WhiskyCast is where it all begins. Now completing our 10th year, each weekly episode brings you the latest in whisky news, along with the latest events, tasting notes, comments from other listeners, and the weekly “In-Depth” segment features interviews with the people who help make whisky the “water of life”.
You never know what might be found behind the walls or under the floors of old houses and other buildings, especially those built during the Prohibition era. As those buildings are being renovated or torn down, salvage crews in major cities are uncovering all kinds of whisky-related artifacts, including evidence from old speakeasies and bootlegging operations. Philadelphia Community Corps founder Greg Trainor leads salvage teams in recovering usable materials from old buildings, and his crews have found all kinds of things that would make a whisky memorabilia collector smile. We’ll take a look at some of his Prohibition-era finds and what they can tell us about present-day America on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also look at some bucket-list destinations for spirited travelers with Kelly Magyarics, who just profiled a few of those destinations for Fodors.com. In the news, another distillery has started making Bourbon in Bardstown, Kentucky, the scientist who’s created a way to turn distillery waste into biofuel has been honored, and we’ll say goodbye to an old friend of Islay whisky fans.
Links: Philadelphia Community Corps | Fodors.com | Lux Row Distillers | Michter’s | Celtic Renewables | The Drinks Business | Virginia Black | The Macallan | Johnnie Walker | Old Pulteney | Bruichladdich | Scotch Whisky Experience | Deanston | Ballantine’s | anCnoc | Highland Park
Last November, Fawn Weaver told us about her mission to spread the story of Nathan “Nearest” Green, the former slave who became Jack Daniel’s first distiller when he started making whiskey in Lynchburg, Tennessee after the end of the Civil War. Part of that mission is the Uncle Nearest 1856 Whiskey brand, which helps support the Nearest Green Foundation and provides college scholarships for Green’s descendants. During our conversation in Episode 666, Weaver told us she’d just acquired a piece of property to build a distillery, but didn’t want to say any more than that at the time. Just before Christmas, local officials in Bedford County, Tennessee approved the rezoning of a former horse farm to become the home of the Nearest Green Distillery, and Fawn Weaver joins us this week to update the story. We’ll also have news on a distillery accident in Pittsburgh, along with a new way for Bourbon lovers to shop and fly in Louisville, and some of your New Year’s drams, too.
Links: Uncle Nearest Whiskey | Wigle Whiskey | Copper & Kings Distillery | Louisville International Airport | Kentucky Distillers Association | Wine & Spirit Education Trust | Glenmorangie | Douglas Laing & Co. | Glen Moray | Sugarlands Distilling | Bardstown Bourbon Company | The Singleton of Dufftown | Ben Nevis
Much of whisky’s early history is documented only in tales, with few written records that have survived the centuries. In some cases, though, the documents exist that can help fill in the gaps in those legends. Archivist Carol Quinn is cataloging more than two centuries’ worth of documents from the distilleries that merged in 1966 to form Irish Distillers, along with rare whiskies that make up the Irish Whiskey Archive’s “liquid library.” Few people are ever granted access to the vault-like room that houses that liquid archive, but you’ll get to go inside on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, public health activists are concerned about the potential impact of the federal tax cut on U.S. distillers that takes effect this week. Queen Elizabeth has honored one of the founders of a fledgling British whisky distillery, and a retired Kentucky distillery owner’s personal stash of Bourbon is about to come on the market – more than four decades after it was distilled.
Links: Irish Distillers | Politico | Distilled Spirits Council | The Lakes Distillery | Frazier History Museum
Distilleries need tons of grain to make their whiskies, and the responsibility for making sure that grain meets quality control standards falls on “The Gatekeeper.” Almost every distillery has someone responsible for checking loads of grain as they arrive for moisture levels, mold, and other things that might otherwise slip through the cracks and not be caught until a whisky is already in the barrel. Kristy Fregonese is “The Gatekeeper” at Corby’s Hiram Walker Distillery in Windsor, Ontario, and it’s here job to not only monitor the grain as it comes in, but make sure the spent grains are also taken care of. We’ll meet “The Gatekeeper” on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, U.S. whisky makers are cheering the tax reform legislation signed into law this week. The new law includes several changes to the tax code that specifically benefit the whisky industry. New distilleries are open now in Kentucky and Scotland, and we’ll also have an update on last week’s story on a new world record for whisky bars.
