WhiskyCast is where it all begins. Now in our 15th 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”.

Making the Malt that Makes the Whisky (Episode 821: May 31, 2020)

Malted barley is critical to the making of many whiskies around the world, and this week, we’ll take you inside the malting process with a visit to New Zealand’s Gladfield Malt. Gabi and Doug Mitchell founded the maltings 16 years ago as an outgrowth of the family’s Gladfield Farm, and has become a key supplier of malted barley for the country’s growing craft distilling industry. There’s so much to learn that we’ll be splitting the tour between this episode and next week’s WhiskyCast.

In the news, a Minneapolis distillery is in ruins after it was torched by rioters during protests against the death of George Floyd while in police custody, and the distillery’s founder is vowing not only to rebuild, but will help his neighbors rebuild their businesses. Some distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail are making plans to reopen to the public for tours and tastings next week following coronavirus-related closings, while we’ll also have the latest on new whiskies and much more.

Links: Gladfield Malt | Du Nord Craft Spirits | ACSA GoFundMe Campaign | Du Nord Riot Recovery Fund | Kentucky Bourbon Trail | Buffalo Trace | Scotch Whisky Association | Wild Turkey | Laphroaig | Compass Box | Waterford Whisky | Barrell Craft Spirits | Alchemist Events | The Glenlivet | Blackwater Distillery | Balcones Distilling

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Opening the Distillery Doors Slowly (Episode 820: May 24, 2020)

As governments start to relax lockdown restrictions in the fight against the Covid-19 virus, some distilleries are slowly starting to welcome the public back. While tours and tastings are still widely banned, Ireland’s Teeling Whiskey Company opened the doors to its distillery shop and cafe this week, and we’ll talk with Stephen Teeling about the decision and what it means to be able to get out of the house again.

Meanwhile, at least four Kentucky distilleries have also opened their gift shops along with others in states with looser public health restrictions. However, Scotland’s Glenfarclas Distillery will keep its visitors center in Speyside shuttered for the rest of 2020 to protect the health of distillery workers after one of its bottling hall workers died from the virus. We’ll also have details on two whisky auctions to support those affected by the virus, along with the week’s tasting notes, your comments, and much more!

Links: Teeling Whiskey Company | Kentucky Bourbon Trail | Glenfarclas | Glenfiddich | Whisky Auctioneer | Arran | Blackened American Whiskey | Sweetens Cove Whiskey | Buffalo Trace | Dartmoor Distillery | The Glasgow Distillery | Redbreast | Virginia Distillery Company | Hirsch Whiskey | Knob Creek | Moonshine University

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Whisky Bars in a Post-Pandemic World (Episode 819: May 17, 2020)

As parts of the world begin to reopen following lockdowns to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, bars are likely to be among the last businesses allowed to reopen. The social nature of bars doesn’t quite work in an era of social distancing, and that will mean major changes for bar owners – and patrons. Jon Taffer is the host of the reality show “Bar Rescue” and a longtime bar industry consultant. He’s been thinking about what the post-pandemic future holds for bars, and it’s not a pretty picture – as he tells us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, some distilleries are starting to distill again in Scotland, while Kentucky Bourbon Trail distilleries could start to see a few gift shops reopen this week. We’ll also have some of your comments to our Twitter poll question on plastic bottles for whisky and a look at research that could make wheat more attractive for distillers in the future.

Links: JonTaffer.com | Bruichladdich | Laphroaig | Bowmore | Kentucky Bourbon Trail | Maltstock | Whisky Live Paris | Whisky Fringe | Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board | Distilled Spirits Council of the United States | American Distilled Spirits Alliance | Redbreast | Teeling Whiskey Company | Tamdhu | US Bartenders Guild Foundation | Catoctin Creek | Sagamore Spirit | Booker’s Bourbon | Larceny Bourbon | Glendalough | The Whisky Exchange | Rothamsted Research

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Creating a Sustainable Future for Whisky (Episode 818: May 10, 2020)

While world leaders have rightly been focused on the Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of climate change has its own long-term impact on the whisky community worldwide. This week, we’ll look at two projects trying to create a sustainable climate for the whisky industry in the future. The “2100 Plan” is a project between the Kentucky Distillers Association and the state’s universities to come up with solutions that solve sustainability issues, while Scotland’s Bruichladdich Distillery has launched a program to make the entire distillery “carbon-neutral” by 2025. That project could use the waves that pound the Islay coast every day to generate power not only for Bruichladdich, but potentially meet most of the island’s electrical demand.

