Author Archives: Rob Theakston

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.19.2014 – Wednesday Quick Links

Another round of quick links. Lots to cover today!

• Vinuous acquires International Wine Cellar for an undisclosed sum. Pretty ambitious for a company which started up less than 18 months ago. [Forbes]

• Bud Light is planning on launching a flavored beer line. [St. Louis Business Journal]

• William Grant wastes no time relaunching Drambuie after its acquisition, with a very peculiar ad designed to resemble “found footage” from the 60s. [YouTube]

• P. Diddy tries to start a tequila war, 1990s hip hop style. But on Instagram. That’ll show ‘em. [Page Six]

• Somewhat related, Fox News recaps the history of celebrity-endorsed spirits. [Fox News]

• The Boundary Oak Distillery is now open for business, making it the first distillery in Hardin County, Kentucky since the 1890s. [Boundary Oak Distillery]

• The first Women Of The Vine symposium has been announced for 2015. Looks like a heck of a good time! [Women Of The Vine]

• Infographic: Beer sales mapped around the world. [Telegraph UK]

• Chuck Cowdery goes for the throats of orphans in his latest editorial piece. [Chuck Cowdery Blog]

• Alcohol in moderation only benefits about 15% of the population, according to geneticists. [Genetic Literacy Project]

• Read about the whiskey war that left Brooklyn in ruins. And we aren’t talking about modern day hipsters, either. [Smithsonian.com]

• The EU is going to demand more of its beer head over to Japan in an upcoming economic summit between the two powerhouses. [Reuters]

• Qosy releases its 2015 guide to the best whiskeys in the world. It’s mainly for newcomers not looking to break the bank. Some interesting selections, though. [Qosy]

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.17.2014 – Wine Spectator Announces Best of 2014

The folks over at the good ship Wine Spectator announced its Top 100 for 2014 this morning, with Dow’s 2011 Vintage Port taking top honors. Lots of great stuff to choose from here. [Wine Spectator]

John Hansell over at Whisky Advocate goes all crazy over the forthcoming Diageo release in its Orphan Barrel project, Lost Prophet. Look for our thoughts in the not-so-distant future. Between this, new releases of Barterhouse and Rhetoric and something called Forged Oak, it appears Diageo is getting serious about its intent to dominate the American whiskey market. [Whisky Advocate]

The Scotch Whisky Association is unsure why sales are down in the U.S. Perhaps it’s the fact that products like Fireball and Piehole are now flooding the market. Perhaps its the continuous price increases we’ve seen in the last few years. Or perhaps it’s the economy, stupid. Either way, spirits execs don’t seem too concerned. For now. [The Spirits Business]

 Drinkhacker Reads   11.17.2014   Wine Spectator Announces Best of 2014Crown Royal is introducing an apple-flavored whiskey to its lineup, Crown Royal Regal Apple, which fuses Crown Royal with regal apples.  The press release mentions something about this being “innovative,” but we’re failing to see how another flavored whiskey really provides that spark of intellectual and creative genius commonly associated with the word. The 70 proof whiskey will retail for about $25 per 750ml and is expected to hit store shelves shortly.

One of the creators behind Yellow Tail wine is now facing charges of alleged involvement in a drug syndicate. Apparently running a multi-million dollar wine brand isn’t enough excitement for some folks. [Daily Mail]

Another day, another Kickstarter. But this is one we’re actually excited about. Cocktail & Sons is a startup by esteemed bartender and Friend of Drinkhacker Max Messier, who is looking to develop a very unique line of syrups and sodas to elevate the quality of your mixed drinks. The first four offerings (Spiced Demerara Syrup, Oleo Saccharum, Honeysuckle and Peppercorns, Mint and Lemon Verbena) all sound ridiculously tasty and dare we say “innovative.” Tasty stuff, and we wish Max the best of luck in this new venture! Reviews are forthcoming. [Cocktail & Sons]

In other weird wine news, Red Robin is now serving milkshakes mixed with red wine. Now taking bets on when the first minor is accidentally served one. [NYPost]

And finally today: just when you thought it was all over, it appears that the Hatfields and McCoys are at it once again. This time it’s over a whiskey. As always, it’s all about the comments section. (And, again, a review is on its way.) [Whiskey Wash]

The Drinkhacker Shopping List – 11.14.2014

Welcome to another edition of the Drinkhacker Shopping List, our overview of the best and worst of the last several weeks of reviews on the site. Lots of wines to choose from this edition, and a rare surprise of zero bourbons (we’d need to look back at previous lists, but it’s been a while since that happened) from which to choose. However, we’ve profiled plenty to satisfy even the most discerning of palates, and we’re sure there’s something on the Shopping List for you to enjoy.

