The Engines That Drive The Bourbon Trains


Bourbon lovers look forward to the times of the year that limited release bourbons and whiskies come out. There’s Heaven Hill’s Parker’s Select, Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection, Brown-Foreman’s Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, and a few others. Then there’s the 15+ year aged whiskey, the cask strength wheat, rye, bourbon whiskies. Of course everyone knows how much I love the Bottled In Bond whiskies, and looks like with their popularity rising again, there’s a couple more releases coming out here in 2015.

Some of these whiskies can get a little pricey, but for the most part bourbon and American whiskies are still a good value and some are GREAT values. (see my article here on Best Bourbon’s Under $30). You’ve seen that the true craft distilleries have to charge more for their products since their overhead is much higher, and cost of goods is much higher as well. It’s just a given, but hopefully you’ve decided which ones to support in their growth. (Corsair is my favorite craft distillery)

At Heaven Hill Brands, we make just about every style of American Whiskey, and that’s quite an investment too. With the barrel shortage, it’s driven the price of barrels up to an all-time high. Then aging the product 4+ years, and of course the Angels take their share. So even for a large distillery, there’s big capital investment.

On my travels around the country I ask the folks that head of the cocktail programs at bars one favor. I say to them that if they like Rittenhouse Rye, Evan Williams Vintage Single Barrel, Elijah Craig 12 year, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, Bernheim Wheat Whiskey, Mellow Corn, Henry McKenna Single Barrel, and all the other Bottled In Bonds we produce, to picture that as the “train”. And then we have Evan Williams Bourbon…the #2 selling bourbon in the world; a truly great bourbon at a great price, and it sells like gang busters in retail stores, but we are a little weak in bars and restaurants since the size of our sales force is pretty bare bones compared to other suppliers.

I ask them to picture Evan Williams as the engine that drives the train. If we don’t feed the engine, the train slows down, or stops running altogether. “So will you carry Evan Williams here and help fuel the engine?” More times than not, they’re happy to do so, and then glad they did so after they find a nice cocktail that it works nicely in.

About bernie
-Whiskey Professor for Heaven Hill -2009 and 2012 Icons of Whiskey Award Winner - Whiskey Ambassador of the Year US and Global

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