Drinkhacker Reads – 12.09.2014 – Beer, Bourbon and Business

The march of craft beer continues, this time as we take to the friendly skies as Delta begins offering craft beers from various microbrews across the nation. Of course, this upgrade will no doubt come at an upcharge to patrons, who would perhaps prefer the comfort of more legroom than a can of Brooklyn Beer. In response to this new trend, Spirit Airlines is rumored to be considering upgrading its beer selection to include Budweiser at $15 a can. [Gizmodo]

In other beer news, Arcade Brewery is releasing “6 Pack Stories”, a six pack of beer featuring part of a comic book narrative on each bottle. Festus Rotgut: Zombie Cowboy, is the first in the series, and was illustrated by Tony Moore of The Walking Dead. [Red Eye Chicago]

Forbes presents a lengthy interview with Michael Houlihan, co-founder of Barefoot Wines, on the challenges of starting up the company and handling its rise to gradual success. More business-based than anything, but still an interesting read. [Forbes]

Business Insider publishes an article on the new fad of bourbon hoarding. In response, the Guardian reminds us that there really isn’t a bourbon shortage, and that hoarding is overhyped. Additionally, the Wall Street Journal adds fuel to the fear fire with profiles of three bourbons worth hoarding. Hint: two of the three are wheated and from the same distillery.

And finally today, America’s favorite ascot enthusiast Fred Minnick takes on Pink Panty Dropper Watermelon Moonshine for its label design and general existence. While we’re generally annoyed with the brand concept as a whole, it’s the absolutely absurd use of typography and general graphic design that has us grinding our teeth this morning. [Fred Minnick]

Review: McMenamins Billy Whiskey and Aval Pota Apple Whiskey

BillyWhiskey 4 525x350 Review: McMenamins Billy Whiskey and Aval Pota Apple Whiskey

In the Portland area (and elsewhere in Oregon and Washington), McMenamins is a bit of an institution. Operating dozens of restaurants and some two dozen breweries, the bar/pub/dining destination is also home to two different microdistilleries, which have been running since 1998: Cornelius Pass Roadhouse Distillery in Hillsboro and Edgefield Distillery in Troutdale.

At these locations, the company uses copper pot and column stills to manufacture spirits for sale exclusively at a handful of McMenamins locations. (These include numerous whiskeys, two gins, two rums, three herbal liqueurs (coffee, hazelnut and herbal), and several brandies.) Thoughts on two of the company’s whiskeys follow.

McMenamins Billy Whiskey – Made primarily from a wheat-based mash (malt barley makes up the rest), Billy Whiskey is pot distilled then aged for two years in new oak barrels before bottling. The nose is youthful but not brash, with ample cereal notes touched with popcorn, vanilla, and the heavy, young wood elements that are wholly characteristic of young whiskeys like this. The palate has more to chew on, if you will. Notes of caramel apple, mixed nuts, Cracker Jack, and banana bread come on strong here. While the finish is lightly cerealed and a bit racy, it’s just mature enough for easy sipping, and just complex enough for lasting enjoyment. 87 proof. B / $35 / mcmenamins.com

aval pota 199x300 Review: McMenamins Billy Whiskey and Aval Pota Apple WhiskeyMcMenamins Edgefield Distillery Aval Pota – Made in a column still, this is apple flavored whiskey inspired by Irish poitin. Made from malted barley then infused with fresh apples and a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon, it is bottled with no aging information. The nose is very heavy on the apples, though its closer to applesauce than apple pie. Appealing, it invites exploration on the palate, but here things start to break down. The initial apple rush is sweeter than expected, but that doesn’t last long, as a sizable alcoholic burn quickly takes over. A bit raw and punchy, it quickly washes away the apple and leaves behind an indistinct medicinal character. 66 proof. C / $26 / mcmenamins.com

Ezra’s: A New Place to Shop for Spirits and Learn a Little Somethin’

Spirits are proliferating madly these days, which means liquor stores are getting increasingly crowded and more confusing — while some favorites are getting even tougher to find on shelves.

Ezra’s, a new online spirits store, thinks it has a solution: Curation. Proprietor Parker Newman explains.

We try to use content as a way to educate consumers on the distilleries and the people behind them. We don’t want people to make buying decisions by the design of the bottle and we know how intimidating a giant wall of spirits can look. So to counteract this, we work with distilleries that we think are putting out great products, have passionate founders and are doing all they can to push their respective spirits category forward. We like to think of ourselves as a curated marketplace with an ever growing product selection.

