Category Archives: News

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]

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]

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!

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]

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]

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!

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]

Drinkhacker Reads – 10.06.2014 – Drink It Like Beckham, Irish Whiskey Plummets 20%

Retired Manchester United icon/Spice Husband David Beckham stars in a new ad with a bunch of A-List friends to promote his new whisky, Haig Club. Look for it to arrive stateside in the next few weeks. [Daily Mail]

The Spirits Business reports that even though there’s been substantial investment in the Irish whiskey sector, sales have dropped an astounding 20% in the past year. Once the widely touted “fastest growing spirits category in the world,” industry experts attribute the recent dip to excise tax increases. [Spirits Business]

Elsewhere in the Scotch world, a new consulting firm has been established for investors considering a jump into the rare whiskey world. Rare Whisky 101 will feature breakdowns, forecasts, and all of the other tools necessary for the informed investor, as well as a brokering service for matchmaking. [Telegraph UK]

In science news: data journalism is taken to task, Venezuelans are drinking more rum than ever, drinking 5 drinks a week can reduce the quality of one’s sperm, a new super yeast could tolerate heat and alcohol, a new pill could curb alcohol intake, and drunk men apparently have more fun than drunk women. We know a few ladies who would aggressively argue against this last finding.

And finally today, Shanken has a short interview with one of the nicest men in the Bourbon industry, Wild Turkey master distiller Jimmy Russell. Russell is currently enjoying his 60th anniversary at Wild Turkey, and offers up some quick insights on the state of bourbon and its future growth. [Shanken News Daily]

Celebrating 60 Years with Wild Turkey’s Jimmy Russell

Hey, look who dropped into San Francisco on the eve of WhiskyFest! It’s Jimmy and Eddie Russell, the co-master distillers at Wild Turkey. Over toasts and samples of a variety of WT expressions — including the Diamond Anniversary edition, which is now making its way to the west coast — the duo talked Old Time Kentucky, ponies, houseboats, and, of course, Bourbon-makin’. (Did you know: Eddie Russell claims Wild Turkey is the only major distillery not using GMO grains? That the inventor of Bourbon, Elijah Craig, was a Southern Baptist minister? That Wild Turkey has used the same yeast strain since 1954?)

While Eddie vowed that after his storied father finally retires, “I promise I will never change Wild Turkey 101,” he did speak about some new products coming down the pipe. Among them are Sting, a (likely) limited edition version of Wild Turkey American Honey infused with ghost pepper. As well, Russell Jr. notes that they didn’t use up all the 16-year-old casks to make the Diamond Anniversary bottlings — so watch for a possible 17-year-old expression of Turkey come 2015.

Congrats, Jimmy!

Drinkhacker Reads – 10.01.2014 – Quick Links Edition

Many stories to pull from today! Let’s get right to it:

A class action lawsuit against Templeton Rye has been given a green light to proceed. [USA Today]

Spirits Business reports UK craft distilling is predicted to double in 2014. [Spirits Business]

New statistics show that the top 10% of American drinkers consume more than 50% of the alcohol Americans drink annually. You’re welcome? [24/7 Wall Street]

Alcohol makes men smile more, and with good reason: because they’re drinking alcohol. [Daily Mail]

Researchers at UCLA believe antioxidants found in wine could lead to a new treatment for acne. [Westside Today]

Following a trend initiated by the Dutch in 2013, Germany is now paying alcoholics in beer to clean its streets. [VICE]

Labatt gives grain silos a facelift, then proclaims it to be the world’s largest six pack. Whatever makes them happy and gets them through the winter. It certainly won’t be the city’s hockey team.[WNEM]

Four Roses opens up a second visitor’s center on the Bourbon trail. Which is a great thing because one visit with Four Roses is just not enough. [Herald-Leader]

And finally today, Gizmodo looks at a barrel char at the Yoichi distillery and thinks it resembles a portal to hell. [Gizmodo]

Drinkhacker Reads – 09.29.2014 – Of Pie Holes and £9000 Drinks

Shanken reports that the flavored spirits trend continues to migrate from vodka to whiskey with brisk speed. Those zany folks at Diageo are really amping things up with Sasparilla and Spiced (cinnamon & clove) flavored Jeremiah Weed bourbons, a new flavored whisky line called Pie Hole (Apple, Cherry and Pecan Pie flavors), and a Gala Apple Crown Royal expression in the coming months. [Shanken News Daily]

Is Beam master distiller Fred Noe considering a retirement? Not so fast. He’s starting a very slow transition into the phase, and Business Week takes a look at what he’s been up to, what’s next and what the Jeter-like final trip around the distillery might look like. [Business Week]

In other bourbon news, Brown-Forman is looking to break ground on a new $30 million distillery in downtown Louisville. The Courier-Journal is reporting that the new Old Forester distillery will contain a visitors center, fermentation, distilling, barrel-making, filling and dumping, and bottling. Look for it to be open around the fall of 2016. [Courier Journal]

Two long reads for consideration: The Chicago Reader takes an in-depth look at the recent controversy surrounding Templeton Rye, transparency, and whether or not it matters (it does). The second comes from the Denver Post discussing local craft spirits, popularity, and (again) transparency.

