What We’re Reading: New Collaboration Beer Puts The ‘Creamy’ In Milk Stout; St. George Spirits’ New NOLA Coffee Liqueur Pays Tribute To New Orleans; Craft Distillers To Gather At Spirits Expo Downtown In May; Craft Beer Boom Continues To Brew, Sales Up 20%; Diageo Shakes Up Executive Team; ‘Tennessee Whiskey’ Label Dispute Put On Ice; Bye Bye Baijiu? Moutai Says Sales Growth To Slow; 10 Things Probably Missing From Your Home Bar; 5 Headaches Only Whiskey Drinkers Understand

March 28th, 2014 — 5:03pm

Creamy Milk Stout
New collaboration beer puts the ‘creamy’ in milk stout 3/27/2014 – Los Angeles Times
One of San Diego’s best breweries has joined forces with one of L.A.’s oldest breweries on a collaboration beer that celebrates the little-known connection between the two California companies. The name of the new beer, Dairy Tank Collaboration Milk Stout, references the converted dairy equipment that it was brewed on, tanks that Eagle Rock Brewing acquired from AleSmith in 2008 when the San Diego brewery was expanding. The ad hoc brewhouse was built in 1995 when AleSmith was being cobbled together by a group of homebrewers going pro, and those brewers developed some of craft beer’s enduring classics (AleSmith IPA, Speedway Stout, Anvil ESB) on the reappropriated dairy hardware. The substyle of the dark, roasty stout was born in Britain, and the style has become popular among Southern California craft brewers recently. Besides the perennial favorite Udder Love from Beachwood BBQ, Noble Ale Works introduced Man’s Milk to much acclaim (and plenty of crass jokes), while Golden Road’s vegan-friendly take on the style, Almond Milk Stout is coming soon. Read the rest here!

St. George Spirits’ new NOLA coffee liqueur pays tribute to New Orleans  3/27/2014 – Los Angeles Times
New from St. George Spirits in the Bay Area is distiller Dave Smith’s NOLA coffee liqueur. Smith met his wife in New Orleans, so this is his tribute to a place that’s close to his heart. I admit, with a decades-old memory of Kahlua’s cloying taste still fresh in my mind, I wasn’t exactly eager to try this. But open the bottle I did, and what a surprise. It isn’t sweet, or not very, and carries the taste of very good dark-roast coffee to an absurd length. By that I mean the taste of coffee lingers on the palate, along with notes of hazelnut and the earthy bitterness of chicory. The result is fresh and sophisticated. It’s made with Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans roasted medium-to-dark, French chicory root and Madagascar vanilla. Per usual, the Alameda-based distiller pays attention to the details. The beans are roasted by Jewel Box Roasters in Oakland. And when they couldn’t get the right grind with a coffee grinder, they turned to a grain mill. The coffee is then infused at low temperatures to extract maximum flavor and minimal astringent components. Oh, you could sip this coffee liqueur straight. But St. George Spirits has some suggestions, most of which include brushing up on your mixology skills. I’m kind of thinking “The City That Never Sleeps” could be the one: 1-1/2 ounces Breaking & Entering Bourbon (St. George Spirits’ own whiskey), 1 ounce St. George NOLA coffee liqueur, 1/2 ounce dry vermouth and 2 dashes bitters. Stir all ingredients with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Luxardo cherry. Read the rest here!

Craft Distillers 2
Craft distillers to gather at Spirits Expo downtown in May  3/25/2014 – Los Angeles Times
The first ever Los Angeles Spirits Expo will celebrate craft spirits by bringing together distillers, bartenders, bottlers, label makers and the public over two days in May for seminars, tastings and panel discussions. On May 9 and 10 at L.A. Center Studios in downtown L.A., the expo will host exhibitors serving tastings of small batch spirits, and speakers will offer insight to the burgeoning craft spirit industry. “It’s a forum for producers, where in one place they can discuss the micro-distillery movement that has boomed,” says organizer Maricela Lopez. It’s a place for new producers coming to market to gather information, Lopez says. How to get a distributor, how to package, how to brand and market. “Having worked on the marketing side of the spirits industry, I know first-hand the challenges of breaking into the L.A. market and wanted to create a supportive place where those in the business can exchange ideas and learn from each other.” Read the rest here!