The Ezra’s online shop is spare but intriguing, full of unusual offerings you won’t find at Costco. (Akashi White Oak for $38/500ml? Sign me up!) Lots of extra content and video material makes this more of a fun little visit with a spirits expert than the hard sell you get at a traditional merchant. Check ‘em out for your holiday shopping!

Review: Aultmore 12 Years Old, 21 Years Old, and 25 Years Old

Aultmore 12YO 525x349 Review: Aultmore 12 Years Old, 21 Years Old, and 25 Years Old

Aultmore, a Speyside distillery, has changed hands many times, but again became part of the Dewar’s portfolio in 1998. Normally used in the company’s blends — including Dewar’s — only now is Dewar’s releasing these three expressions of Aultmore as a single malt — known locally as “a nip of the Buckie Road.”

Since the bulk of Aultmore ends up in blends,  you might presume these whiskies are dull and boring. You would be wrong. These are indeed simple whiskies, but they are also incredibly well-crafted, flavorful, and amazingly approachable. I greatly enjoyed this lineup from the 12 year to the 25 — and would be hard-pressed to select a favorite. Thoughts follow on all three: 12, 21, and 25.

All expressions are bottled at 92 proof.

Aultmore 12 Years Old – Wonderfully alive. Lovely and just plain ready-to-go right out of the gate. Notes of fresh apple, pear, and banana attack the nose alongside gentle grains and notes of heather. That fruit is quite powerful on the palate, brisk applesauce, vanilla caramels, a touch of citrus and a clean, gently sweet finish that recalls once again the grain at its core. This is a simple, young whisky, but one which proves that age is far from everything. Snap it up. Now in general release. A / $53

Aultmore 21 Years Old – That gentle, fruity DNA from Aultmore 12 follows over to the 21, where it takes on a more austere, rounder, more full-bodied character. Malty and chewy, it takes the apple/banana fruit core of the 12 and bakes it in the oven for an hour, giving it a crusty, warm, and almost doughy character that dulls the bright, acidic fruit notes and replaces them with oomph. There’s a touch of citrus edge here, but just barely. All told, it’s a really interesting study in contrasts compared to the 12. Try them side by side if you can. Travel retail only. A / $NA

Aultmore 25 Years Old – This slightly older expression cuts a similar character as the 21, with just a touch more chocolate and a bit more malt — something like a chocolate milkshake. Subtle floral notes emerge over time, alongside notes of butterscotch, persimmon, and a growing smokiness on the back end. Not at all the departure from the 21 that those notes might seem to indicate, but rather a fitting finale to an amazing trilogy of malt whiskies. In limited release. A / $NA

lastgreatmalts.com

Review: WhistlePig “The Boss Hog: Spirit of Mortimer” Rye Whiskey Single Barrel 2014

WhistlePig Spirit of Mortimer Review: WhistlePig “The Boss Hog: Spirit of Mortimer” Rye Whiskey Single Barrel 2014

Clearly, Vermont-based WhistlePig has a stash of barrels of rye aging away in a warehouse, so each year the company can bottle a bit of it and see what happens, while the rest continues to mellow outtakes a little bit of its well-aged rye and bottles it just to see what’s going on. The rest lingers for another year.

This year WhistlePig’s special edition is a “nearly 14 year old” rye — 100% rye, as always — named in honor of the company’s deceased Kune Kune pig and mascot. “The Spirit of Mortimer” is marked not by a name on the label but by a large “M” and a pewter stopper that sits atop the bottle, a winged piglet that honors the deceased Mortimer. (To confuse matters further, the black label, similar in hue to 2012’s WhistlePig 111, merely indicates it’s “The Boss Hog,” akin to last year’s bottling.)

With that, we’re on to the tasting…

There’s ample wood and some campfire smoke on the nose of WhistlePig: Spirit of Mortimer, with hints of apple cider and cinnamon. The body is hefty and chewy, but with a fruitiness that shines through the haze of sawdust and lumber. Cinnamon and clove notes emerge on the racy finish, and while it’s all well-integrated with caramel characteristics at its core, it’s not altogether quite as intriguing as last year’s expression. Fine effort on the whole, however.

118 to 124 proof, depending on batch (our sample was not disclosed). 50 barrels bottled, less than 2,000 cases produced.

