UNBEKNOWN TO MOST, THESE THREE INSIGNIFICANT LETTERS ACTUALLY HAVE A
HUGE IMPACT ON THE WORLD OF SPIRITS. Smoke and mirrors is how I can best describe the practices of a growing number of spirit producers. In the blossoming world of “Craft” spirits, you would be surprised by how many producers don’t actually make anything. Stories of Al Capone and bootlegged Rye Whiskey are lovingly believed because it sounds good, but the reality is that the socalled distillery doesn’t actually make anything.
So what is MGP. It is an industrial sized distillery that pumps out mass quantities of vodka, gin and whiskey (along with other food grade alcohols used in solvents, pesticides, antiseptics and fungicides) that is located in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. It is now a one-stop shop for producers to package and sell a product in the marketplace without having to do any distillation themselves.
Upstart spirits companies selling juice they didn’t distill, rarely advertise the fact. But there are ways to tell: whiskey aged longer than a distillery has been in business is one of the telltale signs that the “distiller” is actually just bottling someone else’s product.
Sitting at a bar recently, I heard a conversation between bartender and patron about a particular brand of whisky (that rhymes with Thistle Swig). Said bartender was singing the praises of this highly touted aged Rye offering; however, everything he told the poor unsuspecting drinker was false. Not to fault the bartender because he probably didn’t know that the “distillery” is actually younger than the age statements claimed on the bottle or that it’s not an actual working distillery in the first place. Unknown to most is that this, somewhat expensive, 100% Rye is actually a product of Alberta Distillers in Canada as is the case in the majority of whiskey offerings available today. Wild claims of secret, long-lost, family recipes are nothing more than a very clever marketing ploy. There are some producers that insist on transparency though. George Town Trading Co. is very clear about where their whiskey is from and where it is bottled in lieu of having their own distillery, which let’s face it, is a very expensive endeavor. However, they are one of the few companies that realize the predicament the industry has found itself in and will be building a true working distillery on the
historical sight of one of the oldest whisky brands in the country, James E. Pepper.
So what does this all mean then? Well, it’s hard to say. With our increased thirst for the brown stuff, it’s great that there is so much to choose from in the marketplace. However, I
think it is important to understand that when the barkeep tells you a fantastical story about
the origins of the whisky you are about to spend good money on, just know that it might not be true.
Visit www.great-taste.net/raising-the-bar/MGP/ for a full list of all the whisky brands that are made at MGP. Is your favorite on the list?
ABOUT THE WRITER
SALES REPRESENTATIVE, WINE WAREHOUSE
NICKNAMES JTB or (jimmy the brit for short).
HOW LONG BARTENDING OR PAIRING FOOD AND
BEVERAGE? 20 Years.
AWARDS & CONTESTS Golden Foodie (Best Cocktails, Hopscotch), OC Weekly People’s Choice Bartender Of The Year (Hopscotch).
BEER I am a sucker for a good sour beer but stick a Tennants Lager (Scottish) in front of me and I’m in happy land.
WINE 2002 Lanson Gold Label (one of the best champagne vintages in the last 50yrs).
COCKTAIL Last Word, although a good Aviation is
right there with it.
COCKTAIL CREATION The Buccaneer.