Category Archives: News

Drinkhacker Reads – 09.17.2014 – Rapid Fire Links Edition

Lots of stuff to pass on today, so let’s just get to it:

Flavoring in whiskey? It’s possible. [Bourbon Truth]

Chuck Cowdery is calling out several distilleries as of late. The latest: 1835 Bourbon and Breckenridge. [Cowdery]

Chip Tate from Balcones Distillery finally breaks his silence regarding the current fracas going on down in Texas. Things are a bit “he said/they said” at the moment. No doubt deposition transcripts will make for interesting reading. [Whiskycast]

Tullamore Dew opens up its €35 million distillery. [Spirits Business]

Microbiologist switches careers, starts a distillery. [NPR]

Six colleges offering majors in the brewing sciences. Let the next generation of craft beers begin! [Blisstree]

An updated PDF of this weekend’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival. A web friendly version can be found here. [KY Bourbon Festival]

An update on the potential mega-merger between InBev and SAB Miller. Looks like the Beam-Suntory merger could be eclipsed as the biggest brand collision of 2014. With Heineken rebuffing SAB’s takeover move, look for this to become more of a possibility. [CBS News+Shanken]

Scottish secession updates: Washington Post and Financial Post go a bit more in depth on the economic ramifications distilleries may face and ABC News frets a bit more.

Bloomberg posts on how one of the billionaire Koch brothers is leading the crusade against fake wine. See also: Bill Koch crying on ABC News after being duped into buying “dish water or moose piss.” [Bloomberg]

GQ Magazine names Chicago the best city in America for drinking. [GQ]

And finally today: new labels from the Federal TTB database courtesy of blogger/NPR celebrity Sku: a generous amount of Scotch coming to America, and the label eventually replacing Jim Beam Black. [Sku's Recent Eats]

Drinkhacker Reads – 09.16.2014 – Diageo Succeeds, Scotland May Secede

Yesterday Diageo celebrated the grand opening of its succinctly named Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience at Stitzel-Weller in Louisville and announced that the mythical distillery will once again produce a limited amount of bourbon annually, presumably at an equally mythical price tag. Meanwhile across the pond, the Fool reports that Diageo may be the target of a takeover or merger with fellow mega conglomerate SAB. Of course this talk is always happening by speculative, murmured analysts so it’s pretty much here-say at this point. Investors are also a bit sour on the level of bonuses being awarded to Diageo executives, with shareholders feeling the company was a bit too generous in its compensation of upper brass.

In two days, Scotland will vote (at near 100% participation levels) on whether or not to remain a member of the United Kingdom. Members of the media as varied as Vice, CNN, and the Telegraph all offer up analysis on what will happen to the Scotch industry, should Scotland secede. Press representatives of The Scotch Whisky Association have also been making the rounds in the media, forewarning that Scotland’s independence could make the market unstable and hard to predict price points. Some readers in well trafficked forums are already beginning to horde hooch in artificially induced panic, but we’re adopting the position of that overused poster slogan now gracing everything from cosmetics to yoga pants: keep calm and carry on.

2014Queen QueenVodka Press 150914 300x200 Drinkhacker Reads   09.16.2014   Diageo Succeeds, Scotland May SecedeAnd finally today, legendary rock band Queen is releasing a vodka paying tribute to its former frontman Freddie Mercury. Available starting tomorrow in select areas, Killer Queen is produced by Stoli and had they been alive to taste it, would have been a fine remedy for Kruschev and Kennedy. Early reports state that it has hints of gunpowder, gelatine, and dynamite with an aftertaste of laser beam. No word on whether or not its guaranteed to blow your mind, anytime.

Drinkhacker Reads – 09.12.2014 – Blurb-on Edition

Normally we don’t offer up a Reads post on Fridays but with the number of news items in our inbox and on the fax machine, we figured it warranted an additional bonus post for the week. So without further ado…

Marge Bill Sr  300x288 Drinkhacker Reads   09.12.2014   Blurb on EditionMarge Samuels of Maker’s Mark will become the fifth woman and the first woman directly connected with a distillery to be inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame September 17th at the Bardstown Country Club. The Co-Founder of Maker’s Mark, her contributions to the development of the brand are enormous. She was responsible for the name, the distinct bottle design, the label (an excellent marriage of old fashioned typography and calligraphy work), the trademark, and most importantly… the iconic red wax. Mrs. Samuels was also a pioneer in designing the distillery visitor center and foresaw the tourism potential long before the competition did. Here’s a very well designed website tells the tale of their bourbon love story, and it’s definitely worth the time to read.

