What We’re Reading: There’s a Reason That Rye Is Having a Moment; Mila Kunis is the New Face of Jim Beam, Learns the Kentucky Chew; Golden Road Brewing Debuts New 2020 IPA for a Cause–The L.A. River; Diageo Keen to Buy Global Brands; Why January Has Been a Busy Month for Tequila

February 3rd, 2014 — 4:00pm

Rye Manhattan
There’s a Reason That Rye Is Having a Moment  1/31 – New York Times
I’d like to think that rye’s resurgence is partly a reaction against the snootiness that often accompanies the consumption of Scottish single malts. But I also think that whiskey drinkers are, like me, simply responding to rye’s many inherent virtues, including its budget-friendliness. There are “top shelf” rye whiskeys, sure, but it’s pretty hard to be a snob. More often than not, I steer my customers toward one of the greatest liquor bargains I know: Old Overholt, which, at about $20 a bottle, deserves a place in any home bar too. In the same price range, Rittenhouse is another solid, flavorful stalwart, fine on its own and for mixing. In the $50 range, I enjoy Russell’s Reserve, for its nuttiness, and Templeton, for its exceptional dryness. Read the rest here!

Mila Kunis is the new face of Jim Beam, learns the Kentucky chew  1/31 – Los Angeles Times
The Kentucky chew, the practice of chewing your bourbon so that each part of your mouth gets to experience the glorious liquor, isn’t exactly attractive. Unless actress Mila Kunis is doing it.

The actress just became the new face of Jim Beam. In a new ad for the bourbon, seen above, Kunis visits the Jim Beam American Stillhouse Distillery and gets a lesson in chewing her bourbon from seventh-generation Beam master distiller Fred Noe. Read the rest here!

Golden Road 2020 IPA
Golden Road Brewing debuts new 2020 IPA for a cause — the L.A. River  1/31 – Los Angeles Times
The newest entry into Golden Road Brewing’s Custom IPA series is hitting stores and taps this weekend, and 2020 IPA is more than another hoppy brew from the Goliath of L.A. craft beer, it’s a beer for a good cause. Created in partnership with the L.A. River Revitalization Corp. with the mission to raise awareness of Greenway 2020, it’s a project attempting to unify all 51 miles of the L.A. River with a greenway and bike path. Read the rest here!

Diageo Keen to Buy Global Brands  1/30 – Wall Street Journal
LONDON— Diageo DGE.LN -1.07% PLC on Thursday signaled it would hit the acquisition trail to consolidate its position as the world’s No. 1 spirits company by sales, even as it reported a slowdown in emerging markets.

“Our goal is very much to widen our leadership position in the industry, so we will stay active on the [mergers and acquisitions] front,” Chief Executive Ivan Menezes said in an interview. “We’re clearly looking at other things in the industry, and we’ve got the balance sheet to move for the right ones.” A wave of consolidation has thrown the drinks industry into flux. Less than a month ago, Japan’s Suntory Holdings Ltd. made a move to become the world’s third-largest liquor company by agreeing to buy bourbon whiskey powerhouse Beam Inc. BEAM -0.12% for $13.6 billion.

Anheuser-Busch InBev ABI.BT +0.11% NV, the world’s biggest brewer, also agreed recently to buy South Korea’s Oriental Brewery for $5.8 billion. Diageo itself has purchased two small-scale tequila brands, including one—DeLeón—in partnership with Sean “Diddy” Combs. Read the rest here!

Why January Has Been a Busy Month for Tequila  1/27 – Wall Street Journal
It has been a busy January for the tequila industry: first UK drinks maker DiageoDGE.LN -1.07% teamed up with Sean “Diddy” Combs to buy high-end tequila brand DeLeón, then Justin Timberlake teamed up with Beam Inc.BEAM -0.12% to co-brand a premium tequila of his own. Those two announcements came just a day apart. Why the flurry of tequila deals? Firstly, for Diageo this is a case of playing catch up in a market where it is unusually weak; while it owns top-tier brands like Johnnie Walker whisky, Smirnoff Vodka, Captain Morgan rum and Baileys liqueur (all number 1 or 2 in their market), it doesn’t have a major player in the tequila business. That’s a legacy of its long relationship with the family-owned maker of Jose Cuervo, the world’s best-selling tequila. That  partnership came to an end in late 2012, when the two companies couldn’t reach an agreement to extend their contract, with Diageo wanting to buy the company rather than keep on distributing its product. Since then, Diageo has been working out how it will approach the tequila market. Read the rest here!