Category Archives: News

Drinkhacker Reads – 05.19.2014 – Pitbull Fighting In Court

Ready for another lawsuit? Totally ignoring the fact that the descriptive classification “pit bull” has been around since before the 18th century, rapper Pitbull is filing a lawsuit against New Amsterdam for marketing a cocktail christened the “Pit Bull” (fans of semantic detail please note: there’s a space between the two words). If his litigation skills are anything like his rapping ones, this headache may be around for quite some time. [Billboard]

From one dog to another, the profile of Bulldog Gin has been on the rise as of late and thanks to a recent distribution deal with Campari, there’s no sign of it slowing down. The Shout does a quick profile on the company’s history, and how it’s been making waves in recent competitions. [The Shout]

Elsewhere in the world of gin reads, the New Statesman takes a quick look at gin’s role in the history of British colonialism. It’s a quick read, but enjoyable from a historical perspecrhetoric 173x300 Drinkhacker Reads   05.19.2014   Pitbull Fighting In Courttive. Much like Fred Minnick’s story of the role of women in the history of whiskey, there’s definitely promise for future scholarship along these lines. Here’s hoping someone picks up the ball and runs with it from here. [New Statesman]

And finally today, on its way to stores is the third release in the (un)limited edition Orphan Barrel Bourban project. Rhetoric, a 20 year old bourbon, will feature juice distilled at both Bernheim distilleries and aged in a completely different warehouse. Diageo has recommended it at a retail price of $85, but no doubt folks will be upcharging from there as hype and demand accelerates. [Previously on Drinkhacker: our review of the first two whiskeys in the Orphan Barrel series]

Drinkhacker Reads – 05.14.2014 – Days Of Wine and Cocaine

On the heels of a report saying that alcohol kills 1 person every 10 seconds, here’s a map of the world’s drunkest countries. As we all can see, the world has some catching up to do with Russia. However, in an effort to curb the abuse, our comrades have the solution to curb the drinking: drugs. And speaking of drugs, here’s an article from Russian TV discussing how the heavy use of cocaine in the UK has led to it now being detectable in the nation’s drinking water. Cheers!

In other science news, researchers are now backtracking on something they said before, which contradicts something they said years before that. According to yet another new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the naturally occurring antioxidants found in red wine do not help longevity in ways previously thought. One possible solution to this problem would be to drink more, but we’re already doing that (we have drugs to fix the problem of excess and abuse). Tune in next week when we discover a newly published study debunking the results of this one.

Unsurprisingly, the relationship between mega-spirits companies Suntory and Campari has ceased to be. Following the acquisition of Beam, Suntory has announced effective this June that the domestic distribution deal between the two will be rendered null and void. This isn’t a major loss for Campari, as the Suntory deal only represented 1 percent of overall Campari sales last year. The announcement came on the heels of the revelation that Campari’s profits were down 47 percent in the first quarter, citing unfavorable economic conditions as a primary reason for the massive slip. [Just Drinks]

Last night’s Bourbon Affair kick-off event was hampered by pretty heavy rain and was moved indoors to the uberposh 21c hotel in Louisville, but it didn’t deter everyone from having a grand old time. If you’re in the Kentucky area with nothing to do this weekend, you’d be hard pressed to find more interesting things to do. There are still tickets available to many events including a Wild Turkey hunt with Jimmy Russell, a tour of the Stitzel-Weller distillery with Tom Bulleit, and a “grain-to-glass” class with Woodford Reserve master distiller Chris Morris. [Kentucky Bourbon Affair]

Drinkhacker Reads – 05.12.2014 – Liquored Up Pigs

Last week we made mention that the sale of Whyte and Mackay to Emperador may happen sooner than later. It seems as if this one is now about to happen. Representatives between the two companies are scheduled to meet in London this Friday to agree to terms. Economic Times is reporting that the deal is valued at close to $700 million. It’s not clear as to whether or not W&M will also include Jura and Dalmore in the package deal. [ET]

Buffalo Trace (“Potentially Running Out Of Stuff Since 2012“) has pushed whiskey boundaries with its Single Oak Project and Experimental Collections, but there’s a new project going on that just might trump its continuous tinkering. Templeton Rye is attempting to raise hogs that taste like its whiskey, even before being sent to slaughter. The Templeton Rye Heritage Pork Project (or what we’re calling “Project Oinkway”) is going on now. There’s something to be said about bringing home the booze and the bacon at the same time, and this should prove to be a quite tasty affair.