Jimmy and Eddie with Diamond Anniversary 300x216 Drinkhacker Reads   09.12.2014   Blurb on EditionAlso in the kudos department, congrats to Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell who celebrated exactly 60 years on the job on Wednesday. In a letter, his son and co-Master Distiller Eddie wrote “his career has taken him to the farthest corners of the world spreading the gospel of Bourbon, and now, at 80 years old, he’s still working hard. In fact, he’s the longest-tenured, active Master Distiller in the world.” A celebration of his tenure was commemorated in an excellent bourbon, and in a documentary.

The Kentucky Bourbon Festival is right around the corner. As per usual, this year is full of events that would get even the most diehard of bourbon fans excited for its arrival. On top of everything this year, Bulleit is sponsoring a program offering folks free rides to and from the festival! Those who wish to take advantage of the free rides service during can call 270-765-7297 to schedule a ride during festival hours. We’ll be posting more about individual events next week!

If you still need convincing to get down this way for the festival, author/blogger/ascot authority Fred Minnick provided Conde Nast a very thorough listicle on 10 reasons to celebrate Bourbon Heritage Month. Fred’s still on a roll, touring and promoting his award-winning Whiskey Women book, and will be at the Festival autographing copies. In other book news, Chuck Cowdery has released his long awaited sequel to Bourbon, Straight. Bourbon, Strange is a compendium of short stories detailing the weird and wild history of bourbon. — stuff off the beaten path.

Finally, WDRB is reporting that Angel’s Envy is finishing up its downtown Louisville facility and is planning to expand into two more warehouses in Shivley, just outside the city limits. And finally today, the always reliable Janet Patton gives an update on the fall bourbon onslaught that is now getting underway.

Drinkhacker Reads – 09.10.2014 – Politics, Courts, and Whiskey Edition

With recovery efforts from the Napa earthquakes still in process and the full extent of the damage to the wine region still being assessed, now comes word from Italy that wine production will be down 14% due to a rainy summer season. These factors as well as a significant drop in Spanish production now means the French could possibly once again take over as the world’s leading wine producer. However, those French folk can’t rest easy: it seems as if those surly New Yorkers might have your number in short order. [Bloomberg]

What do the American Beverage Licensees, The Beer Institute, Brewers Association, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, National Association of Beverage Importers, National Beer Wholesalers Association, The Presidents’ Forum of the Distilled Spirits Industry, WineAmerica, Wine Institute, and the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America all have in common? Other than sounding quite official, they have collectively banded together in a letter addressed to those overachieving go-getters in the United States Congress, urging Congress to honor the Obama Administration’s request and fully fund the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The letter highlights the importance of a properly functioning TTB stating

“We need a well-funded TTB to be able to process label requests quickly in order to get new products to market in this highly competitive global marketplace. We also need a well-funded TTB to prevent and guard against unscrupulous actors from entering our marketplace who otherwise could harm the public with dangerous products, which has occurred outside of the United States with counterfeit alcohol,”

There’s also need a fully functioning TTB to cut down on a few other problems as well. No official Congressional response yet (they’re still gridlocked on what to say), but the TTB said it would gladly review any funding request forms and would respond anywhere from 14 to 45 days from now (they’re really busy).

Paperwork submitted on behalf of Balcones board of directors in a suit against brand creator Chip Tate have been published courtesy of the website Whisky File. Like all business matters reaching legal levels of intervention, the story is complex and convoluted. There’s no real narrative becoming clear yet — something about Tate not cooperating with the board — as Tate’s side of the story has yet to be presented. Whisky File does an excellent job breaking down the details and providing some much needed analysis. [Whisky File]

And finally today: Shanken gives a brief overview at the challenges currently facing bourbon producers in Kentucky, and how they’re trying to find solutions to keep up with demand (both global and domestic) for the supply. [Shanken News Daily]

Drinkhacker Reads – 09.08.2014 – William Grant Acquires Drambuie

A follow up to an earlier story: William Grant and Sons have finally pulled the trigger and acquired the Drambuie brand, according to the BBC. Details on just how much this will cost the Balvenie bosses have yet to be revealed, but the Glenfiddich gang is currently riding high on the horse, reporting a 10.6% increase in operating profits from 2012 to 2013. [Press and Journal]