A- / $189 / whistlepigwhiskey.com 

Review: 2011 Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

sequoia grove 128x300 Review: 2011 Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon Napa ValleyA fine, if unremarkable, Cab from Rutherford’s Sequoia Grove. This wine features an indistinct fruit medley at its core, plums and blackberries mostly, dancing with modest oak notes and gentle to moderate tannin structure. The finish is dusty and slightly chalky, the tannins finally building up some body to support the wine through to the finish. I’d suggest aging this for a few years, but I’m not sure what limited fruit is present would hang on that long.

B / $38 / sequoiagrove.com

Review: Angry Orchard Cinnful Apple Hard Cider

angry orchard cinnful apple 318x1200 Review: Angry Orchard Cinnful Apple Hard CiderAny product that tries to pull off the play on words by subbing “cinn” (meaning cinnamon) for “sin” is already off to a bad start, and Angry Orchard’s cinnamon-infused apple cider doesn’t do much to change directions. The light touch of cinnamon on this cider — evident primarily on midpalate as just a dusting of Cinnabon flavor — ultimately does little to change the overall impact of the cider, which presents itself as a typically appley/muddy concoction that just tastes too much like Spring Break for me.

5% abv.

C / $8 per six-pack / angryorchard.com

Review: Master of Mixes “Chef Inspired” Bloody Mary Mixers

bloody mary mixers 525x758 Review: Master of Mixes Chef Inspired Bloody Mary Mixers

Brunch season is here (isn’t it?), which means it’s Bloody Mary time for millions. Few of us bother to make our own mix when there are plenty of solid, ready-to-go mixes on the shelf.

Master of Mixes is a brand that’s been around forever, producing the usual Pina Colada, Margarita, and Bloody Mary mixes to make home cocktailing easier. But while MoM has traditionally focused on the lower end of the scale, it has recently partnered with the Food Network’s Anthony Lamas to produce three slightly more upscale Bloody Mary mixers. (If you’re looking for these, check to ensure you’re getting the “Chef Inspired” versions; MoM makes several other Bloody mixers, some with the same names even, but which are not inspired by anyone.)

Master of Mixes Chef Inspired Classic Bloody Mary Mixer – Quite “juicy,” not ketchup-chunky like so many products in this category. There’s plenty of Worcestershire flavor here, and a surprisingly pungent amount of celery in the mix, too. As the finish takes hold, it’s the celery salt notes that easily wins out, going down with plenty of that spice gripping the palate and lingering for minutes. B

Master of Mixes Chef Inspired Loaded Bloody Mary Mixer – For the Bloody fan that likes more “stuff” in his drink, this concoction is instantly much sweeter than the Classic expression, offering clear notes of cucumber and green bell pepper to get things going. Touches of carrot, garlic, sweet corn, and black pepper all emerge in the glass, creating something akin to a liquefied ratatouille. More soup than sipper, this one’s simply less effective in a cocktail. B-

Master of Mixes Chef Inspired 5 Pepper Bloody Mary Mixer – Naturally there’s a spicy one to contend with. The five peppers on the ingredient label include red pepper, habanero, jalapeno, ancho, and chipotle. Only one of those is especially hot, and for a mixer with a bunch of chili peppers on the label this one’s remarkably restrained. The attack is heavy on the tomato and black pepper notes, with heat building only as the drink settles on the palate for a while. The finish is both lip-searing and salty — just how a good Bloody should go out. While it’s the least complex of the bunch, the addition of a good slug of heat — but not quite overpowering heat — makes this my favorite. B+

each $5 (1 liter) / masterofmixes.com [BUY IT FROM AMAZON]

Tasting Report: When Sake Met Cheese

Sake is traditionally thought of as a pairing for Japanese cuisine… but how about cheese? SakeOne put together a little sampler in conjunction with the Marin French Cheese Company (plus friends) — an amazing producer that’s all of 8 miles from my house here in Northern California.

We’ve reviewed most of these sakes before, so today I’m just looking at the concept of pairing rice wine with rich cheese. Here are some case-by-case thoughts on a quartet of duos.

Momokawa Organic Junmai Ginjo ($14) with Marin French Petite Breakfast Brie – This is an interesting combination and great first exploration, coming across a lot like the way that melon and parmesan cheese can match up swimmingly. The brie is beautiful alone, and the sweeter sake does work as nice foil to the umami in the cheese.

