Nobody Asked Me But…November 25, 2013 By: Jack Robertiello
Beer will be more complex, rye will get harder to source and vodkas keep on coming.
The demand for American whiskey, especially rye, has created a luxury problem for suppliers, as the owners of Wild Turkey, Campari, recently discovered. After pulling Wild Turkey 101 Rye from the market about a year ago, the company claims bartender demand, backed by a Facebook campaign started by bartender Erick Castro, has brought the classic bottling back. As a result, Wild Turkey 101 Rye is making its way back to the company’s best whiskey accounts in the country beginning this month.
Due to very limited stock, the brand will re-introduce one liter bottles targeting on-premise accounts in 21 markets across the country.
Increased demand for Rye Whiskey and growing enthusiasm for classic cocktails played a role in the depletion of 101 Rye’s aged stock. According to Nielsen data, rye has jumped 41 percent in the past 52 weeks, off a base that has been steadily increasing, although still small compared to big brother bourbon.
Beer lists are only going to be getting more complex as well. New beer-focused operations are bringing serious beers to the forefront, and some previously quiet suppliers are bringing in more interesting brews. The recent opening of the Bluejacket in Washington, DC, is an example of what we’re likely to be seeing more often – 20 brews and five cask ales, all made on-premise with a twist and comprehensively presented, with detailed flavor and aroma profiles listed on the menu including bitterness levels, temperature served and the type of glass used. And they are tempting: Figure 8 is a Scotch ale made with figs and spices, the Ingenue, a malty style made with lavender, and the Forager, a saison made with locally foraged herbs. All are sold by the taste or the glass.
Of course, few places can serve their own beers. Which is why the move by Radeberger Gruppe USA is interesting; the brewer has just announced the launch of BraufactuM, a line of eight micro-brewed beers. The craft beers, developed by BraufactuM’s master brewer Marc Rauschmann, will be released individually, starting this month with Roog, a smoked wheat beer.
The BraufactuM portfolio will be brewed in strict accordance with the German Beer Purity Law and free from any artificial aromas. But most importantly, this is a sign that the American brew revolution is getting the sort of response from one of the homes of brewing many beer fans have anticipated.
The vodka boom just won’t stop. In just the last month or so, three vodkas new to the US market have been launched, by small and large international concerns. For example, there’s the pricey Ao, launched by Suntory, Japan’s leading producer of spirits.
Produced exclusively from Japanese rice in what the company calls a proprietary distillation method using small pot stills and bamboo filtration that allows the preservation of its distinctive rice character and clarity, Ao is just one of the latest. There’s also Leaf, which sets itself apart based on the source of the water used to make the spirit. Actually, that would be two sources – one version is made with Rocky Mountain mineral water, the other from Alaskan glacial water. Last of the three that caught the eye recently, Russia’s RSG Trading launched its super-premium Russian Diamond vodka brand in parts of the East. Targeted toward young professionals with stylish imagery, the Russian import is presented in a diamond-cut package with an Italian velvet label featuring textured metallic lettering.