The last couple weeks have been most certainly dramatic in the bourbon/American whiskey world, with the volume on the “What is Craft?” debate being turned all the way up to 11. Now consumer advocacy groups are encouraging class action lawsuits against those who feel they’ve been wronged by the terms “small batch” or “craft.” Many companies have been called for accountability and transparency in their product’s origins, something that they ought to be doing legally anyways. However, distilleries have skirted the issue, and a small group of online scribes led by Wade Woodard and bourbon expert Chuck Cowdery are starting to speak up. In fact, Cowdery devoted a full post this weekend to uncovering facts about Widow Jane bourbon. It’ll be interesting to see if the groundswell and consumer demand for transparency grows, or if the marketing-savvy companies will roll out the “age/location/process ain’t nothin’ but a number” argument and keep selling their usual narratives.

And speaking of age being nothing but a number, Cowdery also is reporting that one of the best bourbon values available is losing its age statement. Via his Facebook page, he announced that Jim Beam Black is being stripped of its 8 year status. This was confirmed courtesy of a Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau filing for a new label and product: Jim Beam Black XA (link courtesy of the always diligent Sku). We reached out to a Beam spokesperson, who offered us the following response:

Our bottle was recently refreshed to even better represent the premium product – one that stays true to the Beam traditions dating back to 1795 but remains as current as ever. We can assure you that the liquid in the bottle (what matters most) will continue to deliver on the qualities and attributes that are expected from Jim Beam Black, such as its richer aroma, darker color and smoother, more complex flavor profile.

image001 Drinkhacker Reads   09.08.2014   William Grant Acquires DrambuieSo there’s that.

Finally today, in things you probably can’t afford news (and if you can afford it, drop us a line): Balvenie has announced two new 50 year old expressions from different casks at a price tag of $42,690.44 each, Rémy Martin is also introducing a limited edition LOUIS XIII Black Pearl Anniversary Edition this month which will retail for a mere $16,000. If anyone needs us, we’ll be in the back room drinking a dram of bourbon with no age statement on it.

Drinkhacker Reads – 08.27.2014 – More Napa News

With estimates of the recent Napa earthquake damage now topping the billion-dollar marksome wineries are starting to re-open, while others are irreparably damaged. However, it does seem as if some federal aid may be available to those struggling. Hopefully no aftershocks will bring further major damage. While speculators are already chomping at the bit to see if wine prices will rise over the news, a few analysts are confident the impact on cost will be minimal.

Normally we don’t pay attention to “best of” lists, but when someone crafts an article declaring they have determined the 8 best bourbons in the world, our curiosity gets the best of us. While we can’t disagree with some of those picks (Blanton’s Straight From The Barrel is pretty heavenly), we were surprised that every single bottle on the list came from Buffalo Trace. Perhaps Andrew Meola needs to expand his horizons a bit more. If only there were websites reviewing bourbons other than those from Buffalo Trace… [The Street]

Add one more to the already crammed fall calendar of new bourbon releases: a Jim Beam Bonded expression. Sku’s reported on this last week, and while no definite date has been set, look for it on shelves sometime in the coming months. What does the term “bonded” or “bottled in bond” mean? Wikipedia sums it up nicely with a basic explanation. [Sku's Recent Eats]

And finally today, Shanken is reporting that Diageo is re-opening the mythical Stitzel-Weller distillery for bottling for the first time in decades. This announcement comes on the heels of a $115 million Bulleit distillery groundbreaking in nearby Shelby County last week. No word on what will exactly be bottled or warehoused in the facility (probably more “orphans”), but it seems as if Diageo is digging its heels into Kentucky and is ready to begin competing on a larger level for a share of the American Whiskey market. Whiskey scribe and ascot aficionado Fred Minnick interviewed Diageo VP Guy Smith recently, who was less than forthcoming about details, but who did offer Fred a job. [Shanken News Daily]

Drinkhacker Reads – 08.25.2014 – Napa Recovery Continues

Following yesterday’s 6.0 rated Bay Area earthquake residents of the region are continuing clean up efforts, especially in the Napa Valley wine region. Thankfully there appears to have been minimal injury to the citizens of the region, but the loss of physical property seems to be pretty extensive. A commonplace sight is store owners who are reliant on summer holiday tourism now brushing broken bottles into piles. Several winemakers in the region were hit pretty hard during a crucial time of the year: the harvest. No exact figures yet on how much was lost, but some vineyards are reporting losing up to 50 percent of inventory, including many high-end and prized vintages. No doubt we’ll have more on this later in the week.