Links: Hiram Walker Distillery | Distilled Spirits Council | Wood’s High Mountain Distillery | Kentucky Distillers Association | James E. Pepper Distillery | R&B Distillers | Lindores Abbey Distillery | Clydeside Distillery | Daftmill Distillery | The Shed Distillery | The Macallan | Highland Park | Knappogue Castle | Guinness World Records | Artisan Restaurant
Greg Metze spent years making whisky near the banks of the Ohio River, but he never really got the recognition he deserved because his distillery was on the northern side of the river in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. After 38 years at what started out as the Seagram’s distillery, then became LDI and finally MGP, Greg retired last year intending to focus on consulting work. Curt and Nancy Richardson first met Greg several years ago when he created a custom Bourbon mashbill for the whiskey brand they were developing in Colorado, and after a few months of consulting, they persuaded him to come out of retirement and become their master distiller. Now, Greg’s signature is on the front of every bottle of their new Old Elk Bourbon. We’ll talk with Greg Metze about his new job – and his old one – on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the owners of Jose Cuervo Tequila are expanding their whiskey portfolio with a $205 million dollar deal for the Pendleton Whisky brand, while Diageo is changing its tune about opening a visitors center at its new Bulleit Distillery in Kentucky. There’s also a new world record holder for the bar with the largest whisky selection – but is it really a world record? The answer might just surprise you…
Links: Old Elk | Pendleton Whisky | The Sexton | Forty Creek | Bulleit Bourbon | Lexington Herald-Leader | O.Z. Tyler Distillery | Ballantine’s | Johnnie Walker | George Washington’s Distillery at Mount Vernon | Kyrö Distillery | Guinness World Records | The Glenesk Hotel | Jack Rose Dining Saloon | Artisan Restaurant | “Deep Tasting Chocolate & Whiskey” | George Remus Bourbon | Laphroaig
This week, the New York Times marked the anniversary of the end of Prohibition with a special event at one of America’s few women-owned distilleries, Republic Restoratives in Washington, DC. “Women in Whiskey, Sisters in Suds” featured a discussion of the role women play in distilling and brewing – both today and in history. We’ll talk with Republic Restoratives co-founder Rachel Gardner and bring you the discussion on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the tentative Brexit deal between Great Britain and the European Union is being welcomed by Ireland’s distillers and brewers on both sides of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Brown-Forman’s stock price jumped after a positive quarterly earnings report, and Pernod Ricard plans to start exporting whiskies made by its unit in India. We’ll also look at a new English single malt whisky and compare two rye whiskies with port wine influences in this week’s tasting notes.
Links: Republic Restoratives | Denizens Brewing | New York Times | Anchor Distilling | Brown-Forman | Pernod Ricard | Springbank | Kensington Wine Market | Kilchoman | Master of Malt | Redbreast | The Mob Museum | Stranahan’s | Cotswolds Distillery | Basil Hayden’s | High West
Colorado’s ski resorts wish they had lift lines as long as the one that stretched down Kalamath Street in Denver Saturday morning, when hundreds of whiskey lovers lined up for the annual release of Stranahan’s Snowflake single malt whiskey. The line actually started on Wednesday morning when three people arrived from Wisconsin to claim “first in line” honors – beating out the longtime “Strana-Fan” who traditionally claims that spot. We’ll have all of the fun from Denver on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, another malt whisky distillery has opened in Scotland, and Glen Wyvis may well be the first distillery to open after a successful crowdfunding campaign. The controversial tax reform bill approved by the U.S. Senate this weekend includes tax breaks for distillers, and a new audit suggests Australia’s Nant Distillery may have been insolvent for more than two years while the founders were selling casks of spirit to investors. We’ll have those stories, along with the tale of a bourbon-slurping opossum, on this week’s WhiskyCast!