TheList1114142 525x1143 The Drinkhacker Shopping List   11.14.2014

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.12.2014 – Quick Links Edition

Lots of stuff to get to today, so let’s dig right in!

Mass protests in Champagne, France over taxes and other changes. Things aren’t bubbling over yet, but it’s about to pop! [Decanter]

Larger wine stores are cutting back on selection, presenting a new set of challenges for wine lovers and an opportunity for specialty stores. [Telegraph UK]

The paper of record does its darnedest to expose a new trend in cocktail menus (though we can’t recall it ever going away): French brandy. [NY Times]

Chuck Cowdery fires off a one-two punch against Diageo brands: first against the new Piehole range, and then against Jeremiah Weed. [Chuck Cowdery Blog]

An app that sounds quite promising: Next Glass. TechCrunch profiles it. Have you tried it? Let us know! [TechCrunch]

The saga of the missing Pappy Van Winkle continues, but this time a detective reveals more details. In other Pappy news (and there’s plenty of it), Esquire profiles what the future of the brand could taste like, and it’s something folks have been saying for years now: It won’t be the same.

In vodka news: more on the pending lawsuit against Tito’s, and a band of brothers in Scotland are launching a new super-premium vodka.

Another day, another bourbon. Boundary Oak bourbon will be launching this Thursday at a release party in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. [Insider Louisville]

If you happen to be in the Lexington, Kentucky area, author Fred Minnick will be speaking about his book Whiskey Women today at noon at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Cameron Williams Lecture Hall in the Plant Science Building. Come on out and have some fun with us.

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.10.2014 – Anheuser-Busch and the Case of the Purchased Microbrewery

Just mere hours after announcing its intention to launch a tequila-flavored beer in Spring of 2015, Anheuser-Busch InBev NV announced its acquisition of Oregon’s 10 Barrel Brewing Co. This is just the latest in AB InBev’s attempt to enter the craft market, after purchasing Goose Island in 2011. Look for the company to make more waves in the immediate future, as it is also currently in a bit of spot regarding beer distribution in the commonwealth of Kentucky. [Wall Street Journal]

With the 100th anniversary of World War I arriving, the Drinks Business takes a look at five historical drinks that played a significant role in the great conflict. [The Drinks Business]

Scientists in Spain confirm that aromas from regular beer can help to improve the taste of non-alcoholic beer. The study, publishing the Journal of Food Engineering, found that 90% of tasters preferred enriched low-alcohol beer instead of their original factory counterparts, and this percentage rose to 80% for alcohol-free beer. [Redorbit]

And finally today, Campari has unveiled the 2015 images of its annual calendar and announced its subject: actress Eva Green. Most noted for her roles in such films as Sin City, 300, and Casino Royale, the actress joins a corps of Campari calendar models that has included Jessica Alba, Eva Mendes, Penelope Cruz, Benicio Del Toro, and Uma Thurman. The awfully swell folks at the Spirits Business have the full slideshow of images for your consideration. [The Spirits Business]

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.05.2014 – Election Hangover Edition

Now that the votes (for the most part) have been tallied, the winners declared, and the campaign ads vanished from our television sets, election season is coming to a close for the next two years. While it seemed as if the number of advertisements were extraordinarily high this year, The Wall Street Journal is content to remind us that Americans spent 16 times as much on beer last year as the amount spent on the midterm elections. Perhaps America’s fiscal priorities are in the right place, after all.
[Wall Street Journal]

In what has to be one of the most succinct press releases we’ve received in years, New York based Sovereign Brands has sold its interest in Armand de Brignac champagne to one Mr. S. Carter, also known to everyone else as Jay-Z. Terms of the agreement with H.O.V.A were not disclosed, but congrats  to Mr. Beyonce Knowles on another really fine acquisition.