In the news, the U.S and Great Britain have started negotiations on a new free trade agreement, and whisky industry leaders want to make sure import tariffs on whiskies are removed as part of any deal. Covid-19 lockdowns don’t appear to be ending for bar owners any time soon in Ireland, and this year’s Irish Whiskey Awards have been cancelled because of the need for social distancing. We’ll also look at a partnership in Texas between Balcones and one of the Lone Star State’s legendary breweries and the debut later this month of the “Self Isolation Whisky Festival.”

Links: Kentucky Distillers Association | Beam Suntory | Bruichladdich | Scotch Whisky Association | Irish Whiskey Awards | Tamdhu | Kavalan | Balcones | Buffalo Trace | Templeton Rye | Self Isolation Whisky Festival | Hammer Head | Elijah Craig | Spirit Works Distillery | Frey Ranch | Ko’Olau Distillery

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WhistlePig’s Great Beer Rescue of 2020 (Episode 817: May 3, 2020)

Whisky is what beer dreams of being when it grows up, but the Covid-19 pandemic has left craft brewers with tens of thousands of gallons of beer and no place to sell it with bars across the U.S. closed. Vermont’s WhistlePig Farm has been working with brewers from as far away as Texas to give some of that beer a chance to fulfill a higher purpose: being distilled into whiskey! While we’re approaching this from a humorous perspective, it’s actually cheaper for the brewers and better for the environment to fill tanker trucks with their surplus beer and send it to Vermont than it would be to dump it into local sewer systems. WhistlePig distillery manager Emily Harrison and CEO Jeff Kozak join us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, a new survey shows nearly two out of three craft distillers are at risk of going out of business because of the economic impact from the pandemic. We’ll have that story along with details on the week’s new whiskies and much more, including our latest Whisky Club of the Month!

Links: WhistlePig Rye | Distilled Spirits Council of the United States | American Distilling Institute | Distell | Ogden’s Own Distillery | Glen Moray | Inver House | The GlenAllachie | Brown-Forman | Walsh Whiskey | Becle | Proper No. Twelve | Jose Cuervo | The Balvenie | Jura | Glengoyne | Chapel Gate Whiskey Co. | Heaven Hill | Michter’s | OKI Whiskey | Wigle Whiskey | Charbay | Amrut | Bruichladdich | Adelphi | Heriot-Watt University Whisky Society | Loch Lomond

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The Whisky World Copes With Covid-19’s Impact (Episode 816: April 26, 2020)

With tens of thousands of bar and restaurant workers around the world laid off because of mandatory bar and restaurant closings due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some bar owners are resorting to drastic measures to support their teams during the crisis. Bill Thomas of Washington, DC’s Jack Rose Dining Saloon and his partners have been selling off the whiskey bar’s legendary library of nearly 3,000 bottles – either by the full bottle or single-serving drams – while they evaluate their persona collections to see what makes the cut for the bar’s wall when it reopens. We’ll talk with Bill on WhiskyCast In-Depth, along with Meredith Meyer Grelli of Pittsburgh’s Wigle Whiskey. She’s performing the typical small business owner’s chainsaw juggling routine of switching from distilling and a tasting room to e-commerce sales while trying to find out why her bank dropped the ball on processing Wigle’s paperwork for a federal small business relief program.

In the news, the rash of coronavirus-related whisky event cancellations is spreading to Kentucky, where some of this fall’s major Bourbon events have already been cancelled while the Kentucky Bourbon Festival’s new CEO is hoping to go ahead with Bardstown’s big party. Bourbon Street in New Orleans will be quieter this July with the cancellation of Tales of the Cocktail, and in Scotland, police are investigating an attack by hackers that targeted a major online whisky auction this week.

Links: Wigle Whiskey | Jack Rose Dining Saloon | Kentucky Bourbon Affair | Bourbon & Beyond | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Tales of the Cocktail | Whisky Auctioneer | Buffalo Trace | Chicken Cock Whiskey | The Last Drop | Cotswolds Distillery | The Highwayman | Firestone & Robertson | Bardstown Bourbon Company | TinCup Whiskey | Laws Whiskey House | The Glenlivet | Skinner Auctions

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Japanese Whisky’s Legal Loophole (Episode 815: April 19, 2020)

The demand for Japanese whiskies has far outpaced the supply over the last five years, and entrepreneurs are taking advantage of a loophole in Japanese law big enough to sail a tanker ship through – as in a tanker ship full of whisky. There’s nothing to stop a clever whisky maker from buying bulk whisky from distillers in other countries and shipping it to Japan, then bottling it as “Japanese Whisky.” It’s been a common – but not widely discussed – practice among Japan’s whisky makers for many years, but with their reputations now on the line, industry and government are discussing how to implement a legal definition for Japanese whiskies. Liam McNulty, who blogs as “Whisky Richard” about Japanese whiskies, broke this story recently and will join us on WhiskyCast In-Depth with an explanation. In the news, we’ll have the latest on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on whisky makers, including one who lost out on help from the U.S. government when its bank dropped the ball.