In new product news, our main man with an eye on the TTB Sku just dug up in his weekly sweep of new items a gem of a new release: a Macallan Rare Cask. However, what’s totally unclear about this whole situation is what makes it rare. There’s no age statement to be found, no details on how the casks were selected. It’s just “rare”. This seems to be in parallel with the recent trend to eliminate as much label information on the aging and origin of Scotch as possible. Let’s just hope it’s not the direction everyone’s heading in for the long haul. [Sku's Recent Eats]

And finally today, we’ve received word that our pals over at the Whiskey Explorers Club have thoroughly revamped their blind tasting game, My Whiskey IQ. It’s been enhanced for use on smartphones and tablets (it had previously been mainly desktop friendly), given a clean new interface and has more advisory suggestions/discovery elements based on your flavor preferences. Swing on by and give it a test drive when your quarterly shipment arrives. [Whiskey Explorer's Club]

Drinkhacker Reads – 05.08.14 – Beam, Suntory, Beam and Suntory

With the Suntory-Beam/Beam-Suntory deal now complete, sources are telling Reuters that Suntory plans to sell $8 billion in debt to finance the purchase of the company. Elsewhere, Chuck Cowdery looks into his crystal ball to figure out what exactly the whole deal will mean for the corporate culture of both companies, and what the future may hold for us.

In other bourbon news, the Courier Journal reports there’s a new distillery opening shortly along the Bourbon Trail. New Riff distillery will be a bit out of the ways in Northern Kentucky, but looks to be a bit different from most of the folks on both the traditional and craft bourbon trails. Across the Commonwealth, Janet Patton reports there’s a new buyer for the Charles Medley distillery. South Carolina’s TerrePure is looking to invest $23 million over the next year and a half to bring the distillery back to life. This coming on the heels of a potential overhaul of the old Taylor distillery, it seems as if the ghosts of Kentucky past are coming back to life.

With its lawsuit with the Explorer’s Club still pending, Johnnie Walker/Diageo is once again revamping the ultra-super-mega-premium range to present its Premium Collection. This expression will be released annually with a limited offering of 8,888 bottles at a cost of about $740. Of course, one is simply not going to be able to roll down to the corner store to get their bottle. It will only be available in Singapore Changi Airport through May, and most of Asia-Pacific travel retail outlets in early summer. This move makes sense for Diageo, as it tries to somehow recover the losses of last quarter in the Chinese market due to the government crackdown on extravagant gifts and offerings at functions. [Moodie]

For those who have significant amounts of money to burn, an insane Maccallan collection collected over the last 50 years by an Italian restaurant owner will find itself on the auction block at McTear’s next Wednesday. The full collection runs over 400 bottles, wirh the first 164 up for sale in this round. [Glasgow]

And finally today, Joshua Feldman over at the Coopered Tot has been doing some outstanding historical research on old whiskey advertisements. Recent posts on women, racism, and male intimacy in advertising over the past century has been worthy of peer review in scholarly journals, so why not whiskey? Well researched and worth the time to read all three in the series. [Coopered Tot]

Drinkhacker Reads – 05.05.2014 – Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Looking for a break from tequila today? How about a refreshing gin and tonic? GQ today runs a quick portfolio piece on the new breed of American gins taking a share of the market traditionally held by the UK and Europe. We’ve reviewed most of these and agree with their rightful inclusion. [GQ]

If you’re not looking for a break from tequila today, here’s a few bottlings we’ve reviewed recently that received high marks.

Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila
KAH Tequila
Abreojos Tequila Silver
Baron Tequila Platinum

So it’s looking like Diageo is looking to jettison its Whyte and Mackay properties to Philippines-based Alliance Global Company, but nothing has come through that’s solidified as of yet. Most product lines would go with Alliance, however both The Dalmore and Tamnavulin brands would stay with Diageo, according to terms of the deal. Markets aren’t exactly responding favorably to this news, with Alliance’s stock dropping a few percentage points over the past few days. [Bloomberg]

Months after the infamous Pappygate of 2013, there are still no definitive leads in the case. Law enforcement officials believe it to be an inside job, but there are still no solid clues as to who is behind one of the best-orchestrated modern spirit swindle sagas. NPR’s Noah Adams checks in to see how the investigation is going, and does a bit of footwork himself. [NPR]

And finally today, the Telegraph UK takes an in-depth look on the Scotch revival in the United States, and what U.S. distillers are doing to counter the surge with their own renaissance. Not much in terms of new information for those who have been keeping score for the past year or so, but it’s an interesting profile piece nevertheless. [Telegraph UK]

Drinkhacker Reads – 04.30.2014 – Bonham’s Rare Spirit Auction

And so another edition of the Bonham’s Whisky, Cognac and Rare Spirits auction has started and the bids are currently flying fast and furiously. But the biggest head scratcher in the pile (so far) has been the 23 Year Old Rip Van Winkle that just sold for US$5,712. A complete list of items and results is available here.