Turning elsewhere, International Wine and Spirits Research COO Humphrey Serjeantson gazes into his crystal ball and predicts the future of the spirits market for the next several years, as well as the industry’s shift into super premium categories. [The Drinks Report]

Adam Carolla interviews William Shatner and they taste wine together. That’s all that really needs to be said about this. Either you’re going to like watching this interview or you’re not. [Ora TV]

And finally today, Bay Area folks take heed: Like everything else, the cost of your alcohol is rising very quickly. Time takes a look at the rising cost of alcohol in major cities across the nation. [Time]

The A-List – October 2014

Welcome to this month’s edition of the A-List, where we look back at the best of last month’s reviews and ratings and compile them into a really useful, printer-friendly graphic you may take along during your next trip to the store. We’re winding down 2014 and there have been some really truly exceptional items released on the market. Much like his beloved San Francisco Giants, Christopher got way lucky and was able to taste a 50 Year Old Highland Park, and it seems as if someone finally got pumpkin spice vodka correct. All in all, another fine month.

(Rob’s note: Hibiki all over the place. The 21 year hasn’t arrived in my neck of the woods yet, but the 17 year was here and gone the same day and I was lucky to procure a bottle. If you find it, buy it. Outstanding stuff.)

AList1014 525x875 The A List   October 2014

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.03.2014 – Diageo Eyes Don Julio, Swaps With Cuervo For Bushmills

Word broke this weekend that Diageo has agreed in principle to a deal with the Jose Cuervo family that would swap Diageo’s Irish whiskey Bushmills with Cuervo’s Don Julio tequila line. Some details have been publicly made final: the two products would essentially switch sides, with Cuervo receiving an additional $408 million in cash.  Official word is expected sometime later this week, with the transaction being completed sometime in 2015. [NY Times]

The Telegraph goes a bit deeper with analysis of the Diageo-Cuervo deal, with what the swap will mean financially for both sides. In short: Diageo investors might need a better chaser to alleviate the potential bitterness they’re swallowing. The Drinks Business also offers its own excellent analysis of the situation.   [Telegraph UK]

In other Diageo news, just when you thought all was quiet on the Tennessee front, the battle is starting up again. David Mann of Insider Louisville reports that jabs are once more being traded between Diageo and Brown-Forman/Jack Daniel’s over the definition of “Tennessee Whiskey.” [Insider Louisville]

BusinessWeek salutes the 30th anniversary of Blanton’s Single Barrel bourbon with a profile on just who Colonel Blanton was, and the history behind the industry’s oldest single barrel offering. [BusinessWeek]

Divisive whiskey author Jim Murray has announced his winners for the best whiskeys in the world which will be featured in the 2015 edition of the Whiskey Bible, with (as usual) a surprise Best Overall Winner. Let the complaining commence! [Daily Mail]

And finally today, in a totally unscientific poll of 2,000 Brits it has been somewhat discovered that women are more likely than men to polish off a bottle of wine in one sitting. But not by much: 16 percent of women and 14 percent of men confessed to the crime, with the highest percentage of bottle slammers being in the 25-34 year old demographic. [Telegraph UK]

Finally, the latest shipment from The Whiskey Explorers Club has arrived, this month offering four enticing samples for your blind-tasting consideration. If you’re not already a member, join up now and get in on the fun!

The Drinkhacker Shopping List – 10.31.2014

Welcome to the Drinkhacker Shopping List, our semi-monthly look back at the latest and greatest (and not so great) that we’ve reviewed. This edition finds us pretty heavy on the wines, along with some excellent bourbons and scotches — including a 50 year old Highland Park single malt. Happy shopping and happy Halloween!

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Recipe: Day of the Dead Cocktails, 2014

Recently we received an email with some recipes for drinks celebrating the upcoming Day of the Dead (see also this year’s Halloween cocktail compilation). Normally we just pick and choose from the recipes we receive and offer them up as a compendium, but mixologist Justin Noel did a such great job on each of these — featuring the newly released Espolon Anejo tequila — that it reasoned to post them all as a collection of their own. As always, make your own modifications to each recipe as you deem necessary.