Momokawa Organic (Unfiltered) Nigori ($14) with Laura Chenel’s Chévre – Fresh, moist, and creamy, this slightly grainy cheese pairs nicely with the cloudy, more savory sake. Overall it’s less of a counterpoint though, and more of a happy companion with the cheese.

Kasumi Tsuru Kimoto Extra Dry ($27) with Laura Chenel’s Ash-rinded Buchette – This very pungent cheese might have been a bit spoiled during shipment to me. That said, this sake is also more pungent than those preceding it here, balancing its melon notes with some deeper, funkier character — so I can see how the combo would work.

Yoshinogawa Winter Warrior Junmai Ginjo ($27) with Rogue River Blue Cheese – Sake + blue cheese? Another surprising winner. This recalls the first pairing — a little sweet meets salty/savory — but amps things up quite a bit. Winter Warrior is a lively and balanced sake on its own, but this is a wonderful example of how a big, punchy cheese can elevate a quality sake into new and exciting territory.

Review: Ungava Canadian Premium Gin

UNGAVA UNGAVA 1L 525x840 Review: Ungava Canadian Premium Gin

When thoughts turn to Canada, the mind immediately thinks of its national spirit: Gin.

Wait, what? Ungava isn’t just a Canadian gin — made exclusively with handpicked native Canadian botanicals — it’s a bright yellow Canadian gin. Think electric, Galliano-class yellow. Now that’s a unique gin.

Inspired by all things in the Great White North, Ungava is a gin infused with six botanicals, many of which are completely foreign to most of us. Nordic juniper is the most mundane, followed by crowberry, Labrador tea, cloudberry, Arctic blend (a leafy evergreen shrub), and wild rose hips (which give Ungava its bright yellow color).

It’s nothing if not eye-catching. Here’s how it works out in the glass.

There’s pretty juniper starts off the nose, with touches of lemon peel and an indistinct grassiness. The body is juniper-forward, but only modestly. As the more piney elements fade the gin brings forward notes of forest floor, sour apple, saffron, and rubber. The finish veers more toward earth than botanical pungency, offering a sort of chewy tree bark character as it fades to black.

All told, Ungava is a balanced, versatile, and likable gin, remarkably traditional in many ways despite its unorthodox botanical bill, but with enough distinction — and that unmistakable color — to merit continued exploration.

86.2 proof.

B+ / $30 / ungava-gin.com

Review: 2012 Smith & Hook Cabernet Sauvignon Central Coast

smith hook cabernet Review: 2012 Smith & Hook Cabernet Sauvignon Central CoastA blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah from the San Antonio Valley, Arroyo Seco, and Paso Robles AVAs, this inky black wine is simply overflowing with blackberry jam and liquid chocolate. There’s no structure here to speak of. Instead it’s all juicy berries and a quick, lightly-tart finish that serves to lightly cleanse what quickly becomes a palate overwhelmed by sweetness. When pairing, think of cheese plates and chocolate mousse, not steak and rack of lamb.

B / $30 / smithandhook.com

The Drinkhacker Shopping List – 12.05.2014

Hello and welcome to the 75th edition of the Drinkhacker Shopping List, our regular look back at the best and worst products reviewed over the last few weeks. Plenty for everyone to choose from this time around, including some incredible (and incredibly pricey) scotch. In case you missed it: We’ve also published our annual Gift Guide, our best spirits of the year guide, including picks for the ideal gifts for the upcoming holiday season.

TheList120514 525x1143 The Drinkhacker Shopping List   12.05.2014

Review: Solbeso No. 1 Fresh Distilled Cacao

Solbeso Bottle 2 525x593 Review: Solbeso No. 1 Fresh Distilled Cacao

First: Solbeso is not a creme de cacao, and it is not a cocoa-flavored anything. Solbeso is a new type of spirit that is distilled directly from cacao fruit, the first and only spirit of its kind (at least that I’m aware of).

How does this work? Cacao pods are picked at various South American farms, the fruit surrounding the pods (not the pods themselves) is juiced, and fermented with a combination of local yeast and Champagne yeast. Distillation is completed in hybrid column/pot stills on a regional basis, then the various regional distillates are finally brought together and blended in the United States before bottling.

So, to recap: This is a distillate of fermented cacao fruit juice.

Almost clear in color, Solbeso is closest in character to a white rum. The nose is not chocolaty, but rather indistinctly sweet. As you exhale, there are touches of light cocoa powder, cinnamon, and brown sugar — notes that grow in intensity as they develop in the glass. There’s also a moderate burn on the nose, but it’s nothing too overwhelming.

