Craft Distillers Push the Enevelope, Experimenting with New Grains and Styles

Shaken News DailySource: Shaken Daily

Retailers are struggling to find space on their shelves for a tidal wave of artisanal whiskies, produced from grains ranging from oats and spelt to quinoa and buckwheat. These new players are moving beyond white moonshine and into aged products with caramel colors and oak flavors.

In most cases, the craft players’ products are quite different from those of the big players. One example is Corsair Distillery in Nashville, which launched five years ago. Corsair produces a Triple Smoke whiskey ($45 a 750-ml.) that employs three batches of malt—one each smoked from peat, beech and cherry wood. Whisky Advocate named it Artisan Whiskey of the Year last spring. The aging (about six months) is done with the liquid resting in 15- and 30-gallon casks instead of the industry standard 53-gallon cask. Triple Smoke’s volume has now reached 10,000 nine-liter cases, and it’s available in 20 states.

Corsair also makes a pumpkin spiced whiskey ($38) and 12- and 9-grain whiskies called Insane in the Grain ($69) and Grainiac ($50). Those products use buckwheat, spelt, oats, sorghum, quinoa and even triticale—the last a hybrid of barley and rye. Another Corsair product called Rye-Mageddon ($39) is composed of 80% rye and 8% chocolate rye, with 12% barley added.

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