Salty Air hires 150x147 Recipe: Day of the Dead Cocktails, 2014Salty Air
1 1/2 oz. Espolòn Añejo
1 oz. Fino Sherry
1/2 oz. Pedro Ximenez Sherry
1/4 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dashes of Regan’s Orange Bitters
1 dash of salt tincture
Orange peel (for garnish)

For Salt Tincture:
15 oz. kosher salt
15 oz. hot water
1 oz. vodka
Add kosher salt to hot water, stir to dissolve. Add vodka.

Add all ingredients in a rocks glass. Add large ice cube. Stir for 20-25 sec. Garnish with an orange peel.

Awake the Dead hires 150x147 Recipe: Day of the Dead Cocktails, 2014Awake the Dead
2 oz. Espolòn Añejo
1/4 oz. Coffee Demerara syrup
3 Dashes of cherry bitters
Orange peel (for garnish)
Brandied cherry

Coffee Demerara syrup:
8 oz. strong brewed coffee
8 oz. of Demerara sugar
Add coffee to demerara sugar, stir contents till dissolved.

In an old-fashioned glass, add the bitters, coffee demerara syrup, and Espolòn Añejo. Add large ice cube and stir the contents in the glass. Garnish with an orange peel and brandied cherry.

Luna de Cosecha hires 150x147 Recipe: Day of the Dead Cocktails, 2014Luna de Cosecha
1 1.2 oz. Espolòn Añejo
3/4 oz. Cochi Torino Vermouth
1/3 oz. Cynar
1/4 oz. Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao
Brandied Cherry

In a mixing glass, add the crème de cacao, sweet vermouth, Cynar and Espolòn Añejo. Add fresh ice and stir. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry.

Highland Julep hires 150x147 Recipe: Day of the Dead Cocktails, 2014Highland Julep
2 oz. Espolòn Añejo
10-15 Mint Leaves
1/2 oz. Agave Nectar
1/2 oz. Chamomile Tea
Mint Sprig
Dried Chamomile Tea Leaves

Chamomile Tea
4 Chamomile Tea Bags
Brew four tea bags in cup of water.

In a julep cup, add 10-15 mint leaves, chamomile tea and agave nectar, and muddle contents. Add Espolòn Añejo, then add a lot of crushed ice and take a bar spoon to slightly stir ingredients. Add more crushed ice to form a cone at the top of the julep cup. Garnish with a Mint Sprig and dusted dried chamomile tea.

Drinkhacker Reads – 10.29.2014 – Fireball Is Not Being Extinguished

With the latest hubbub surrounding Finland’s removal of Fireball whiskey from its shelves, an international frenzy has started to sweep social media under the rumor that the phenomenon is being pulled around the world. Of course this sent many a frathouse and wedding party into stockpile mode. Sazerac Company, makers of the world’s most beloved Cinnamon Whiskey, reached out to us with the following statement:

Fireball Cinnamon Whisky assures its consumers that the product is perfectly safe to drink. There is no recall in North America. Fireball fans can continue to enjoy their favorite product as they always have.

Late last week Sazerac, the makers of Fireball, was contacted by its European bottler regarding a small recipe-related compliance issue in Finland.

Regulations for product formulation are different in Europe, which explains why recipes for products like soft drinks, alcohol/spirits and even candies and confections are slightly different than their North American counterparts. Fireball, therefore, has a slightly different recipe for Europe.

Unfortunately, Fireball shipped its North American formula to Europe and found that one ingredient is out of compliance with European regulations. Finland, Sweden and Norway have asked to recall those specific batches, which is what the brand is doing. Fireball anticipates being back on the shelves for fans in these countries within three weeks.

The ingredient in question was propylene glycol (PG). PG is a regularly used and perfectly safe flavoring ingredient. PG has been used in more than 4,000 food, beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products for more than 50 years. Most people consume PG every day in soft drinks, sweeteners, some foods or alcoholic beverages.

The ingredient is “generally recognized as safe (GRAS)” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration up to 50 grams per KG. In Canada, its use is limited to “good manufacturing practice” with no defined numerical limit. It is used in the Fireball flavor in very small quantities, less than 1/8th of the amount allowed by US FDA regulations.