The body  is more citrus-focused at first, offering a sourness that mingles with dusky floral elements. Solbeso’s tasting notes identify (rightly, I think) this as honeysuckle. Again, my mind turns to hints of chocolate — cinnamon-infused Mexican chocolate is a better analogy — but maybe that’s just my mind playing with me? The finish is a bit rustic, but continues to showcase both citrus/floral notes as well as a dusky, cocoa-hinting character that sticks in the back of the throat.

All in all this is quite the odd duck and doesn’t show its greatest strengths on its own, but it is something which would fare well as a substitute for white rum in any number of cocktails — even something as mundane as a rum & Coke. Others have compared Solbeso favorably to pisco, and Solbeso Sours are also worth exploring.

80 proof.

B / $35 / solbeso.com

Review: Nicolas Feuillatte X’Ploration 2014 Brut Reserve Champagne

nicolas feuillate XPloration Bottle 109x300 Review: Nicolas Feuillatte XPloration 2014 Brut Reserve ChampagneThis limited edition bottling of Nicolas Feuillatte’s Brut Reserve is all set for the holidays, available in two, fancy sleeves (the gold one is shown at right; there’s also a black version). It’s a special edition for 2014 (at least the packaging is), but the wine itself is not vintage dated.

I’m a fan of Feuillatte in general, but this expression of Champagne hits all the right points for fresh, fun, holiday tippling. Crisp apple notes on the nose start things off, with lively touches of lemon peel and rhubarb joining the party after. The finish is clean and fresh, offering slight herbal notes on the finish that balance the citrus character up front. Delightful.

A / $36 / nicolas-feuillatte.com

Drinkhacker Reads – 12.03.2014 – Weird Science and Expensive Beer

Once again science confirms what barstool wisdom has taught us all along: we evolved with the taste for alcohol, and we’ve been doing it for millions of years. Researchers in Gainesville, Florida, have been able to detect in our ancestral lineage where the ability to product the enzyme to break down alcohol first appeared in our bodies. [AZ Daily Sun]

Elsewhere in science news, researchers at Brown and Yale have been awarded a grant to determine how memory serves a role in alcohol preference and how certain parts of the brain help to block alcohol’s negative effects. [Brown Daily Herald]

Brown-Forman reports 2nd quarter growth thanks to sales of Jack Daniel’s Honey and overseas growth, offsetting losses in other areas. [CNBC]

A. Smith Bowman Distillery has announced a new limited edition vanilla bean-infused whiskey. Aged a total of seven years and six months in the barrel, it is bottled at 90 proof. It’s currently on sale in very limited quantities, mostly available only in Virginia at a suggested retail price of $70. [A. Smith Bowman]

The Telegraph has published a quiz for readers to test their knowledge on which wines contain the most alcohol by volume. The quiz was constructed in response to a public health official warning that people “have no idea how much alcohol they’re drinking.” [Telegraph UK]

A beer recently sold for $500,000 on eBay. The St. Louis Post Dispatch looks into the details behind the auction, and how exactly the lucky winner might be paying for this bottle. [St Louis Post]

Everyone’s favorite E! news correspondent has figured out the solution to leftover wine for moms craving just a single glass and not a whole bottle. Perhaps you’ve seen the billboards. [People]

And finally today, for those wishing to smell like single malt wherever they may go, textile developers have “hand crafted” a fabric to permanently smell like whiskey. There are a number of scenarios in which this product could become problematic, but we’re glad the capability to forever smell of peat and smoke now exists.  [BBC News]

Review: Platte Valley Moonshine

Platte Valley Moonshine Family 525x365 Review: Platte Valley Moonshine

The Platte Valley can be found in Missouri (and thereabouts), far away from the moonshinin’ capital of the world, Appalachia.

Don’t tell that to McCormick distilling — makers of the well-known, eco-friendly 360 Vodka. Among other spirits, McCormick also makes Platte Valley Moonshine (“a true expression of the south… since 1856″), too. This is a 100% corn whiskey bottled in a classically-styledd ceramic jug. And while most moonshine is traditionally bottle unaged, Platte Valley spends 3 years in barrel before bottling. (What type of barrel isn’t disclosed, but I’m guessing refill bourbon barrels based on the pale yellow color.)

