Small distiller brands are getting lots of attention, and recent developments will no doubt raise interest. William Grant & Sons just acquired Root from Steven Grasse and his brand consultancy Quaker City Mercantile. Grasse worked on Hendrick’s Gin and Sailor Jerry rum for the company in the past. Plans include a line of organically certified spirits, with future releases in the works including Snap, inspired by a recipe for Pennsylvania Dutch black strap molasses ginger snap cookies. William Grant & Sons also made a deal with New York’s Tuthilltown Distillery to acquire the line of Hudson whiskies, including the flagship Hudson Baby Bourbon, Hudson Manhattan Rye, Hudson Single Malt Whiskey, Hudson New York Corn Whiskey and Hudson Four Grain Bourbon.
Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal released Mezcal Vida in California, New York, Illinois and Massachusetts, with national distribution to follow. Like all Del Maguey mezcals, it’s organic and handmade. This one comes from San Luis del Rio producer Paciano Cruz Nolasco and will be widely available, resulting from demand among international bartenders.
Maker's 46, a close cousin of the original Maker’s Mark from Beam Global, is due shortly, but with a different aging method. To make it, barrels storing Maker's are emptied and new oak planks installed. The barrels are refilled and aged two to three months longer than traditional Maker's, which ages six to seven years. The new product is 94 proof, slightly higher than traditional Maker's. Plans are to produce 25,000 9-liter cases of Maker's 46 this year for U.S. distribution.
Also on the way: Gran Classico Bitter (potable, not aromatic), based on the original “Bitter of Turin” recipe from the 1860s. The aperitif is made in a small Swiss distillery from an infusion of herbs and roots, including bitter orange peel, wormwood, gentian, rhubarb and other plants. Gran Classico Bitter’s burnt orange color is a result of the herbs and plants infused into pure grain spirit; it is not artificially colored in any way. www.tempusfugitspirits.com