All Fireball formulas are absolutely safe to drink and the use of PG in Fireball creates no health risk whatsoever. There is no recall in North America. Fireball fans can continue to enjoy their favorite product as they always have.

So rest easy, college bars and internet rumor distributors. Fireball isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Other quick links for today:

Fox News takes a look at how millennials are changing the wine world. [Fox News]

Forbes posts an op-ed on how wine lovers should be embracing new technology. [Forbes]

Glen Grant has announced the release of its 50 year expression in a limited edition of 150 bottles. [Harper’s]

Diageo is delaying plans for new distilleries due to global slowdown in demand. Is the bubble about to burst? [Reuters]

The Ardbeg aged in space for 3 years has returned home. [Popular Mechanics]

Recipe: Halloween Cocktails, 2014

Probably more than any other holiday in recent memory, our inbox has been overflowing with Halloween inspired cocktail recipes from various folks. It’s been quite tough to muddle (no pun intended) through all of them, and even tougher to narrow down our favorites. Here are but a few that we’ve tested and enjoyed for your consideration.

milkshake 100x150 Recipe: Halloween Cocktails, 2014Bourbon Pumpkin Pie Milkshake
2 cups vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cream or half and half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
2-3 ounces of bourbon
frosting + sprinkles (or cinnamon sugar) for glasses

Add all ingredients to a blender and mix until combined. Rim glasses with a light coating of frosting then dip in sprinkles. Pour in shake and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Top with whipped cream if desired.

image001 105x150 Recipe: Halloween Cocktails, 2014Harvest Spiced Cider
(Courtesy of Sons of Essex)
2 oz Bacardi Gold
2 oz apple cider
1.5 oz canned 100% pumpkin puree
Dash of cloves

Combine in a shaker with ice the ingredients listed below. Shake vigorously and strain in to a tumbler filled with ice. Garnish with a large orange peel.

image001 150x89 Recipe: Halloween Cocktails, 2014Oaxaca Chakas
2 parts of Milagro Anejo
¾ parts agave nectar
1 part heavy whipping cream
2 parts milk
1 part oaxacan chocolate powder
freshly whipped cream

On medium heat, combine all ingredients except for the whipped cream, stirring casually until the mixture comes to a boil. Pour heated mixture into a coffee cup and top with whipped cream. Garnish with a stick of cinnamon.

Pernod Asinthe Green Beast 100x150 Recipe: Halloween Cocktails, 2014The Green Beast
1 part Pernod Absinthe
1 part simple syrup
1 part fresh lime juice
4 parts water
Thinly sliced cucumber wheels (for garnish)

Build in a Collins glass or punch bowl over ice. Garnish with cucumber slices

Zombie Breakfast
3/4 oz. Wild Turkey American Honey
3/4 oz. SKYY Blood Orange
1/4 oz. coffee liqueur
1/4 oz. cherry liqueur

Combine the American Honey, SKYY Blood Orange and cherry liqueur into a shaker over ice. Shake well and strain into a shot glass. Top with the coffee liqueur. (NOTE: Normally we don’t get all excited about shot based cocktails, but this one was surprisingly good.) Continue reading

Drinkhacker Reads – 10.27.2014 – Fireball GoPro Goes Viral, Vodka Distillery Goes Fireball

San Antonino firefighters were called to an East Bexar vodka distillery explosion at 8 am this morning. A propane or ethanol leak is currently the theory investigators are working with, but won’t have anything confirmed until looking at the distillery footage. Thankfully, only one worker was on the premises at the time, and he was treated and released with minor injuries. [KSAT]

No marketing firm could do better than this: It’s the sort of priceless advertising companies dream of. Someone stuck a GoPro camera onto a Fireball bottle and took pictures of a wedding party celebrating. Congrats to the happy couple, and congrats to Fireball for the readymade viral campaign. [Business Insider]

We all know that liquor store prices may vary upon quantity available, store location, and innumerable other variables. Gizmodo takes things a step further with an informal, unscientific survey of how much a bottle of Jack Daniels costs in each of the 50 states. [Gizmodo]

In science news, light alcohol consumption may help to retain memories in the elderly, neurologists are closer to figuring out why some drinkers become alcoholics and others do not, and spirit companies are not keeping their word about limiting alcohol advertising exposure to youth.