The nose is all sweet cream and corn — think creamed corn — with notes of toasted marshmallow and malted milk powder. On the palate, the sweetness hinted at on the nose becomes almost overbearing, a spun sugar web that locks up notes of caramel corn, almonds, and a touch of Fig Newton. The finish is lengthy and more than a bit cloying, making it tough to believe this hasn’t been doctored with more than a few sugar cubes before bottling.

Neat jug, though.

80 proof.

B- / $20 / plattevalleymoonshine.com

The A-List – November 2014

Welcome to this month’s edition of the A-List, our compendium of the best of the best we’ve reviewed in the last 30 days. Lots of great stuff for everyone this month, including a very rare “A+” rating to the latest Tun offering from the Balvenie. Not seeing anything you like here? We’ve also just published the 2014 edition of our annual Gift Guide with a generous amount of high quality suggestions for your upcoming holiday affairs.

AList1114 525x875 The A List   November 2014

Review: Anchor Distilling Christmas Spirit White Whiskey 2014

Christmas Spirit High Res 497x1200 Review: Anchor Distilling Christmas Spirit White Whiskey 2014

Last year San Francisco’s Anchor Distilling released a limited-edition, Christmas-focused white whiskey called White Christmas. This year it’s back, (cleverly) renamed Christmas Spirit.

As with White Christmas, this year Anchor has double distilled last year’s 2013 Christmas Ale and turned into into an unaged whiskey. The ale is different every year, so the whiskey should follow suit, no?

The 2014 Christmas Spirit is more clearly a white whiskey than the almost gin-like 2013 White Christmas. The nose offers popcorn notes, cream of wheat cereal, and cedar tree bark. On the palate, a few piney notes emerge — hints of gin, like last year — but these are overwhelmed by a more indistinct wood character, notes of raisins, cinnamon bark, and touches of leather and tobacco leaf. The finish is racy, hot and spicy, with more cinnamon and evergreen notes counterbalancing the malty roasted grain character.

All in all this is a different expression of white dog than 2013’s rendition, but a slightly more cohesive bottling, one which showcases more of the whiskey/beer underpinnings as well as the seasonal character of the spirit. Ho ho ho.

90 proof. Available in California only.

B+ / $50 / anchordistilling.com

The Spice Lab Brings Color to Cocktail Rims

Cocktail Salts 300x300 The Spice Lab Brings Color to Cocktail RimsSalt-rimmed margaritas (or salt-rimmed anything, really) may be currently out of favor, but here’s one idea if you want to bring the trend back at your home bar: Use colored salts instead of boring old white ones.

The Spice Lab, which markets over 180 types of sea salt alone, has recently launched three sea salts designed specifically for margies. Available in blue, yellow, orange, or magenta, these brightly colored salts have no added flavor (hence no review, it’s just straight salt), but are artificially and naturally colored to put some pigment on the rim. (Warn guests in advance that it isn’t sugar!)

$3 gets you a 4 oz. bag (which is plenty of salt for even a large party of margarita guzzling).

thespicelab.com

Drinkhacker Reads – 12.01.2014 – Diageo Loves America, Europe Loves Microbrewers

Welcome back from the holiday weekend. If you haven’t had a chance to do so yet, might we interest you in our 2014 edition of the Holiday Gift Guide? It’s full of solid recommendations covering some of the “best of the best” we’ve reviewed this year.

While the rest of the world is looking a bit grim for Diageo when it comes to spirits sales, America is a shining beacon welcoming cases of the brand’s finest with open arms and open minds. Even the orphans seem to be getting a little love. Sales are booming, and this is a good thing, as Diageo’s prized Chinese market is slipping drastically in profits. [The Economist]

It’s well known that the craft beer industry has been surging in recent years over in the States, with Big Brewers getting a bit antsy; scrambling to keep up and keep innovating to win drinkers back. Now the frenzy is heading to Europe, with more folks overseas discovering and turning to microbrewers for new experiences. [Financial Times]

Shanken runs a profile on how Bacardi plans to lure bourbon drinkers over to its brands via a new product line and new expression of an old favorite. [Shanken News Daily]

And finally today, a group of armed thieves hijacked and stole an estimated 2,500 cases of gin and whiskey in broad daylight last month. Police are currently working on the investigation with relatively minimal leads at this point. No doubt this stolen product is going into the exact same warehouse currently storing the missing Pappy Van Winkle from a year ago. [Independent]