What We’re Reading: Pernod Plans Cheaper Drinks in China, Tainted Liquor Kills 42 in Northern India, Jack Daniel’s Sues Popcorn Sutton’s Whiskey for Infringement, The World’s Strongest Beer is 67.5 Percent Alcohol, A Bourbon-Rye Blend, You Say?, Coffee and Beer are a Match Made in Heaven at Uppers and Downers, Beyond Bourbon: Woodford Reserve Releases Kentucky Malt Whiskies
Pernod Plans Cheaper Drinks in China, 10.24.2013 – Wall Street Journal
Foreign and Chinese spirits makers have said demand in China has slowed after the government scaled back government-sponsored banquets and gift giving—which for years had propelled sales of high-end spirits—in the face of a public outcry over corruption and conspicuous displays of wealth among state officials. Pernod Ricard said sales in the three months ended Sept. 30 fell 9% to €2.01 billion, dragged down by unfavorable currency swings. The result was short of analysts’ consensus forecasts. Excluding acquisitions and currency moves, sales fell 1%, hit notably by a slowdown in China, where sales of high-end drinks have tumbled. While the world’s second-largest drinks maker is waiting for demand of its top notch products to pick up next year, Pernod Ricard recently launched two new products in China—Ballentines Finest, a blended Scotch whisky, and a new line of cognac called Martell Distinction, aimed at boosting sales with younger consumers, who tend to consume such drinks with meals or in popular Karaoke clubs. Read the rest here!
Tainted Liquor Kills 42 in Northern India, 10.20.2013 – Wall Street Journal
Police arrested 32 people for illegally brewing and selling the toxic drink to the villagers, who were celebrating the Hindu “Dussehra” festival in Azamgarh district last week, Ms. Sharma said Sunday. The region is 300 kilometers (185 miles) southeast of Lucknow, the state capital. Deaths from drinking illegally brewed alcohol are common in India because the poor cannot afford licensed liquor. Illicit liquor is often spiked with chemicals such as pesticides to increase potency. Read the rest here!
Jack Daniel’s Sues Popcorn Sutton’s Whiskey for Infringement, 10.25.2013 – Grub Street
The owner of the Jack Daniel’s trademark is suing small distillery Popcorn Sutton’s Tennessee White Whiskey for marketing its moonshine “in a trade dress that is confusingly similar to the iconic trade dress” of the more famous Lynchburg whiskey. Essentially, this means a square-shaped bottle and black-and-white lettering; see the bottles side-by-side here. Company namesake Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton himself famously committed suicide in 2009 to avoid jail time for making hooch illegally. Meanwhile, over in Kentucky, the case of the missing Pappy Van Winkle cases has yet to be solved, despite a promising lead. These are dismal days indeed for American whiskey. Read the rest here!
The World’s Strongest Beer Is 67.5 Percent Alcohol, 10.25.2013 – Grub Street
Scottish brewery Brewmeister has made the strongest beer in the world, clocking in at 67.5 percent ABV. The subtly named Snake Venom is brewed with a one-two punch provided by doses of beer and Champagne yeasts. It’s also got chocolate malts and peat-smoked malt, and is freeze-concentrated several times during brewing, which has the effect of jacking up the alcohol content. This is the latest play in an ongoing battle of the booziest beer with the most intense name (Tactical Nuclear Penguin, 32 percent; Schorschbock, 40 percent; Sink the Bismarck, 41 percent), and is a one-up on Brewmeister’s own previous record holder, Armageddon, which drew customer complaints for being “too weak.” Read the rest here!
A Bourbon-Rye Blend, You Say?, 10.22.2013 – The New York Times
In 2009, when he released Bourye, his oddball blend of bourbon and rye whiskeys, David Perkins, the founder of High West Distillery in Utah, decided to protect his ownership of the term even though, he says, he thought the name kind of dumb. It also now enjoys the status of forerunner. After years of being a quirky loner, Bourye has been joined this fall in liquor stores by two other bourbon-rye blends: Forgiven, made by the Kentucky distilling giant Wild Turkey, and Jefferson’s Chef’s Collaboration, the work of Jefferson’s Bourbon, a well-respected Kentucky producer that buys whiskey from other producers to bottle under its own name. Chuck Cowdery, a journalist and authority on American whiskey, sees some promise in these novel combinations. “All-whiskey blends are a nod to the Scotch tradition and can produce some interesting drinks,” he said. But, he added, “Over all, I think the producers are driven to make news and get attention.” Read the rest here!
Coffee and beer are a match made in heaven at Uppers and Downers, 10.25.2013 – The Los Angeles Times
Coffee finds its way into a lot of beer, and the natural affinity was explored at Uppers and Downers, a weekend event that brought together brewers and coffee roasters at Intelligentsia Coffee’s Pasadena outpost, and which culminated in coffee and beer coming together in novel and delicious ways. Fans of both brewed beverages filled the Colorado Boulevard coffee shop, which also serves beer and wine, to sample a bevy of coffee beers, snack on luscious charcuterie from Lindy & Grundy, and learn the stories behind the beer from the brewers and roasters themselves. The featured guests, including Stone Brewing Co. brewmaster Mitch Steele, David Walker of Firestone Walker Brewing, and local L.A. brewers Dieter Foerstner and Jeremy Raub from Angel City Brewing and Eagle Rock Brewery, respectively. Each discussed their roast and beer selection methods and techniques for infusing beer with coffee as their beers were served at the bar. Read the rest here!
Beyond Bourbon: Woodford Reserve Releases Kentucky Malt Whiskies, 10.18.2013 – Forbes
On November 1, whiskey fans will have an exciting new product to try. That’s the day respected small-batch bourbon maker Woodford Reserve releases its Double Malt Selections – which it claims are the first fully matured malt whiskies made in Kentucky since Prohibition (bourbon is made primarily from corn, while Scotch is made from malt). The two bottle lineup includes Straight Malt Whiskey and Classic Malt, both triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills. The big difference is that the Straight is aged in new oak barrels, traditional in New World whiskies and required by law for bourbon, while the Classic is aged in re-used barrels, more typical of Old World production, for two different side by side takes on the spirit. Read the rest here!