And finally today, Lucasfilm — that fine company that created and subsequently ruined the Star Wars saga — is suing New York’s Empire Brewing Company for the Empire Strikes Bock lager it serves at its brewpub, under the grounds it intentionally causes confusion between the two companies. Though the beer has been around for seven years now, there have been no reported cantina brawls because of it. May the farce be with you. [SFist]

Review: Speakeasy Bourbon

speakeasy 219x300 Review: Speakeasy BourbonSo this is an interesting one. Quietly released in a limited batch in September, the label reads that this was made by the Bardstown Club Distilling Company. However, a quick Google search reveals that this is indeed the handywork of none other than Willett, under another one of its noms de plume. This made Speakeasy all the more intriguing, given its recent string of quality offerings. And at a price tag of $30 what did I have to lose?

Not a lot, and thankfully there was plenty to gain. This is one of the most easygoing bourbons I’ve had in quite some time. It’s light and simple, with a nose of butterscotch and gratuitous amounts of vanilla, with a touch of crisp apples on the palate. Really ideal sipping for the transition from summer to autumn — and it’s a decent value. Not exactly sure how many bottles were made in this batch (or much more about it), but if you see one it may be worth picking up — especially if you’re not one who likes to pay top dollar for bourbon this time of year.

94 proof.

B+ / $30 / kentuckybourbonwhiskey.com

Drinkhacker Reads – 10.22.2014 – The Golden Age Of Bourbon?

Bourbon’s doing well. So well, in fact, that the Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is serving Beam Black and donuts at a press conference praising the bourbon boom. So well that the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund issued a 67 page report on Tuesday to celebrate its success. Just a few quick facts:

• Bourbon now contributes $3 billion in gross state product to Kentucky’s economy every year, up from $1.8 billion just two years ago, a 67 percent increase.
• More than 15,400 people owe their paychecks to the bourbon industry, compared to 8,690 in 2012, an increase of 77 percent.
• Barrel inventories are at their highest levels in 40 years, with more than 5.3 million aging currently in Kentucky.
• Production levels are up 53 percent in the last two years and 150 percent in the last 15 years.
• Distilleries plan to spend $630 million in capital investment over the next five years as the ad valorem “barrel tax” is offset by a corporate tax credit that distillers are required to reinvest in their Kentucky operations. This will create an additional 1,500 jobs, $43 million in payroll, and $5 million in tax revenue.
• Total capital investment will surpass $1.3 billion in projects over a 10-year period starting in 2008.
• Kentucky distillers source approximately 40 percent of all of their grain from Kentucky farms.
• The number of licensed distilling companies has tripled – from 10 to 31 in two years. That’s the most distilleries in Kentucky since the repeal of Prohibition.
• Distilling remains one of the state’s top job creators with a 4.35 spin-off factor, meaning every distillery job helps create four other jobs. Distilling now ranks second in total employment and job multiplier out of 245 industries (only animal processing ranks higher).
• Distilling industry employment is up 21 percent since 2000.
• New craft distilleries employ 127 people with salaries totaling more than $4 million. They have invested $30 million already, and plan to spend another $25 to $30 million in the next five years.

So one would think with all of these great numbers they would serve something a bit more upscale than Beam Black at a press conference. But this is Kentucky. Upscale ain’t what we’re about. But let’s enjoy the celebration like it’s the jazz age and the roaring twenties, when nothing bad ever happened to the U.S. economy.

Speaking of the roaring twenties, here’s something only rich people do: take a bath in red wine. We suppose grabbing a bunch of Two Buck Chuck and pouring it in the bathtub could also do the trick, but probably wouldn’t produce the intended results. Someone try this and tell us how it goes. [NY Mag]

On Monday, we featured a link to an interview with Balcones founder Chip Tate explaining his side of his legal travails to journalist Fred Minnick. Yesterday, Balcones ownership responded, on Fred’s blog, regarding Chip’s statements. Poor Fred. He must feel like a weird whiskey marriage counselor at this point. [Fred Minnick]

A few weeks ago we talked about this new sticklike gizmo on the market trying to Kickstart its way into the hearts of drinkers everywhere. Allegedly, the product ages whiskey faster. Overnight, actually. Gizmodo took it for a test drive, and much to no one’s surprise, Mother Nature was not fooled yet again. [Gizmodo]