New York Times columnist/author Clay Risen once again files an excellent article on the American craft distillery movement, this time focusing on F.E.W as a primary subject. American craft distillers seem to have the hot hand at the moment, second maybe only in demand for Japanese Whisky. Risen’s article is outstanding, and much like his recent book it’s an easy read. [New York Times]

In other “craft distillery” news, Diageo recently announced that its new $115 million distillery will bear the Bulleit name, proving once again the company is putting all its eggs in Tom Bulleit’s basket for bourbon success. However, the best article covering the press junket goes to Insider Louisville’s Steve Coomes, whose mildly snarky tone proved to be just the thing for a bourbon reception where ginger ale was served. [Insider Louisville]

First they banned Kentucky Gentleman. Now they’re taking on Jack Daniel’s: Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being (pretty awesome name, comrades) is now banning Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey for allegedly containing traces of insect repellent. The Russian agency has been on a roll as of late, shutting down four McDonalds and going after other American-based companies. We’re fairly certain this has nothing to do with recent sanctions against the nation, and that no one is playing politics. Russian president/potential NHL all star Vladimir Putin is way above those sorts of measures. [Bloomberg]

And finally today, Time magazine files a report highlighting the seven strangest beers laws currently on record in the United States. Unsurprisingly, the straight-laced state of Utah once again comes through with one of the most peculiar (patrons can not have alcohol without ordering food in restaurants). [Time]

Drinkhacker Reads – 08.12.2014 – Bogart Gets His Own Gin

Following in the footsteps of Duke bourbon and Jack Daniels’ Sinatra Select, we now have Bogart gin. We’ll skip the obvious “gin joints” joke to be made here, but we’ll just say it’s being made with the blessing of the Bogart estate, and should arrive later this year. No word yet on the long-awaited Sammy Davis Jr. Manischewitz or the Peter Lawrence Cotton Candy Vodka. [NY Daily News]

The Telegraph UK posts an article arguing for better labeling on alcohol products, specifically listing caloric content and health warnings a la cigarette packaging. [Telegraph UK]

Teeling has commenced work on its new whiskey distillery in Dublin’s Newmarket in The Liberties. This is the first new distillery in Dublin in well over a century and aims to pay tribute to the distilleries of yesteryear. Equipment is slated to arrive in October, and a full commissioning of the distillery should occur by year’s end. [Teeling Press Release]

And finally today: Shortie, the Jack Russell which serves as the distillery mascot for Ardbeg, has been commemorated in his very own crop circle in northwest England (Cheshire) as a thank you to the astronauts aboard the international space station. The scientists have been conducting a series of events involving zero gravity maturation, with samples of Ardbeg orbiting in the heavens since Fall 2011. The experiment is set to conclude and return to Earth later this year. [Ardbeg PR]

image002 Drinkhacker Reads   08.12.2014   Bogart Gets His Own Gin

Drinkhacker Reads – 08.07.2014 – Boycotts and Bourbon Edition

Just days after declaring that Kentucky Gentlemen are no longer welcome within borders of his empire, Russian hockey superstar/project manager/mega dictator Vladimir Putin is now introducing a series of bans on imported foods and goods. How great of an impact this will have on America’s agricultural industry has yet to be fully ascertained, but experts agree it will have some significance. Amusingly, wine is still an acceptable import (for now). Will this hurt the growing American whiskey industry? Possibly, especially with demand elsewhere in the world suddenly running slightly lower vs. last year. Regardless, trade sanctions on anything never help economies and in the end no one really wins. Here’s hoping for a change of heart soon. [BBC]

A New York court has ruled that Diageo must change the name of its Johnnie Walker Explorer’s Club range of whiskies, as the brand runs too close in premise and spirit to the established Explorer’s Club of New York, which features some of humanity’s most well known adventurers as its members. Of course Diageo is disappointed by the ruling, but says it’s excited about a new product line soon to be released, Johnnie Walker MENSA. [Wall Street Journal]

The exhaustive and expansive campaign known as the Single Oak Project is starting to wind down, with the 14th batch in the series slated to be released later this month. This is the first of what will be a very heavy upcoming release schedule for Buffalo Trace, with new E.H. Taylor offerings, new editions from the experimental collection, and of course the always in-demand Antique Collection coming out within the next few months. Our review of batch 13 is up now. [Single Oak Project]

And finally today, BevNet reports that Wild Turkey is partnering with the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG) to promote an intensive course in the bourbon-making process. Behind The Barrel will be a series of events with Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell with the aim of providing a thoroughly educational experience and with the hopes of establishing a bourbon expert certification program in the future. Potential students can apply for the program on Wild Turkey’s website. [BevNet]