If you had any question about how little that football team in Washington DC thinks of its fans, consider this: they sold expired Budweiser to its fans at the game on Thursday night. Someone get the Goodell bot up and running for commentary. [CBS Sports]

And finally today, for those who are a fan of nighclubbin‘, pull up to the bumper for this one: a cocktail created in London for a mere £9,000 (that’s about US$14,000) named after legendary singer/artist/Bond villain Grace Jones. Consisting of a 1990 vintage Cristal and 1888 Samalens Vieille Relique Vintage Bas Armagnac brandy, the drink is topped off with gold leaf, Angostura bitters, and sugar. No word on whether or not the drink comes served in a coozie made of warm leatherette. [Daily Independent]

Drinkhacker Reads – 09.24.2014 – Red, White And Pabst

Despite recent rumors to the contrary, Pabst Blue Ribbon, that iconic brand of beer and bearded hipsterdom, is not moving to Russia. In a press release issued Monday, Pabst spokesrobots reiterated:

Eugene Kashper and TSG Consumer Partners have made a major commitment to the Pabst Brewing Company and its iconic brands such as Pabst Blue Ribbon, Lone Star, Old Milwaukee, and others. The goal is for the company to remain vibrant through consistent product and marketing innovation.

We look forward to working with our new colleagues and to continuing our 170-year old tradition. PBR is a very strong brand with a rich heritage and authentic American values. Our new colleagues will remain vigilant in staying true to the brand’s identity and will look to loyal customers for guidance.

Rest easy, Pabst patriots. We haven’t been invaded and your beer is still safe to drink.

So it seems as if with its aggressive new push in the Scotch market, Bacardi is getting ready to buck a contemporary trend. The Spirits Business reports that Bacardi and its global manager for malts, Stephen Marshall, are pledging not to release expressions without an age statement (also known to booze nerds by the acronym “NAS”). It’s a refreshing change for sure, but it will be interesting to see how long the pledge lasts. [The Spirits Business]

Front Master 2nd Vers 212x300 Drinkhacker Reads   09.24.2014   Red, White And PabstIn other scotch news, Glenlivet’s first series of rare 50 year old malts is here. The Winchester Collection will start off with Vintage 1964 and can be all yours for $25,000 — or about 35,000 cans of PBR. It will be available in a limited edition of 100 bottles per expression through global luxury shops such as Harrod’s starting in October.

In science news, it appears that our genetic makeup also determines our flavor and drinks preferences, more people are drinking on days when they exercise, the ancient people of Teotihuacan drank a milky alcohol substance, and Consumer Reports publishes another article on the science behind what happens during hangovers.

And finally today, a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that four out five heart attacks could be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle including maintaining a healthy weight and diet, exercise, not smoking, and moderating alcohol intake to 1-2 standard drinks a day. We’ll drink to that. [DISCUS]

Drinkhacker Reads – 09.22.2014 – We’re Drinking Less Scotch?

Prices are going up, and we’re drinking less scotch. According to an article published in Harper’s, scotch exports declined 11% in the first half of 2014, with “economic headwinds and uncertainty” being cited as the main reason. Has the bubble burst? We’ll see if scotch rebounds in the second half of the year. Elsewhere in the pages of Harper’s, advertising icon Sir John Hegarty takes some pretty harsh shots at advertising in the wine industry, claiming that the means by which the wine industry communicates to consumers are “pathetic” and “daft.” [Harper’s UK]

The Filson Historical Society in Louisville is about to open up some of the world’s rarest and oldest bourbons in celebration of Repeal Day. Most of the bottles to be opened were manufactured during the era of Prohibition. Hopefully this will bring more attention and money in the direction of what Mike Veach and crew are doing to preserve a rapidly fading piece of important history. Because we’re drinking it! [Business Insider]

Lately there’s been much ado surrounding transparency (or lack thereof) and Templeton Rye, which has resulted in a flurry of criticism and threats of a class action lawsuit being filed on behalf of consumers. Richard Thomas and his intrepid band of reporters at Whiskey Reviewer offer up this excellent summation of events thus far, and Cowdery chimes in on flavoring in whiskey in his own inimitable way.

In other legal news, Diageo has settled its lawsuit with the Explorers Club of New York. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but this finally ends the year and a half long dispute between the two. Diageo will be able to continue to sell whiskey under the Explorer’s Club name and no doubt the Club itself will be getting a share of the profits. [The Spirits Business]

And finally today, a special shout out to Mark Gillespie of WhiskyCast, who is getting ready to celebrate his 500th podcast in the coming weeks. Doing 500 episodes of any show, let alone one based on spirits, over the stretch of a decade takes a heck of a lot of sweat equity and love. If you don’t have his podcast earmarked for regular listening, you most certainly should. Sláinte, Mark! [Whiskycast]

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]