The Spirits Business shares a listicle most interesting: the American Craft Distillers Association’s 10 most Pioneering Craft Distilleries. While these things are largely subjective, it’s hard to argue against the inclusion of some of them. [The Spirits Business]

Good news for beer drinkers in Missouri: state legislators have voted to pass a bill to allow for the sale of single bottles of beer. Previously, the law stated that all beer must be sold in a minimum package of 3 bottles. This new bill seeks to remedy this issue and be set for action in 2015. In other government-in-action news, the Florida state legislation voted down a law that would restrict the growth of microbreweries in the state. [KMOV]

And finally today, the city of Louisville has no problem honoring its hometown heroes. Celebrities such as Muhammad Ali and Diane Sawyer have their likenesses adorned on the side of giant buildings, courtesy of large hanging banners. So kudos to Tom Bulleit for joining these ranks. The man behind the Bulleit brand was honored with his own mug over looking Third Street in honor of his contributions to the  industry and the city at large. [Herald Leader]

Drinkhacker Reads – 04.28.2014 – De Niro Launches De Vodka

One of the greatest actors of the modern age is helping to co-brand a new vodka. Robert De Niro, star of such cinematic classics as The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Meet The Fockers, is partnering with Artisan Spirits Merchants to create VDKA 6100. We’re not exactly sure what the 6100 means, but the Wall Street Journal landed an interview where he wasn’t asked the question. The super premium product will be available first in De Niro’s restaurants and in New Jersey. [Wall Street Journal]

In science news, Boston Beer Brewer Jim Koch reveals a trade insider secret to Esquire magazine on how to drink all night long without getting drunk. We’re not exactly sure how many college kids heading to Thirsty Thursdays at the local pub will heed these wise words, but it’s still some probiotic food for thought. [Esquire]

The Rum Renaissance Festival happened this past weekend in Miami, and the Miami New Times filed a complete report on the festival’s ongoings, complete with its 10 favorite rums sampled throughout the weekend’s events. Definitely not a bad way to spend the weekend. [Miami New Times]

In new release news, Kilchoman is releasing a second installment of its Loch Gorm whisky line, Bacardi is launching a new Aberfeldy 18 year old Scotch, and Beam has a whole mess of new expressions in their Signature Series line coming up: Rolled Oats, Red Wheat, Six Row Barley, Triticale, and High Rye. [Major hat tip to the most excellent Sku's Recent Eats for the Beam find!]

And finally today, Business Insider presents a feature on Fireball Whiskey, and how the brand jumped ahead of the pack to become one of the most successfully marketed spirits in recent decades. Which, if you think about the competition, is really kind of amazing. Or insane. Or both. [Business Insider]

Drinkhacker Reads – 04.23.2014 – “Oh No!” Edition

So remember on Monday how we linked to an article reporting on a powdered alcohol drink product? Well it turns out that the gun was significantly jumped in its approval. Backpedaling faster than Lance Armstrong, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) issued a statement saying that they weren’t sure how or why the product was approved, but it was all a big mistake. Chuck Cowdery writes that these oversights are happening a bit more frequently than normal, arguing for tighter observation and restriction, while FindLaw discusses some of the possible reasons why the product was rescinded its approval. Lehrman Beverage Law also has some fine discussion with the creators of the Palcohol and what’s potentially next. Or maybe this is just what happens when you put a taxation agency in charge of approving things that people drink. Hmmm…

The Chicago Daily Herald reports that the European Commission has approved Suntory’s acquisition of Beam, and has slated the closing of the deal for April 30. In other Suntory news, The Spirits Business reports this morning that the company has launched a new campaign with gorgeous miniature ice sculptures using cutting edge carving technology. [Daily Herald]

Meanwhile in beer world, there’s a bit of trouble brewing (no pun intended) with a new piece of legislation being proposed by the FDA that could send the price of beer up. Not a good thing to hear when so many microbreweries are just starting to thrive. [Time]