Drinkhacker Reads – 08.04.2014 – Bonham’s to Present Japanese Whisky Auction

For those with ample money to spend and a die hard interest in quality spirits, take note: Bonham’s is once again hosting Asia’s largest Japanese Whisky auction, with a chance to score one of the world’s rarest bottlings: a 50 year old Yamazaki. A full catalog of auction items is currently ready for perusal. So get your currency converted and ready to go for August 15th, because this is sure to be quite good fun. [The Drinks Business]

We haven’t had a celebrity endorsement of interest in quite some time. For a while it seemed as if there was one appearing at least once a week, but this one is a bit different. E-40 has been in the rap game for a long time with a reasonable amount of success, establishing a loyal fan base and with longevity most other rappers would enviously take if given the option. What makes his story so great is the second act of his career: Building a pretty successful stable of wine releases over the past two years. The Sacramento Bee goes on to call him the “Robert Mondavi of hip-hop”, but we’d like to think of him as a pretty great grape wrangler independent of his music career. [Sacramento Bee]

Elsewhere, 10 Barrel Beer is currently recalling bottles of two brands of beer due to bottles exploding. Its “Beer #1″ and appropriately-named “Swill” lines have been having fermentation problems resulting in exploding glass bottles. [King 5 News]

Forbes runs a profile piece on Buffalo Trace, the latest in a seemingly long line of articles about the distillery in the last months. Not much here that fans don’t already know, but for people just discovering the brand it may be worth a read.[Forbes]

And finally today, a sobering look at climate change, how it’s impacting wine production in Australia and Africa, and what the future holds for the industry both in terms of quality and quantity. [Quartz]

Drinkhacker Reads – 07.30.2014 – Crafty Practices Running Rampant

Is the tide finally turning? Shanken discusses a bit of a problem the vodka industry is facing right now: their flavored vodka lines just aren’t selling the way they once were. Hopefully this is a sea change for folks looking for something a bit less absurd than vodka which tastes like lawn clippings, or asphalt, or wax candles, or whatever the industry is trying to sell these days. [Shanken News Daily]

Will consumers embrace no-age statements on scotch? This is the question the Spirits Business poses in a recent article discussing recent changes to the industry. A better question to possibly ask is: will they have a choice? It seems as if this practice isn’t just for Scotch either: Bourbon is heading in the same direction as well, with a few Sazerac brands recently removing age statements from their bottles. [The Spirits Business]

The Daily Beast runs a profile piece on Lawrenceburg, Indiana’s MGP, a place where many of the “craft”/”artisan” distilleries are currently sourcing their stock. Much has been made lately of the craft debate, with some people asking for more transparency while others are asking if we’re taking this all a bit too seriously. [Follow up: Dave Lieberman from OC Weekly publishes a rebuttal to the original Daily Beast article, and the reddit majority fires up its cylinders for the day.] [The Daily Beast]

And finally today, a new study from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins and the Boston University School of Public Health has determined that underage drinkers are three times more likely to drink brands advertised on television programs they watch compared to other alcohol brands. The results help to reinforce a 2012 linking television and media identity to brand loyalty and familiarity among underaged drinkers, and another recent study linking pop music and alcohol brands. [Science Codex]

Drinkhacker Reads – 07.28.2014 – Whiskey Cats Rule Edition

It’s a commonly known fact that cats are the glue which keeps the internet together and running in ship-shape. What’s lesser known is that cats are also responsible for keeping bourbon distilleries safe, making sure at night that mice/unsavory folk never help themselves in the warehouses (fact: cats can also call 911). So it was with great sadness when we learned of the passing of Elijah, the 19 year old guardian cat of Woodford Reserve. Named after one of the founding fathers of bourbon, Elijah was often a presence on the Woodford Reserve tours, and we can recall many a time when we’d see him basking in the sun, eyeballing suspicious tourists, or barking orders at an employee to get the barrels inside faster. Our hearts go out to the Woodford Reserve crew. [Lexington Herald-Leader]

Congrats to Han Shan, whose catchy name will no doubt be one that trips off the tongue as Hudson Whiskey’s new brand ambassador. Chosen from thousands of applicants, Han Shan (whose name literally means “Cold Mountain” in Chinese) won a nationwide competition and will be traveling the world spreading the gospel of Hudson in short order. Here’s hoping he makes the transition to hooch after being a noted environmental activist and advocate of several social justice causes. [Hudson Whiskey]

In science/technology news: Researchers have determined that moderate alcohol use can actually sharpen one’s sense of smell; Omega-3 may protect the brain during alcohol binges; sake has its own microbial terrior; a new app arrives on the market to help with wine decisions; Gizmodo tries an electricity flavored vodka; and climate change may be ruining wine corks.

