biggest market for Canadian whisky and Canadian whisky sold in the U.S. can contain up to 9.09% American whiskey, for which the producer receives a tax break from the U.S. government.

For whatever reason, Diageo had way more whiskey than it needed, and found itself with a lot in the 15-25 year age range, though nobody knew how much. They could have sold it when it was younger but didn't. Why not and why now?

The answer, it turns out, is Baudoinia compniacensis, also known as the whiskey fungus. (It's the black stuff in the picture above.) For the rest, you'll have to subscribe.

A subscription to The Bourbon Country Reader is still just $20 per year (six issues) for addresses in the USA, $25 for everyone else. The Bourbon Country Reader is always independent and idiosyncratic and has no distillery affiliation. It is quaintly old-fashioned and published six times a year, or thereabouts.

Click here to subscribe with PayPal or any major credit card, or for more information. Click here for a free sample issue (in PDF format). Click here to open or download the free PDF document, "The Bourbon Country Reader Issue Contents in Chronological Order." (It's like an index.) For the record, the new one is our 94th.

If you prefer to pay by check, make it payable to Made and Bottled in Kentucky, and mail it to Made and Bottled in Kentucky, 3712 N. Broadway, PMB 298, Chicago, IL 60613-4198. Checks drawn on U.S. banks only, please.


Anonymous said...

Is it possible to have this issue count towards 1 of our 6 if I were to subscribe today?

Chuck Cowdery said...

This will be the current issue for the next month or two and will automatically start your subscription. However, you can always start your subscription with any issue you want. Just use the 'special instructions' field on the order form to explain what you want.

Anonymous said...

I have been waiting for this kind of post for weeks. new reader, but did not want to comment on old posts, and did not want to hijack another post. and, of course, I forgot most of my questions.

But, one I do remember, is, when talking about Southern Comfort, you (and other people elsewhere have stressed) that Brown-Forman didn't just buy the liqueur in 1979, but THE WHOLE COMPANY. What else came with it?

If I can remember my others, in a reasonable time, I will post them too.

Love the site, this is right up my alley.


P.S. free idea alert: I know you are self published, so maybe a good book idea is a history of each of the major figures in bourbon history. one chapter per brand/founder or whathaveyou. most of the material is already here...

Chuck Cowdery said...

When Brown-Forman bought Southern Comfort they retained a few people, not many. They closed and sold the factory and office building. The coolest asset was a 'retreat center' out in the country, outside of St Louis. It had ball fields and other recreational facilities, a large lodge, and I'm not sure what else. (I was there just once.) They closed and sold that too. There were no other brands or, if there were, Brown-Forman discontinued or sold them. The first Brown-Forman brand manager for Southern Comfort was David Higgins, who passed away recently.

Anonymous said...

Rick again.

I am amazed how few books there are on these men. I mean the jack daniels book, Blood and Whiskey, was 20 years overdue. There have been over 140 books on John D Rockefeller, since 1950 alone. And 6 on Tim Hortons. You would think more would come out. I would read one on SoCo.