Craft beer boom continues to brew, sales up 20%  3/21/2014 – Los Angeles Times
It doesn’t take industry experts to tell you that craft beer is growing in America (and Los Angeles especially) — a trip to any beer bar or liquor store will offer more than a few new beers and new breweries competing for your beer money, but the Brewers Assn. provides details on just how much craft grew in 2013. While the overall beer industry continues to slump, craft brews grew by 20%. The association’s new report — also in handy infographic form — breaks down the number of new breweries that opened in 2013 (413 against 44 shuttered breweries), how much more beer was brewed last year (75 million gallons), and the all-important growth of craft beer’s overall market share — up to 7.8% of beer in 2013. Read the rest here!

diageo shakes up
Diageo Shakes Up Executive Team  3/28/2014 – Wall Street Journal
Diageo DGE.LN +0.24% PLC Chief Executive Ivan Menezes on Friday moved to shake up his senior management team and stamp his authority on the drinks giant, less than a year after taking the top job from longtime CEO Paul Walsh. Mr. Menezes said Gilbert Ghostine, currently president of the Asian-Pacific region, would become president for Greater China and India and will take on the newly created role of chief corporate development officer, focusing on business development. He added that Nick Blazquez would become president of Africa, Eurasia and Pacific. The role means Mr. Blazquez will now take full responsibility for markets in North Asia, Southeast Asia and Australia, alongside his existing oversight of Africa, Turkey, Russia and Eastern Europe. Read the rest here!

‘Tennessee Whiskey’ Label Dispute Put on Ice  3/25/2014 – Wall Street Journal
A debate over what can be called “Tennessee Whiskey” was put on ice Tuesday after divided lawmakers in Nashville, moved the matter to “summer study” instead of taking it to a vote. It means any reworking of existing legislation governing the designation won’t happen before next year—if at all—in a feud pitting globe-trotting liquor giant Diageo DEO +0.48% PLC against U.S. whiskey heavyweight Brown-Forman Corp. BFB -0.25% U.K.-based Diageo is lobbying the state to roll back last year’s law championed by Kentucky’s Brown-Forman requiring anything labeled “Tennessee Whiskey” to be made in the state from at least 51% corn, filtered through maple charcoal and aged in new, charred-oak barrels. That is the decades-old recipe for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, which is owned by Brown-Forman and is the top-selling American whiskey. Diageo, the world’s largest liquor company by revenue, owns Johnnie Walker blended Scotch whisky but is a distant No. 2 in Tennessee Whiskey with its George Dickel brand. Diageo says distillers shouldn’t have to copy Jack Daniel’s and should be allowed more flexibility in how they make Tennessee Whiskey—including whether or not to use new barrels amid potential supply shortages. Read the rest here!

Bye Bye Baijiu? Moutai Says Sales Growth to Slow  3/25/2014 – Wall Street Journal
If there’s one bellwether to gauge the health of the luxury sector in China, it’d be Kweichow Moutai Co.600519.SH -3.18% Ltd, makers of a high-end liquor that packs a punch and is the preferred drink at official and business banquets.

The company said its 2013 profit rose by 13.7% when it announced its year-end results late Monday. That figure beat analyst estimates, but it’s also far below the 52% growth it posted in 2012. The on-going government crackdown on Chinese corruption has curbed consumption of indulgences such as Moutai’s expensive baijiu, a colorless liquor distilled from sorghum and rice that’s known for its potent alcohol levels and distinct odor that fans say is a perfect complement to Chinese cuisine (detractors would liken it to paint thinner).  Moutai said such a trend is likely to continue, saying that the baijiu market is entering a “slow growth” period for 2014 and adding it’s unlikely it will return to the boom of previous years. The stock market reacted accordingly, with company shares declining over 5% on Tuesday morning. Read the rest here!

10 Things Probably Missing From Your Home Bar  3/28/2014 –
It’s hard to say how many times we’ve started to make a drink at a friend’s party, only to realize that we’re missing a muddler or a strainer. And while we’re no strangers to getting creative to solve the problem, why not make sure you’re prepared next time? A while back, we asked our Facebook fans what tools and other supplies they thought was most often missing from home bars. We got more than 150 responses—everything from cocktail shakers to corkscrews—but there were a few that really stood out. And it’s not all bar tools. So no matter if you’re making complicated cocktails or are just looking to ramp up your whiskey-drinking game, we rounded up 10 essentials you should always have on hand. Read the rest here!

Bad Ice
5 Headaches Only Whiskey Drinkers Understand  3/27/2014 –  
Exorbitant pricing; too-short pours; sad, melty ice: These are problems we whiskey fans know all too well. We’ve collected the most common—and infuriating—situations whiskey-lovers run into. Click through and commiserate. It’s nice to know there’s someone else who understands. Read the rest here!

Spirit Guide: Bar Jackalope opens within Seven Grand DTLA!

March 26th, 2014 — 3:45pm

Pedro Bar Jackalope
For the past four years I’ve been helping to co-curate the Whiskey Society at Seven Grand, hosting monthly (and often weekly) tastings, featuring Master Distillers and Brand Ambassadors from Ireland, Scotland, England, Japan, Australia, Kentucky, Tennessee and all over America. We seek to educate and explore the wide world of whiskies, making it accessible and understandable for anyone who wants to learn. We’ve been blessed with great success.

The Whiskey Society events provide a forum that goes way beyond Brand Marketing. Meetings are crowded and intimate, encouraging community interaction through the sharing of sensory experience. We sip together and try to decipher the spirits dancing on our tongues. Food words. Laughable descriptions. By connecting ourselves more deeply to our sense of taste and smell, we’re growing our ability to enjoy more, expanding awareness and appreciation of life. Stories of the distilleries and the towns built around them, give us a sense of place and identity.