And finally today, the Smithsonian publishes an article putting your favorite drinks under the microscope, providing some beautiful and fantastically abstract results. [Smithsonian]

Drinkhacker Reads – 07.21.2014 – ID That Old Whiskey!

Rare is our chance to talk about the world of sports on the site, but this one is worth it: the New England Patriots (an NFL football team, for our international friends) are suing Bacardi after the mega-company walked away from a deal involving a new pavilion to be built on stadium grounds: Casa Bacardi. [Boston Globe]

In other comedy news: Diageo, the multi-billion dollar, internationally-based spirits empire with tens of thousands of employees globally, defends its right to be called a “craft distiller” over at the Spirits Business. Fittingly, this article comes during the latest release in its Orphan Barrel project: “Rhetoric.” Up next: Ford rebrands itself as “artisan,” the Koch brothers are “small businessmen,” and Apple reinvents itself as “a modest little startup”. [The Spirits Business]

In science news: researchers at The University of Texas have genetically engineered worms that can not get drunk no matter how much alcohol they ingest. This could prove promising for future sobriety technologies, such as pill to sober people up immediately. [Independent UK]

Finally today, a site which has been getting a lot of buzz lately is WhiskeyID, an incredible new resource where folks can try and figure out the origin of that old dusty bottle from their grandparent’s attic instead of emailing us about it. Lovingly culled together by some of the most passionate whiskey fans on the net, it’s limited in scope but insanely informative. Expect great things from this site in the near future. We’ll be checking in regularly! [WhiskeyID]

Drinkhacker Reads – 07.16.2014 – Upcoming Fall Releases

As Christopher’s review earlier today indicated, the new Beam Signature Craft series offering isn’t out until September. However, it’s just one of many exciting releases coming up this Autumn, which has turned into the American whiskey equivalent of NYC’s Fashion Week. The venerable, Pappy-addicted website Bourbonr (with a little help from our man Sku) has a thoroughly detailed roundup of the new releases you can expect to see — or in some cases not see due to limited supply and high demand — this upcoming season. We tried an early sample of Willet’s Exploratory Cask Finish at a tasting this past spring and it was exceptional, possibly a contender for one of the best of 2014. Looking forward to the final results! [Bourbonr]

Rumors are going around the party chat line that Diageo might mega-merge with Miller (SABMiller), creating one the biggest drinks companies on the planet. The Street takes a look at what this collision might mean for both companies. [The Street]

In tech news, the domain name .bar went into registry form on Monday, and over 100 companies have already registered for potential new URLs. Early on it looks like only one beer brand jumped on the bandwagon: Miller. Check out who else is joining up. Might be time to go register and launch drinkhacker.bar. [Domains]

Brazil may have hosted some big parties over the last few weeks involving sports, but the country’s thirst for cachaça may be drying up, according to a new report issued by Just Drinks. Global sales of the sugar-based hooch fell 3% in 2013, selling a new record low 79.3 million cases. As Brazil accounts for 99% of cachaça sales, this isn’t exactly what cachaça CEOs need to hear. However the news isn’t all bad, as international sales grew 1% over the same time frame, with sales in Portugal and Chile leading the way. [Just Drinks]

And finally today: don’t call it a comeback, but maybe just a tiny shot of botox and some nips and tucks here and there. Shanken is reporting that major players within the rum industry are gearing up this fall to launch new products to help re-establish the spirit as one of the top drinks of choice for consumers. After a major decade long surge, sales slumped over the past three years, largely thanks to competition from bourbon, tequila, and our perennial favorite: flavored vodkas. [Shanken News Daily]

Drinkhacker Reads – 07.14.2014 – Cheap Wine and Luxurious Repositioning

The Daily Mail is reporting the wild statistic that one in five bottles of big-brand wines sold at retailers could very well be fraudulent. In what sounds like a plot to an independent movie, local gangs are forging labels, placing them on bottles and then selling them to stores at a reduced price. Apparently this trend has been going on for quite some time, as the BBC ran a feature on this in 2011, complete with pointers on how to spot the fake bottles. [Daily Mail]

