Drinkhacker Reads – 05.23.2013 – Alternate Universe Pre-Memorial Day Edition

Much weirdness has infiltrated the world of spirits since our last update: 6′s are now 9′s, hypothetical press releases and other stuff that has left us scratching our heads a bit and accelerated our hope that the weekend will soon be upon us.

Let’s start in New Jersey, where 29 bars were the subject of a recent sting operation (awesomely code named “Operation Swill”) involving owners replacing premium alcohol with cheap stuff, with one bar even mixing rubbing alcohol with food dye and calling it scotch. Over 1,000 bottles have been seized for further testing, and this doesn’t look like it’s going to end well. It also begs the question: How many other bars out there are replicating this hideous practice? [ABC 6 News]

Most devotees of bourbon are well aware that the recent global demand has spiked overall sales through the roof. This has presented a bit of a conundrum in that demand is now outpacing supply. Buffalo Trace has taken it upon itself to issue a press release forewarning folks of the potential and possibility of an impending shortage. In it, representatives pledge not to excessively raise prices or lower the proof on their brands which include the already hard to find Van Winkle and Weller 12 year, but it is also proactively warning folks that there may be shortages just around the bend. While getting in front of the story is always a good idea (and something we applaud), it questions the necessity of putting such a story out when no drastic shortages are occurring. So in sum: everything is okay. For now. But something could happen soon. No one knows just when. [Buffalo Trace]

Elsewhere in Kentucky, a battle is brewing (no pun intended) between local microbrewery West 6th and Magic Hat. (Full disclosure: Your dashing looking author is a resident and frequent patron of West 6th, and gives full endorsement to their Amber Ale and IPA). Earlier this week Magic Hat filed suit in Kentucky District Court claiming West 6th’s packaging is similar to Magic Hat’s #9. The internet, being the calm objective corpus it is, immediately slammed Magic Hat via social media platforms, making such a fuss it was the lead headline on BoingBoing.

West 6th immediately launched its own website of petition and protest, which prompted Magic Hat to issue its own response to the accusations, effectively stating the opposite of West 6th’s claims.

According to statements made on West 6th’s Facebook page Tuesday night, Magic Hat’s parent company Cerveceria Costa Rica posted four conditions to settle the differences between the two breweries. As of Wednesday morning, West 6th accepted these conditions and offered four new designs from which Magic Hat could choose. As of press time, Magic Hat has yet to reply to the offers. This very public and very contentious negotiation could spill into the weekend, and we’ll do our best to keep up with any movements as they arise.

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