Wine Searcher is reporting that a British wine merchant is facing a hefty $25 million lawsuit after allegations were made that it was selling bottles of wine dating back to 1787. The most expensive wine sale ever could potentially also turn into one of the biggest lawsuits ever involving wine. [Wine Searcher]

Finally today, Page Six isn’t exactly the most reliable source of spirits/drinks information, but this bit was kind of awesome. Modern Family star Ty Burrell has opened a beer bar in Salt Lake City. Instead of lending his name/endorsement to another product to clog the celebrity shelf, Beer Bar (love the simplicity of the name) will serve 150 beers paired with an array of house-made bratwursts, local breads, and Belgian fries. [Page Six]

Drinkhacker Reads – 04.21.2014 – “Oh Yeah!” Edition

Remember when Kool-Aid or Tang used to be the powdered drink of choice? Now someone’s taken that idea and applied it to spirits. Simply tear open a pocket of Palcohol, add water, and voila! The Feds have given it their stamp of approval. What could possibly go wrong??? [The Verge]

And now: Beaujolais Nouveau for those who always wished to enjoy their wine in packaging shaped like a paint bucket. Tastes about the same. [ABC News]

Whiskycast gets the scoop on a new product about to hit stores: a collaborative bourbon made by four venerable micro-distilleries slated to go on sale this week at Binny’s in Chicago. In this day and age of distilleries picking fights or buying each other outright, it’s nice to see some friendly collaboration happening. [Whiskycast HD]

Meanwhile, in non-idiotic drink news: it’s been an interesting past week over in Beamworld. Beamland? Beamsville? Anyway. Beam’s chief financial officer and two other executives have announced their intention to resign within the coming months, as Beam’s largest shareholder continues to sell a large percentage of his stock to the open market. This is clearly to make way for the new Suntory executives and a smoother transition once the merger finally receives approval. In other Beam news: Fred Noe continues to be a really easygoing guy. Recently appearing in a Knob Creek television ad, the master distiller made the promise that “If you’re not completely satisfied with the big full flavor of our bourbon, just send back the unused portion and we’ll drink it for you.” It’s a nice juxtaposition against some of the baffling ads other bourbon companies have run lately.

And finally today, Fred Minnick takes on many of the rumors that have been clogging up the pipes of the internet over the past few weeks to discover the truth of what’s really going on with some of our favorite bourbons. Now if he could only work his magic and get Ancient Ancient Age back on the shelves, we’d be all set, and quite happy drinkers. [Whisky Advocate]

Drinkhacker Reads – 04.16.2014 – Whisk(e)y Wednesday Edition

For an opening offering today we have two recent pieces detailing the history of bourbon: The first from SKU’s Recent Eats outlining the five modern eras of American Whiskey (sans clowning this time), and the second from Joshua Feldman over at The Coopered Tot with a long and interesting piece of history regarding the Cabin Still line.

Good news for mead maniacs among us: according to a new survey by the American Mead Makers Association (AMMA), mead sales and consumption has increased 130% from 2012 to 2013, which exceeds the rate of growth of beer, wine, and distilled spirits. The number of meaderies has also increased from 60 in 2011 to 194 in 2014, which accounts for 2.5% of all American wineries. No word on who the first mead celebrity spokesperson will be, but if history proves us correct it will most likely be Sammy Hagar. [AMMA]

BusinessWeek tells the David/Goliath tale of a small Irish Whiskey company that has taken on not one, but two spirits conglomerates in defense of its brand, Wild Geese. [Business Week]

If you’re up for it in Vegas and have about $500 to spare, Wolfgang Puck’s dining establishment Cut is offering a flight featuring three whiskies from the ’70s: a Macallan 1976, a Dalmore 1974, and a Jura 1976. [Eater]

Scotland’s whisky industry came away with a huge legal win today. Scotch has been registered as a certified trademark in Australia, which should help to prevent counterfeit brands from flooding the market. The Scotch Whisky Association has already identified about 40 counterfeit brands, and feel this may just be the beginning of their findings. [Scotsman]

Finally today, in what has to be one of the more detailed presentations we’ve seen in a bit, Whisky Science digs deep and poses the question of whether or not water quality has a direct effect on the fermentation and eventual final taste of whisky. Get ready to go to school, class is definitely in session. [Whisky Science]