Links: Nomunication | Kentucky Distillers Association | Eastside Distilling | Wigle Whiskey | Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board | The USBG Foundation | OurWhisky.com | The Glenlivet | New Riff | Arran | Teeling Whiskey Company | Pearse Lyons Distillery Charity Auction | The National | The Last Drop | Blackadder | Balcones Distilling | Gotland Whisky | Buffalo Trace

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Tasting Bourbons With the “Off Track” Team of Hinchcliffe, Rossi, & Durham

This is another in our series of special episodes during the coronavirus pandemic to help bring whisky lovers together while staying home, and comes from our live webcast on April 15, 2020. We revived the WhiskyCast Tasting Panel format for this webcast, and our panelists come from the world of IndyCar racing – where there are a number of Bourbon connoisseurs in the paddock. “Off Track with Hinch & Rossi” podcast hosts James Hinchcliffe and Alexander Rossi have had great success on the race track, where Rossi made his mark in history by winning the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2016. Together with their “Off Track” podcast producer Tim Durham, they joined Mark for a tasting of the vintage Ancient Ancient Age 10-year-old, Jim Rutledge’s Cream of Kentucky 11.5-year-old, the Elijah Craig 21-year-old single barrel, and a Wyoming Whiskey single barrel bottled especially for the British Columbia provincial liquor stores.

Links: AlexanderRossi.com | Hinchtown.com | Ancient Age | Cream of Kentucky | Elijah Craig | Wyoming Whiskey

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95 Proof Whiskey…N95 Masks…Uncle Nearest Has Them Both! (Episode 814: April 12, 2020)

While we’re all raising our glasses to honor the health care workers, first responders, and other essential workers risking their lives during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Uncle Nearest Tennessee Whiskey founder Fawn Weaver is doing something else to help them. For the last couple of months, she’s been spending thousands of dollars to buy much-needed N95 respirator masks on the open market at highly inflated prices – and giving them away to those essential workers around the United States. Shipping those masks has kept all of her workers employed, and she’s also hiring new employees that have been laid off by other companies. She’ll explain her reasoning on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, major whisky companies are projecting sharp sales declines worldwide because of the pandemic, while more events are being pushed back until later this year or cancelled outright. We’ll have the details, and we’ll also pay tribute to a longtime friend we lost this week.

Links: Uncle Nearest | Roma Whisky Festival | Diageo | Pernod Ricard | Rémy Cointreau | Virginia ABC | American Distilling Institute | Laws Whiskey House | Far North Spirits | Virginia Distillery Co. | Amrut | Hammer Head | Single Malts of Scotland | Craft Works Distillery | High West | Blood Oath | Woodford Reserve | Kings County Distillery | Duncan Taylor

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A Spanish Cooper Answers the Demand for Sherry Casks (Episode 813: April 5, 2020)

Spain’s tonelerias supply the Sherry-seasoned casks that help give some whiskies their unique character, but those casks are increasingly in demand by whisky makers worldwide. Rafa Cabello is a second-generation master cooper and the CEO of his family’s Toneleria del Sur cooperage in Montilla, Spain – and he’s become the go-to supplier in Spain for many American craft distillers. One of his clients is Seattle’s Westland Distillery, and we spent some time with Rafa Cabello there during the recent World Whisky Forum. You’ll hear our conversation on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the unions representing many Scotch Whisky workers are fighting attempts to restart production while the UK remains in a COVID-19 lockdown, while the one state that shut down liquor sales during the pandemic is having problems bringing online sales…well, on line. We’ll also have the winners of two recent whisky competitions and name this month’s Whisky Club of the Month.

Links: Toneleria del Sur | Edrington | Inver House Distillers | GMB Scotland | Food & Drug Administration | Tax & Trade Bureau | Dad’s Hat Rye | Federal Register | Scotch Whisky Association | Tomatin | Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board | Lew Bryson/Seen Through a Glass | San Francisco World Spirits Competition | American Craft Spirits Association Awards | Buffalo Trace | Aurora Spirit Distillery | Datz Tampa | World Whisky Forum | The Firkin Whisky Co. | Inchmoan | Cotswolds Distillery | Alistair Walker Whisky Co. | Whisky Belles | Glenfarclas

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