And finally today, word reached us via press release that three professional golfers are, ahem, driving their way into the beer business. Freddie Jacobson, Keegan Bradley, and Graeme McDowell will launch a series of easy-drinking craft beers through their new company, GolfBeer Brewing Co. How they came up with such an inventive name — and such an underserved audience — we have no idea. Anyways, each craft beer was craftily crafted to suit each golfer’s taste profile. We’ve got the Freddie Jacobson Scandinavian Blonde Ale, Keegan Bradley’s New England Style Lager, and G-Mac’s Celtic Style Pale Ale, all of which will allegedly be on par in terms of price with other craft beers, and won’t be in the rough, with a smooth, easy finish. No word on whether Dorf will be the brand’s pitchman. [GolfBeer]

Drinkhacker Reads – 10.20.2014 – Chip Tate Opens Up and Other Legal Matters

We’ve been reading a lot about the recent turmoil surrounding Balcones distillery, its owners, and distillery founder Chip Tate. Now Chip comes on the record to speak with Fred Minnick over at Whisky Advocate to tell his side of the story. Judging from the look of things, this feud is just getting warmed up, and it’s going to get ugly quite quickly. [Whisky Advocate]

In other litigious news, the Wall Street Journal publishes an overview of the court battle currently in process against the folks at Tito’s Handmade Vodka. The suit is claiming Tito’s is made under false pretenses and is not really “handmade” as the brand claims. [Wall Street Journal]

Three folks have been arrested in a £80 million alcohol fraud bust by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers in London. Details are developing as of this post time, but officers believe the three to be part of a major booze diversion and laundering deal. We’ll follow up as more information becomes available. [Telegraph UK]

And finally today, just a heads up: Pappymania is almost amongst us. The Chicago Daily Herald runs the gratuitous profile piece on how folks can’t keep up with demand, and the Lexington Herald Leader follows up one year later on the now famous Pappygate heist (we still maintain it’s with Jimmy Hoffa). Bourbonr also has created a Pappytracker update application, so users can determine when Pappy arrives in their state. Oh yes, and if that wasn’t enough, there’s a new site dedicated to all things PvW: Pursuit of Pappy. So here we go!

The Drinkhacker Shopping List – 10.19.2014

It’s the weekend, and time for another edition of the Shopping List, our bi-weekly look back at the best and worst of new products we’ve reviewed. Lots to choose from this time, including a healthy survey of pumpkin flavored beers and some tequilas and whiskies receiving high marks. Whatever your palate may call for, we’ve something for everyone. We even have something for San Francisco Giants fans, who will no doubt be in need of a chaser to mix  salty tears as their beloved team suffers defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Royals in six games or less. [Heresy! -Ed.]

TheList1017141 525x1143 The Drinkhacker Shopping List   10.19.2014

Drinkhacker Reads – 10.15.2014 – Scotch-Inspired Chairs, Steve Jobs and Tax Adjustments

Good news for lovers of Scotch: the Balvenie has announced the arrival of three new expressions just in time for the arrival of the holiday season stateside. Retiring the Tun 1401 series, master distiller David Stewart is now turning his attention to Tun 1509: 35 traditional American oak barrels and seven European oak sherry butts will arrive married and bottled at the natural strength of 47.1% abv. The first bottles will appear on shelves mid-October with a price tag of $350. If that’s too thin for your blood, there’s also The Balvenie Single Barrel Traditional Oak Aged 25 Years, available in a limited edition of no more than 300 hand-numbered bottles drawn from a single cask, with a suggested retail price of $599. Or, there’s also The Balvenie Fifty, Cask 4567 which will only see 15 bottles arrive in the states, each of which will set you back a mere $38,000.

Better news for lovers of Scotch and/or fans of mid-century modern furniture: The Glenlivet has designed a chair inspired by its Nadurra range. Each chair is individually made and designed by British furniture maker Gareth Deal using Aberdeen Angus leather that’s been steeped in oak bark. No tasting notes supplied, but you can see the chair for yourself in this video.