Drinkhacker Reads – 04.14.2014 – Putin Gets Trolled By Vodka Company

While politics normally resides in the domain of elsewhere, Sobieski vodka has taken to trolling Russian heartthrob Vladimir Putin in a recent series of ads poking fun at recent events in the Ukraine region. While outcry to the campaign has been at a minimum thus far, Mediaite’s Luke O’Neil sums it up best with this gem: “Vodka is supposed to be tasteless, which may explain the thinking behind this new ad.” [Mediaite]

Norman Borlaug once saved an entire continent from starvation with his modern agricultural production techniques involving dwarf wheat. While nowhere near as significant or history-altering, it appears scientists are looking at barley genetics to produce larger yields of the crop and meet the growing demand for the grain. The Spirits Business reports that the Impromalt Project aims to increase crop yields considerably by 2018. [The Spirits Business]

Irish whiskey certainly has come a long way in the past few years, and now the newly formed Irish Whiskey Association is predicting growth to quadruple further within the next 20 years. Irish Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney was interviewed by Newstalk to discuss the formation of the organization, and how the industry is helping the local economy. [Newstalk]

The Scotch Whisky Association reports that growth of the spirit remains incredibly strong globally, reporting that 2013 overall sales and exports were up 3% over 2012 figures. Exports to Brazil and Mexico were up 20%, and Poland saw a 30% increase in Scotchery. This in contrast with decreased exports to Asia, with shipments to China down 30%. [Financial News UK]

The final Best In Show results for the SF World Spirits Competition have been posted, with Glencadam 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky taking home best whisky and Jim Beam Single Barrel Bourbon winning best single barrel Bourbon (less than 11 years old), amongst other winners. [SF World Spirits]

In advance of the upcoming celebration honoring Jimmy Russell’s 60 years at Wild Turkey, here’s a profile on his legacy at the distillery and a preview of the upcoming Wild Turkey Diamond. Turkey and diamonds, you say!? [Herald-Leader]

Drinkhacker Reads – 04.09.2014 – Drink It Like Beckham

Former Manchester United punching bag David Beckham is once again lending his name to a product, this time via Diageo. In collaboration with House of Haig, the newly minted Haig Club whisky will be priced at about $65 a bottle. Appropriately enough, American Idol mastermind Simon Fuller is also involved in the partnership and the dynamic duo will be responsible for brand identity and market positioning. Hopefully Mr. Posh Spice can deliver what we want. What we really, really want. [WSJ]

The winners of the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits competition have been announced, and there are a lot of them in many categories. Thankfully, their website breaks it all down quite nicely with zoom and filter options. We’re going to have to wait a few more days for the Best In Show results, but we’ll be keeping watch for the final announcements. Congrats all around to the many winners! [SF Spirits Competition]

A new report from the subjectively-named research firm Wine Opinions poses the question of whether or not the craft beer industry is taking profits away from the wine world. While we’re sure the report is quite nice, we’re not willing to shell out the $500 to download it, so we’ll just link to the synopsis instead. [Wine Business]

And finally today, author Philip Seldon (Complete Idiot’s Guide To Wine) has lost his lawsuit in a New York court after being displeased with his purchase of 6 bottles of $12.99 wine from a local retailer. Seldon did not care for the contents of the advertised bottles, and therefore felt he was a candidate for restitution. Civil Court Judge David Cohen also dismissed a defamation claim against White Plains retailer Grapes, whose owner, Daniel Posner, called Seldon “a disgusting human being.” In his ruling, Cohen said that Seldon failed to meet minimum requirements to prove deceptive advertising took place. [New York Law Journal]

Drinkhacker Reads – 04.07.2014 – Final Four Couch Fire Edition

Just to prove the University is not all about basketball and burning couches, University of Kentucky geographer Matthew Zook recently took to twitter to discover favorite alcohol beverage choices on a state-by-state case. Unsurprisingly he found the west coast favoring wine, and the midwest enjoying tweeting about their beer. [Yahoo]

In fortune changing news, Brown-Forman, which was recently the topic of a potential takeover by Diageo, is now the subject of more takeover news. This time BF is the acquirer, reportedly eyeing Rémy Cointreau. Shanken reports that the corporation has been working with several financial advisors in a bid to make Remy brands a part of their collection. Once again, this could get interesting as more mega companies swallow one another. Stay tuned. [Shanken News Daily]

Dwars 300x229 Drinkhacker Reads   04.07.2014   Final Four Couch Fire EditionDewar’s is back and with a new look and marketing campaign. Under the banner of “True Scotch Since 1846,” Dewar’s will feature new packaging, and an aggressive multimedia campaign. [PR Newswire]

And finally today, the always venerable Whiskycast reports that Bowmore is readying the latest installments in its travel retail range. Bowmore Black Rock, White Sands, and Gold Reef will range from $75 to $130, and will be available at travel retail outlets later this year. [Whiskycast]

Drinkhacker Reads – 04.02.2014 – The Top Craft Breweries In America?