Links: Stranahan’s | Glen Wyvis | The Mercury | Wood’s High Mountain Distillery | Bowmore | Orphan Barrel | Johnnie Walker | Jameson | Glenglassaugh | BenRiach | English Whisky Company | Barrell Whiskey | Heaven Hill
Pulteney Distillery manager Malcolm Waring wasn’t born in Wick, Scotland, but there’s no place he’d rather be … three decades after getting his first job at what was then the northernmost distillery on Scotland’s mainland. There’s plenty of rain, plenty of wind, and fortunately for Malcolm…plenty of whisky to keep track of at the distillery. He leaves Wick a few times a year to meet with whisky lovers around the world, and we caught up with him last week during a brief trip to New Brunswick for a chat and a dram of Old Pulteney. Our conversation’s coming up on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Glasgow’s newest distillery is on the banks of the River Clyde, and Clydeside Distillery has opened its doors to the public. Diageo is ending its Hilhaven Lodge Whiskey partnership with Hollywood producer Brett Ratner over sexual misconduct allegations, while taking former United Spirits chairman Vijay Mallya to court in London to recover $181 million. Country music’s John Rich is launching the Redneck Riviera whiskey label with Portland’s Eastside Distilling, and in this week’s tasting notes, we’ll look at a couple of whiskies featured in new Scotch Whisky Advent Calendars for the holidays.
Links: Old Pulteney | Clydeside Distillery | Diageo | United Spirits | Just-Drinks.com | Louisville Business First | Westland Distillery | Domaine des Hautes Glaces | Eastside Distilling | Redneck Riviera | Redemption Whiskey | Bowmore | Laphroaig | Sullivan’s Cove | High Wire Distilling | Wild Turkey | Share Our Strength | Beam Suntory | Operation Homefront | Wolfburn | Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar (Maverick Drinks) | Samaroli | Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar (Secret Spirits)
This time around, we’re on location at the New Brunswick Spirits Festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick…and if you think we get around a lot, spare some sympathy for Distell’s Andy Watts. He spent 38 hours traveling to Fredericton from his base in South Africa, where he oversees production and quality control for Distell’s whisky distilleries in South Africa and Scotland. Earlier this year, Andy stepped aside from his longtime role as distillery manager for Distell’s James Sedgwick Distillery to take up his new position…and spend a lot more time traveling around the world. We’ll catch up with him on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, police in Paris are trying to find the burglars who stole nearly $800,000 in rare whiskies during a break-in at La Maison du Whisky. Scotch Whisky producers lost their 5-year-long legal battle to stop the Scottish government from implementing minimum pricing for alcohol sales, and the government in Edinburgh has given the backers of a new malt distillery in Inverclyde more than a million dollars in grant funding. We’ll also have details on a couple of rare Canadian whiskies that have some Canadians hip-checking each other in the aisles at retailers, along with the latest Irish Oak-finished whiskey from Midleton Distillery and much, much more…on this special episode from New Brunswick!
Links: New Brunswick Spirits Festival | Distell | La Maison du Whisky | Scotch Whisky Association | Ardgowan Distillery | J.P. Wiser’s | Canadian Club | CanadianWhisky.org | Midleton Dair Ghaelach | Teeling Whiskey Company | 1792 Bourbon | Jim Beam | Douglas Laing & Co. | Three Ships | Bain’s
The very first episode of WhiskyCast was on November 12, 2005, and twelve years later, we’ve been around long enough to have an age statement! Back on that first episode, the idea that someone would invest $150 million to build a new Bourbon distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky probably would have been good for a few laughs, since the Bourbon boom was in its infancy. Now, that $150 million dollar distillery project isn’t just a reality, but the third new distillery to be built in Bardstown. Stoli Group broke ground this week on its new Kentucky Owl Park in Bardstown, less than a year after buying the boutique Bourbon brand from Dixon Dedman. His great-great grandfather started making Kentucky Owl in 1879, and Prohibition killed the brand for nearly a century before Dixon Dedman revived it in 2014. Dedman joined Stoli Group as its master blender as part of the deal, and he’ll share his family’s story with us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Dedman’s new distillery is part of a much larger project that will reshape Bardstown’s future, while part of Lexington’s distilling past is about to come back to life. We’ll also look at the week’s new whiskies and taste one of the rarest single malts around to celebrate 12 years of WhiskyCast!
Links: Kentucky Owl | James E. Pepper | BBC News | Pakistan Daily | Lagavulin | Glenglassaugh | GlenDronach | A. Smith Bowman | Big Peat | Tincup Colorado Whiskey | Chattanooga Whiskey | The Whisky Exchange | New Brunswick Spirits Festival | Pearse Irish Whiskey | Gordon & MacPhail