In order to better align with its core business brands, First Drinks is rebranding itself as William Grant & Sons, and looks to reposition its portfolio (Glenfiddich, Grant’s, Balvenie, Hendricks, Sailor Jerry, and Tullamore Dew) in luxury markets. As a direct result of the reorganization, the Spirits Business is reporting that William Grant also “reappraised” 30 employees from its staff, possibly because the employees weren’t preening and positioning themselves as luxurious enough. [Spirits Business]

In a recent report issued by report overlords Technomic, Americans like their wines cheap, with competition being the toughest in the $10-20 price range. The report also includes a spiffy infographic detailing some other findings. [Restaurant Hospitality]

And finally today in science news: global warming is making Shiraz less alcoholic and scientists are now reversing their position back to their original stance that too many daily drinks is not good for your heart. Oh yeah, and Chris scored a major article in Wired last week. Did you read it? If not, here’s your chance.

Drinkhacker Reads – 07.07.2014 – Reports, Science, and Naming Contests

Coming off the holiday celebrating America’s independence, USA Today is running a story on which states within our fruited plains drink the most beer. Even as consumption and sales decline from previous years, there are some states where the hops still remain the drink of choice. Elsewhere, a new study from the Center for Disease Control reports that New Mexico leads the nation in alcohol related deaths. [USA Today]

In another salute to American ingenuity and a swell use of our taxpayer dollars, the NIH has designed a cocktail content calculator to determine just how potent your drinks are when measured against other standards. There are some default drinks already made (you have to click the icon on top bar), but if you’re like us we like drinks with a bit more bite to them, so recalibrate properly. [NIH]

In other totally awesome science news, forensic scientists in Europe have developed a new method to determine the authenticity of Scotch by isolating isotopes to test the makeup of the water used in the distilling process. While not fully implemented or verified yet, this could prove to be promising for the future of authenticating spirits in a growing market seeing more than its share of counterfeit products. [The Spirits Business]

And finally today we have not one, but two naming contests you can enter. Chef/Mad Scientist/Food Advocate Homaro Cantu is getting into the beer brewing business, and he’s crowdsourcing the name. They’ve got a list of 12 to choose from, so hop on over to their site to cast your ballot. The other contest involves naming North Carolina-based Fullsteam’s next exclusive beer. In collaboration with Beer Of The Month Club, folks can suggest a name and enter to win a 6 month membership to the Rare Beer Club. What are you waiting for? Get your thinking caps on and go!

Drinkhacker Reads – 07.02.2014 – Happy Belated Canada Day!

Canada flag 300x153 Drinkhacker Reads   07.02.2014   Happy Belated Canada Day!Happy Belated Canada Day! We here in America got pre-occupied with getting our hearts broken by the Belgian soccer team yesterday, so we kind of missed out in saluting our neighbors to the north. So we’re changing that today! But first, here are some statistics. According to our boys at Stats Canada:

– 85% of Molson Canadian beer is consumed in a backyard inflatable kiddie pool
– The average Canadian 70 year-old spends 17 hours per day sitting silently in Tim Hortons
– The sixth most popular Canadian baby name in 2012 was “Maple Glazed”
– It takes the average Canadian 42 seconds to get a sunburn

One of our absolute favorite things from the last winter olympics was the Molson Canadian Beer Fridge; a walk in cooler which would open only for Canadian athletes with a valid passport. To celebrate Canada Day, it returned to select locations, but ONLY to people who could sing the Canadian national anthem in its entirety. Having grown up spending wintry Saturday nights watching Hockey Night In Canada as a child/awkward teenager/totally inept adult, this will be no problem for us. Oh, Canada! [ABC News]

While Canadians are commonly known for their industrious beer making, they are also responsible for some really incredible whisky. Here’s a short batch of our favorites, with links to reviews of recent releases:

Masterson’s 12 Year Old Straight Wheat Whiskeys
Collingwood 21 Year Old Rye Canadian Whisky
Pike Creek
Pendleton 1910 Aged 12 Years Canadian Rye Whisky

Try one this upcoming 4th of July weekend! We won’t tell anyone it’s not Bourbon.