Everyone knows that lists are a fickle, subjective thing. So it should come as no surprise that there’s some pretty hefty disagreements and discussions involving the latest list from the Huffington Post detailing the The Top 50 Craft Breweries in America. The yearly list is compiled by the Brewers Association, with overall annual sales being the primary criteria from which the list is culled. [Huffington Post]

It seems as if the flavored whiskey trend really hasn’t found its fan base amongst die-hard drinkers, but for the general populace it seems to be taking off and holding steady. Shanken reports this morning that Beam is enjoying rapid and brisk sales of its Jim Beam Maple and Jim Beam Honey brands, but coming mildly at the expense of its Red Stag line, which saw a dip of 5% in overall sales from last year. Beam’s Devil’s Cut has also enjoyed a growth of 50% in sales over last year. [Shanken News Daily]

In continuing the tradition of friendly wagers between governors: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has placed his state’s beer, bratwurst, and cheese against Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s fully-loaded bar of bourbon during this weekend’s NCAA men’s basketball final four game. The Wisconsin Badgers will face the Kentucky Wildcats Saturday night, and no doubt whatever happens one governor is going to walk away much better off for their flagship University’s athletic feats of conquest. [USA Today]

Finally today, kudos to both Sam Adams and Stone Brewing for their April Fool’s Pranks involving new lines of beer infusing helium as a primary ingredient.

Drinkhacker Reads – 03.31.2014 – The Empire Strikes Back

“Rather than having one company dictate for everyone, we can do this the right way and come together in an open forum to discuss how to create the best standards for Tennessee whiskey.” – Guy Smith IV, VP For Diageo

This quote from last week came from Diageo, which seemed to have accepted a ruling from the Tennessee State Legislature declining to make modifications to the official definition of what constitutes a Tennessee whisky. In doing the neighborly thing to foster good relations with the state, Diageo has… wait for it… decided to sue the state. Claiming the ruling a violation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, the spirits mega-conglomerate has decided to endear themselves to lawmakers by seeking the ability to make their spirits in Tennessee and then age them elsewhere. According to SKU’s Recent Eats:

Things got ugly when the two lobbyists ran into each other after a press briefing. Brown Forman’s spokesman fired first, “Come on, Diageo can’t even spell the word whiskey right,” to which Diageo’s lobbyist responded, “Do you seriously think we should take direction from a whiskey brand whose founder was so dumb he died from kicking something too hard?”

We told you this wouldn’t go gently into the good night. [Courthouse News]

(Update 04.03.2014: While we were adequately April Fooled by SKU’s pre-mature March 31st, the story of Diageo taking the state of Tennessee is in fact true. The quotes from the executives are the portion of the story which are fictitious.)

For those tired of our Diageo coverage, we’ve got some other morsels for you, too.

Tequila baron George Clooney has partnered with spirits giant Sidney Frank to help boost marketing and coverage areas of his Casamigos brand. We’ve sampled their stuff and it’s good enough, but it certainly needs all the marketing help it can get if it wants to compete in the big leagues. [Drinks Report]

The 2014 edition of the World Whiskies Awards have announced its results, with a surprising best overall pick. [Just tried it. Amazing stuff. -Ed.] Which got us wondering when the San Francisco World Spirits competition were going to post its results. Our answer: April 9th. It’ll be interesting to see how much overlap there is between the two competitions. [World Whiskies Awards]

And finally today, in totally non-alcoholic news, researchers in Italy have discovered that a cup of Earl Grey could help prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol levels. Yet another reason to drink exclusively amber-tinted liquids. [The Independent]

Drinkhacker Reads – 3.26.2014 – Legal Newsday

Tennessee state legislation can rest a bit easier knowing the spirit world is no longer watching their moves. State assemblymen and women have decided to table a bill asking for modifications to the official definition of what constitutes a Tennessee whisky. The bill will be re-evaluated over study sessions throughout the summer. Translation: Time for the lobbyists on both sides to sharpen their teeth and start making their moves. Of course both sides of the aisle — Diageo and Brown-Forman — are claiming this to be a massive victory:

“We stand behind last year’s law, we truly believe it’s best for Tennessee whiskey all over the world, and for the players who’ve located in the state of Tennessee, we need to uphold these quality standards.” – Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Jeff Arnett

“Rather than having one company dictate for everyone, we can do this the right way and come together in an open forum to discuss how to create the best standards for Tennessee whiskey.” – Guy Smith IV, VP For Diageo

No doubt this isn’t the last we’ve heard of this. At least there’ll be something else to look forward to this fall besides an abundance of new bourbon releases. [The Tennessean]

Up north one state, Kentucky state Senators passed tax credit legislation on Tuesday giving distilleries a refund on taxes paid on barrels currently aging in warehouses. The Courier-Journal reports that the bill now heads to the House, where it most likely will meet its demise from politicians looking for more of an incentive to produce an economic stimulus or jobs, as opposed to giving tax breaks to wealthy companies. [Courier-Journal]

The Sarasota Herald Tribune is reporting that the Florida state legislation is currently debating a bill which could hinder the growth of the state’s craft brewing industry. The point of contention: growlers. There’s more at stake than just that, but this is the first of many battles ahead for the bill, its lobbyists and the industry. [Sarasota Herald Tribune]

Meanwhile in Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder has signed into a law a series of bills that would help grow the state’s already reputable and prominent craft brewing industry. Among the perks of the legislation: the ability to produce greater volumes of beer, increasing the number of brewpubs companies can operate, and allowing startups to self-distribute their beer with the appropriate licensing. All in all it’s a win for one of the state’s fastest-growing industries. [MLive]

Finally today, Coors Light is hosting a competition to win free Coors Light for a year. Simply do something to show them how much you love Coors Light, post it on their Facebook page and you’re entered to win. We wish you luck in more ways than one.

Drinkhacker Reads – 03.24.2014 – Diageo Gets Sued. Again.

The good times keep on coming for Diageo: the Wall Street Journal reports that the mega conglomerate is enjoying a lawsuit filed on behalf of the New York based Explorer’s Club, which owns the trademark to the name. Diageo recently adopted the phrase for its Johnnie Walker Explorer’s Club collection. This news comes on top of the announcement Diageo is planning to slash a generous amount of middle management jobs in the next few years. [WSJ]

A new study suggests that the sugar found in agave may help to lower blood pressure and prevent diabetes. There’s still more research to be done before we’re all slamming back shots in the name of good health, but at least there’s some promising news for tequila drinkers in lieu of so many horrible celebrity endorsements. [GuardianLV]

In bourbon news, it appears that Brown-Forman is getting busy in 2014. Insider Louisville reports that the company is getting ready to break ground on a new distillery in downtown Louisville on Whiskey Row. This report comes on the heels of an announcement via the enigmatic anonymous bourbon scribe BourbonTruth, which claims Woodford Reserve is readying a series of expressions based on vintage bourbon recipes later this fall. [Insider Louisville]

Penderyn whisky continues its celebration of Welsh icons with a nod to poet Dylan Thomas. The Spirits Business reports that the new whisky bearing no indicative age statement was filled in used bourbon casks and finished in sherry casks with an abv of 41%. The limited edition will be released across Europe and the UK at the end of April. It should be noted that alcohol played a special role in the life and times of Thomas. [Spirits Business]

Unless you’re some sort of polymath genius, your NCAA brackets have been absolutely decimated with the number of upsets over the past week. However, there’s one tournament you may be able to excel at with very little statistical knowhow. BourbonBlog is starting up its annual Boozebrackets tournament. The premise is simple: vote for your favorite in each match and see how well they do. No billion dollar grand prize, though, but tastier than b-baller sweat. [Bourbonblog Boozebracket]

Drinkhacker Reads – 03.19.2014 – Diageo’s Fuzzy Math

In PR speak, Diageo is in the midst of what one could qualify as a “very bad week.” First there’s the current playground-styled battle taking place in the halls of the Tennessee state legislature over which multi-national conglomerate cares more about “the little guy.” And now there’s this: at a recent press junket in San Francisco, wine scribe W. Blake Gray and Brian Kropf of Mutineer magazine attempted to get a straight answer from Diageo reps on just “how” limited the Orphan Barrel bourbon project will be. Considering there have been posts of “limited edition” numbers 41,000 and higher, it’s beginning to look like Diageo is attempting to spin another one of its infamous tall tales about a new product. Just how limited is something if it’s shipping over 40,000 bottles? (This of course, assuming they started with the number 1.) [The Gray Report]