I know this sounds like a lot of romantic crap, but we really do offer this with honesty and humility. We’ve been serious from the beginning in our efforts to create a community hub in DTLA. When we first opened, the storefronts across the street from us were completely empty, from Olive to Grand on 7th. We were the only business open after 6pm on our block. We used the buddy system to get to our cars after closing. Seven years later and the block is now called the ’7th Street Corridor,’ bustling with restaurants, boutiques and salons: Chilean fusion, East L.A. Soulfood, Italian Metropol, hundreds of new apartments in 2 renovated buildings across the street, and all of this started during the greatest economic downturn in U.S. history.

We are grateful but also very aware of the problems that still exist, homelessness and the lack of adequate social services; we often do Whiskey Society events in benefit for the good fight. We try to lead by example in our community. The Whiskey Society is about enjoyment and exploration, and expansion of understanding. We are not claiming to be authorities on whiskey, rather avid enthusiasts and students, ourselves. Celebrants of a life well-lived.

We have created dozens of flight menus and offer whiskey tastings the main bar, but when it gets really busy (a wonderful problem to have) our barkeeps must switch gears. We can cannot always give the in-depth tasting experience we would like to provide, we have to surf the wave, not fight the tide. We are a high-volume bar, and do our best to accommodate as many people as possible, whenever we’re open.

Last year our GM Andrew got to travel to Japan (along with Angus our VP and Brett the San Diego GM) to visit distilleries and learn about the Japanese history of whiskey-making. While there, they were quite taken by the Tokyo bar scene, small bars where the hospitality was supreme, specificity intense, and experience unforgettable. Upon return, Andrew began plotting a new project that would enable us to emulate that style of service in Los Angeles, personalized and intimate, but accessible to everyone. He proposed opening a new bar in the Jackalope Room at Seven Grand, where we hold our Whiskey Society meetings.

It’s been several months and a whole lot of work since inception, but we recently opened Bar Jackalope in the back room at Seven Grand. Whiskey Society members will know where to go, but might be confused at first. The door pull is now gone and the windows of the back room door covered-over. There is a small button switch on the wall that turns on a light. The door is opened for you, and if there’s room, you are seated. If the room is full, your name and phone number are noted, and you will receive a text when your table is ready. We do not take reservations, there is no admission charge, seating is first-come, first-served.

I don’t want to go into the details of service too much here, I would rather you come experience it first-hand. We are open 9pm to 1:30am, Sunday through Thursday. We are a sipping lounge and tasting library, we have books and magazines, a cigar patio with 2 smoking tables, a phonograph record player, hand-carved ice, crazy whiskies and I’ve already said way too much. Come check it.

Pedro, currently sipping Four Roses 7G Single Barrel, 2013. Whoa. Wedding party whiskey.

Pedro Shanahan, Spirit Guide,
Seven Grand Whiskey Bar
Co-curator, Whiskey Society

‘Artisanal Ice:’ As Ridiculous as it Sounds? 3/20/14 – Austinist

March 24th, 2014 — 12:52pm

They’re doing incredible things with ice these days down at Half Step, Rainey Street’s newest cocktail bar.

Yes, it’s “Artisanal Ice” — score another trivial feat for the hipster-yuppie crowd. It may very well be a sign of the apocalypse (or, at a minimum, the lamest gimmick in town) but perhaps these exquisitely sculpted, perfectly symmetrical cubes do for speciality cocktails what human growth hormones do for our finest Olympic athletes. Read the rest here!

Seven Grand San Diego Whiskey Society: Featuring Dave Adams of Green Flash Brewery, Tues., March 25th, 7:30pm

March 24th, 2014 — 12:19pm

Green Flash SD Horz
I would like to welcome you to another jubilant event.  On Tuesday the 25th at 7:30pm we will have Dave Adams the head of education for Green Flash Brewery.  I know, I know its not whiskey but I thought we could use a quick switch of pace.  Dave will be guiding us through the brewing process while we taste a wide variety of the the beers that Green Flash creates.  Such as Saison Diego, West Coast IPA, Le Freak Ale, and a special limited release.  I look forward to seeing all of you on Tuesday.

In addition I would like to welcome you to join us on Sundays for our weekly Flight Night at Seven Grand.  I have designed four different whiskey groupings with various qualities.  The bar opens at 8pm on Sundays so come in and lets talk about whiskey.

Register Here!

If you have any questions about the event or how to register my contact information is below.  We provide annual memberships for $120 or charge a $15 fee per tasting.  Also if you RSVP for an event and are unable to attend, you must contact me.  This opens the event up for people who can make it.  For questions in regard to setting up a private tasting contact me.


Josh Judd
Seven Grand Whiskey Bars
Currently sipping on Hakushu Heavily Peated…