In other Commonwealth/British Empire related news, Jude Law is set to star in a movie made by Johnnie Walker Blue, according to the Spirits Business. The Gentlemen’s Wager will be directed by noted sci-fi director Ridley Scott…..’s son and will tell the story of two dudes striving for excellence. What fun. [Spirits Business]

And finally today, a major Colbert-styled tip of the hat to Marvin Shanken, whose Wine Spectator and News Daily stories are regular staples of the Reads feature. The publisher recently donated $3 million dollars to the Sonoma State University Wine Learning Center to further the program’s aims, including MBAs and business degrees in the wine business. In this day and age where universities are having to tighten belts and bleed students with tuition increases, it’s good to see folks giving back to important programs. [New York Post]

Drinkhacker Reads – 06.18.2014 – New Diageo Distillery Inching Ahead

Diageo’s new $115 million dollar distillery cleared a major hurdle yesterday, receiving approval from the Shelby (KY) planning commission to proceed with construction. However, this didn’t come without a fight, as many local residents expressed concern about environmental hazards, wildlife protection, and property values. It should also be noted that Shelby County is a “mixed” county — meaning wet within the city limits of Shelbyville, but dry around the remainder of the county. This would have an effect on Diageo’s ability to create revenue through tourism/tastings. Still no word on the distillery’s Master Distiller, but there’s talk this will be coming in short order. More on this later, no doubt. [WAVE]

More information is coming out regarding the fire that seriously injured one worker at an Oklahoma distillery last week. Twister Distillery was using a type of still which required an open flame, which was on a wooden pallet. On a forklift. [Tulsaworld]

The Spirits Business reports that five businesses have come together to form the Michigan Distillers Guild in an effort to unify and continue to grow the state’s success in the spirits world. We wish them well and hope that they partner with the Michigan Brewer’s Guild to advance things for all in Lansing. [The Spirits Business]

And finally today in science news, researchers have determined that a person’s vision quality physically deteriorates after alcohol consumption, giving new weight to the terms “beer goggles” and “blind drunk” as a way of describing inebriation. [Science 2.0]

Drinkhacker Reads – 06.16.2014 – Alcoscientific Research Edition

There’s a couple of problems with listicles that we’ll not get into right now (maybe later). However, Lifehacker (nice name) debunks 8 prominent alcohol myths using science as its base, and it’s worth perusing. We also highly encourage you to read the comments section afterwards, as it’s one of the rare times community contributions actually enhance the reading experience. In other science news, pregnancy tests are now going to be available in bars across Alaska free of charge in an effort to reduce fetal alcohol syndrome. [Lifehacker]

The Guardian files a report on a trend usually associated with the tobacco industry: Alcohol companies are now starting to fund charities in order to gain political influence. So far it’s a minor trend, but it will be interesting to see if this starts to become a widespread practice and how it will influence the future. [The Guardian]

To commemorate 75 years in business, Crown Royal has issued a special limited run blend (review forthcoming). Monarch will retail for about $70 and come in at 40% ABV. Elsewhere in Canadian new releases, it seems as if Alberta Rye Dark Batch is (finally) making its way to the states, with a much more energy-drink like packaging than its Canadian edition. [Hat tip to SKU for the spot on this new release]

And finally today in bourbon news, Janet Patton files updates on the restoration efforts at the Old Taylor and Old Crow distilleries for the Lexington Herald Leader, and the Today show interviews Fred Minnick and Chuck Cowdery on the supposed Bourbon shortage that’s happening in Kentucky.

Drinkhacker Reads – 06.11.2014 – Of Lawsuits and Lasers

After a rather tumultuous legislative session and some tense moments between all parties involved, Tennessee courts have concluded the hearing into Diageo allegedly housing whiskey made at the Dickel distillery in other states. This allegation specifically included neighboring Kentucky, where Diageo owns several barrel houses worth of storage and orphaned barrels.The state adjourned its hearing after the explanation was given that all while all Dickel bottled as such stays within state limits, some juice does make its way into Kentucky to be used in other products. In other Diageo news, Whisky Advocate got to sit down with Diageo reps and Tom Bulleit, who further expanded on details of its newly planned distillery in Kentucky.

In science news, a new laser-based device may make it possible for law enforcement officials to detect the presence of alcohol vapors in a moving vehicle. Privacy issues aside, this type of a equipment doesn’t seem like it will be readily available for a while, but the paper has no doubt piqued the interest of the National Transportation Safety Board. [Daily Tech]

With decision day coming this fall, Scotland’s independence from the United Kingdom is becoming a very real and sobering prospect. Harper’s takes a look at what that will mean for an industry currently enjoying brisk momentum and robust sales. [Harper's]

And finally today, in a “making lemonade out of lemons” feel-good story, a farmer in Texas hasn’t been able to sell his black-eyed peas for much, so he’s decided to turn them into a different sort of cash crop: vodka. [Chron]