20110831

Final days for whiskey book discount

My new book, "Barrels & Drams: The History of Whisk(e)y In Jiggers and Shots," will officially be released on September 6.

The retail price then will be $18.95, but you can get a hefty 33% pre-release discount from Amazon.com by going here.

It is a collection I co-wrote and edited with essays from numerous writers famous in the field, from F. Paul Pacult to David Wondrich to Tom Wolfe.

You'll discover the spread of whiskey throughout the world and how it helped build countries. Read profiles of some of the most famous giants of the industry as Jack Daniel, George Smith and the Beam family.

Plus, go behind the scenes of Prohibition to check out the legendary gangsters, small-time rumrunners, a famous NASCAR champion who made his mark as a moonshine runner. And, you'll get insiders' looks at legitimate whiskey-making in such diverse spots as Scotland, Ireland, the U.S., South Africa, India and Japan.

20110823

Ommegang weighs in on hydro-fracking

Brewery Ommegang facility.
COOPERSTOWN, NY -- The controversy over "hydro-fracking" has moved into the recreational drinking arena.

The procedure, which involves hydraulically fracturing underground shale beds to release natural gas, has become a bitterly controversial topic in New York, which is criss-crossed by at least two major shale beds. The possibility of despoiling farmland and drinking water sources is the biggest worry among anti-hydro-fracking forces,

Now, Brewery Ommegang, maker of such beers as Aphrodite Ale and Hennepin Farmhouse Saison, says the water it draws from aquifers beneath this Central New York village is at risk of pollution.

"Even our strongest beer is 90% water, and all of our water comes off the property," Larry Bennett, a spokesman for the brewery, said in an interview with the Bloomberg News Service. "If you contaminate an aquifer, it’s done. There’s nothing you can do about it."

The brewery is a unit of Duvel Moortgat NV of Belgium. It contends it would face a "material threat" from a leak of fluid used in fracking.

[You can read the entire Bloomberg story here.]

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20110818

Hefty pre-release discount on my whiskey book

My new book, "Barrels & Drams: The History of Whisk(e)y In Jiggers and Shots," is coming out in September.

The retail price then will be $18.95, but you can get a hefty 32% pre-release discount from Amazon.com by going here ASAP.

I selected and edited all the pieces in the anthology, contributing several pieces of my own as well. Many of the original illustrations done for the book are based on photos I took during my whiskey-related travels.

The book covers the giants of the whiskey industry (such as George Smith, Jim Beam and Jack Daniel), scenes from Prohibition, whiskey-making in such diverse spots as Scotland, Ireland, the U.S., South Africa, India and Japan, stories on the effects whiskey-making had on the development of several nations, and much more.

Among the other authors are the likes of Tom Wolfe, F. Paul Paccult, David Wondrich and Jim Murray.

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20110815

Molson Coors' new beer sounds flat

Marketing alcoholic beverages to women usually contains elements of fun, glamor and even sophistication.

Molson Coors has come up with a different angle: bloating.

Animée, described as a "bloat-resistant” beer aimed at women, will be released this fall in the United Kingdom.

Prediction? It will quickly lose its fizz among women who don't like being condescended to.

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20110813

'Trends' that make you say 'Huh?'

OK, so what are the "experts" telling you that you'll be drinking for at least the next year?

The Food Channel, CultureWaves and the Mintel research firm teamed up to create the TV channel's annual "Top 10 Beverage Trends" list released this week.

Kay Logsdon, editor-in-chief of The Food Channel, said the list confirmed what the network has seen in the marketplace.

"It indicated we're drinking more water these days, although we like to dress it up a little. And, it told us that coupons have little or no influence on whether we purchase a beverage at a fast-food restaurant."

Here are the "trends," in the words of the great seers.

1. D.I.Y. Flavor: Many of us are taking flavor matters into our own hands.

2. Parental Discretion Advised: We're still seeing lots of buzz around beverages and kids.

3. Iced Coffee Is Scalding Hot: Consumption of this cold caffeinated beverage has heated up.

4. For Medicinal Purposes Only: There's certainly no shortage of ways to "drink to your health."

5. Sipping Seasonally and Simply: In much the same way we're eating local and choosing foods when they're in season, we're making a more conscious effort to drink that way, too.

6. Fast Food Beyond the Fizz: There are changes happening here, too, with specialty drinks getting as much play as burgers and fries.

7. Craft Beers: The Buzz Is Back: While overall beer sales are flat these days, sales of craft brews are seeing double-digit increases.

8. Bourbon Booming: The retro revival of the classic cocktail has hip, young consumers bellying up to the bar for whiskey.

9. Show Biz: While the food generally takes center stage in restaurant exhibitionism, beverages are being offered more starring roles.

10. Drinking Ourselves Thin: We want to enjoy our drinks without drinking in the extra calories."

If most of these 10 "trends" leave you saying "Huh?," you're not alone.

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Louisville brewer teams with four Roses

The new loft space. (WHAS11 photo)
LOUISVILLE, KY -- Many a local and visitor has spent time at the Maker's Mark Bourbon House & Lounge downtown. Now, Four Roses is getting in on the branding act.

Bluegrass Brewing Company this week held a grand opening for its new Four Roses Bourbon Barrel Loft. It is located on the third floor of BBC's downtown location at 3rd and Main streets, opposite KFC Yum! Center.

Jim Rutledge, Four Roses' master distiller, said "We supply [Bluegrass Brewing] with a number of barrels, a minimum of 14 a month, to age their beers. And they'll age them up to a couple of months. It gives them really nice flavorful beers. And that was the beginning of the relationship."

The loft can accommodate up to 150 for a seated dinner or 175 for a cocktail or beer tasting event.

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20110808

MA craft brewers: We're being treatened

From The Boston Globe

A rule change at the state’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission could hurt 25 craft breweries in Massachusetts, and some smaller beer makers say it could even put them out of business.

Brewers such as Samuel Adams beer maker Boston Beer Co., Mayflower Brewing Co., Ipswich Ale Brewery, and others that operate under what is called a farmer-brewery license would be affected by the change, which has caused a buzz in the industry since it (recently) was disclosed in a commission advisory. The change still has to be finalized, state officials said.

The new rule would require brewers under that license to grow at least half the hops and grains they use, or get them from a domestic source -- which many said would be difficult in Massachusetts. Without that license, breweries could not operate on-site tastings, and, beer makers fear, would be forced to pay distributors to deliver their beer to retail outlets rather than save money by doing it themselves.

At Cape Ann Brewing Co. in Gloucester, owner Jeremy Goldberg said that the loss of his farmer-brewer status would likely put his entire operation out of business. At the least, he said, he’d be forced to close his new brew pub, in which he invested about $1 million, and lay off 30 employees.

"We would have a brewery that couldn’t serve [beer] on the premises," said Goldberg, who said it could be very hard to get the local liquor license he would need to operate in Gloucester without his farmer-brewery license. "It is going to kill my business."

State officials say the change is meant to clarify regulations defining a farmer-brewer, or someone who grows cereal grains or hops to produce a malt beverage. The law is designed to promote farming in Massachusetts.

[Go here for the full story.]

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