Failing a takeover of SABMiller, Anheuser-Busch InBev is now fueling rumors of a potential merger or takeover of PepsiCo. [Seeking Alpha]

Following Monday’s allegations of tax evasion in South Korea, Pernod Ricard executives have dismissed the accusations. In a brilliant turn of phrase, Pernod executives spoke to Just Drinks and insist it was a matter of “tax adjustments,” and not a fine. [Just Drinks]

The Atlantic features a small profile piece on Samuel Adams figurehead Jim Koch, elevating his status in the craft beer industry with the unofficial title, “The Steve Jobs of Beer.” This poses the question: if Koch is Steve Jobs, who is the Steve Ballmer of the beer world? [Dan Gordon -Ed.] [The Atlantic]

And finally today, Johnnie Walker has announced the wide release of another new limited edition expression. John Walker and Sons Private Collection 2014 is the inaugural release in what is slated to become an annual event. Originally released earlier this year at select travel outlets, it is pulled from 29 casks and is set to be a limited edition of 8,888 bottles with a retail price of about $850.

Drinkhacker Reads – 10.13.2014 – Monday Roundup Edition

Lots of links to major items hit the inbox over the weekend, so let’s get on our way!

Pernod Ricard was fined $9.3 million for tax evasion in Korea. This on top of declining sales for many of its flagship brands over the last year. [Korean Times]

The newspaper of record offers up an op-ed piece on the beer monopoly, and renders a verdict in favor of small businesses. [New York Times]

In other beer news, Business Insider takes a look inside the marketing of beer to ladies, and how everyone hates pink colored beer. [Business Insider]

Good news for Bordeaux fans: France’s wine volume is expected to grow 10% thanks to a harvest recovery in the Bordeaux region. [Bloomberg]

Bad news for Bordeaux fans: Grape-rotting flies have been found in the region, and may damage future crop harvests. [Decanter]

The Financial Times is reporting that Diageo has a growth problem. Expansion has been rather limp lately, and there’s no magic pill to alleviate the situation. [Financial Times]

Apparently, removing age statements and short stocks are the best possible thing to happen in the Scotch sector. [The Spirits Business]

Sku posts about a bunch of new products coming down the pipeline that are receiving approval from the TTB, including potentially a new rye from Beam. [Sku’s Recent Eats]

And finally today, congrats to Whiskycast on making it to 500 episodes! If you’re not listening, you’re missing the best podcast on whisky that’s available. [WhiskyCast]

Drinkhacker Reads – 10.08.2014 – Scotch Sales Decline, Wine Lot Hits $1.6 Million

It’s not just the Irish. We’re also drinking less Scotch. While not as brutal as the dip in sales for Irish whiskey, which felt the pain of a recent 20% sales decrease, worldwide Scotch sales recently fell 0.8% according to a report released by report wizards Just Drinks. 14 of the 25 major markets saw a decline in Scotch consumption, but growth continues modestly in the United States, as well as in emerging markets like Russia and India. [Just Drinks]

Main Street’s Jason Notte goes inside the numbers and shows consumers just how much they are overpaying for each beer they drink. Presented as a counter argument (of sorts) to Notte’s article: a recent article in Forbes regarding the potential pitfalls of data journalism. [Main Street]

The protests in Hong Kong may have slowed things down for the general population a bit, but there were no signs of it at Sotheby’s auction, where the world’s most expensive lot of wine was auctioned off for $1.6 million yesterday. The 114-bottle set of Romanée-Conti wines date from 1992 to 2010 and were sold to an unidentified buyer, proving once again that not even government upheaval can stop wine lovers from getting what they want. [Forbes]

In the world of weird whisky news, the public battle between Templeton Rye and consumers still lingers on, and a Texas judge has found Balcones founder Chip Tate in contempt of court for violating a temporary restraining order against him by Balcones. No idea on how either of these stories are going to turn out in the end, but you can bet both of them are just hitting their respective strides.

And finally today, let’s end on a high note. The recent drought in California may have hurt many a agricultural crop, and when you combine that with the earthquake in Napa earlier this summer things aren’t exactly going the wine industry’s way. However, the Wall Street Journal is reporting a silver lining: that this year’s crop of grapes may produce some of the most flavorful fruit the region has yielded in some time. Only time will tell, but at least there’s something to look forward to in a few years. [Wall Street Journal]