If you can get past the excessive pop-up ads littered all over the page, Forbes has a profile of the 12 richest booze billionaires and how they’ve made their money. Some through shrewd negotiation, others through inheritance, but none of them correctly bested Warren Buffett’s college bracket challenge. [Forbes]

In scotch news, Whisky Cast is reporting that the mighty Bruichladdich is pulling its core range out of retail markets, but it will be made available online and at its own shop. In an exclusive interview with executives, the venerable Mark Gillespie discovered that supply reasons are mainly behind the move. If you’re not already signed up for Whisky Cast’s excellent podcast, you’re missing out on one of the best in the game. [Whisky Cast]

The new Glen Grant 50 year makes it debut with this video. The limited edition run of 150 bottles will be available in Hong Kong from starting this Friday and shortly following in Singapore, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, and Taipei. As of June 2014, it will be launched internationally in other duty free and domestic markets. So put down that Stroh’s and get those plane tickets booked! [PR Newswire]

And finally today, as if entering to win $1 billion isn’t enough, the folks at Buddha Beer have a Bracket Bash of their own for you to enter with one pretty wild grand prize: free Buddha beer for life for the best bracket! Hop on over to the site, fill your teams out (hint: one of the Michigan teams will be taking it all), sit back and (hopefully) win free brew for the rest of your days! Need help filling your bracket out? The Null family has you covered there, too. Boss man’s brother happens to run a handy dandy website called Bracket Voodoo that will give you the lowdown on the data you need to make the right March Madness calls. Which is Michigan or Michigan State. Always. [Buddha Beer]

Drinkhacker Reads – 03.17.2014 – Diageo Vs. Brown-Forman Square Off Over Barrels

2014 is certainly shaping up to be the year of drinking drama.

So there’s this thing that’s been happening over the past few days over in Tennessee. Brown-Forman, owner of Jack Daniel’s, is accusing fellow spirits giant Diageo of putting Tennessee whiskey “under attack.” This is in regards to legislation currently under consideration in the Tennessee State Assembly as to whether or not to allow the reuse of barrels when making Tennessee whiskey, an idea which would be verboten (and illegal) in Kentucky. Brown-Forman alleges Diageo is attempting to diminish the quality that’s synonymous with Tennessee, and hurt the reputation of distilleries statewide. The booze bloggerati is weighing with different theories. Chuck Cowdery is calling this a move out of fear, as Jack Daniel’s is about to surpass Diageo’s franchise player, Johnnie Walker, in sales. Fred Minnick takes the more pragmatic, economic route , claiming this to be a product of a barrel shortage and weak state laws.

Diageo for its part, is making no bones about lobbying for this legislation:

(Republican state Rep. Bill) Sanderson acknowledged that he introduced the measure at Diageo’s urging, but said it would also help micro distilleries opening across the state. Diageo picked up on the same theme.

“This isn’t about Diageo, as all of our Tennessee whiskey is made with new oak,” said Diageo executive vice president Guy L. Smith IV. “This is about Brown-Forman trying to stifle competition and the entrepreneurial spirit of micro distillers.

“We are not sure what they are afraid of, as we feel new innovative products from a new breed of distillers is healthy for the entire industry,” he said.

So in essence we have two liquor giants framing themselves to be on the side of the little guy, who will — if both parties are correct — suffer one way or the other. This is starting to sound more and more like the rhetoric from some poorly managed political campaigns. WhiskyCast has been on the job and has provided the text of the amendment to the bill in question, and is waiting to hear back for a potential interview.

This won’t be over any time soon. A cursory glance of the Senate and House calendars show that it’s not scheduled to be brought to the Senate floor for debate today, and if we’re understanding this committee meeting video correctly, won’t be brought up until next week. We also found a video on the matter of the House State Government Subcommittee from last week.

Also: Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Just a kind reminder to avoid the green beer.

The A-List – February 2014

The February roundup of our best and brightest of the past month found scant pickings, but there are still some exceptional picks at reasonable prices here, including the latest Evan Williams Single Barrel and Laphroaig Triple Wood. Happy hunting!

AListFeb14 525x768 The A List   February 2014