Tag Archives: Whiskey

Oh Noooooo! Not the Scotch!

There supposedly is a Single Malt Scotch shortage in the world. Based on this premise, prices of Scotch have skyrocketed in the past few months – pushing even middling product to over $60/bottle.

As a guy who, once or twice a month likes to sit down with a tumbler of the fair Malted  – this has become depressing as my supply dwindles.

This is sort of like the artificial oil crisis of a decade ago, which pushed gasoline prices over $4.00 a gallon despite there being no shortage.

New manufacturers are coming online almost daily. Just in my home state, Virginia, there are several Scotch producers, as well as Bourbon, Rye, and a killer Vodka which is way better than Grey Goose. Japanese Scotch has finally caught up, and excelled as the best Single Malt in the world, with Yamazaki winning the award, Grabbed a bottle months ago, before the price shot up 400%.

Not the best from Yamazaki (which costs an astounding $4000 a bottle), but one of the best financially approachable Single Malts at around $60 a bottle.

So there isn’t really any shortage, much less one which should affect the prices of the 10-15 year old Single Malts.

The only result of this I can see, is a booming business for local distilleries, who are hand crafting some excellent product. I think the big Single Malt producers are about to kill their market.

Is There Really a Single Malt Scotch Shortage?

Media reports of an imminent global shortage in Scotch are overblown—indeed, in a few years, over-production may be the real problem.

What would the world be like without Scotch? It’s a whisky drinker’s worst nightmare, but recent press reports have trumpeted such a doomsday situation facing single malt scotch. (A particularly important concern, since it’s Tartan Week—a celebration of all things Scottish.) The truth: you’re not going to go thirsty any time soon.

Yes, the consumption of single malt has taken off over the last 20 years or so. From 2002 to 2015, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, sales of the spirit in America, alone, are up an astonishing 182 percent.

“The current global demand for Scotch is putting pressure on stocks of mature whisky,” says Charles MacLean, one of the world’s foremost Scotch experts and author of theWhiskypedia: A Compendium of Scotch Whisky.

The problem is that Scotch is an aged alcohol and what you’re drinking today was made at least a decade ago, if not longer.

Distillers, therefore, are always trying to predict what drinkers will want down the road. Such forecasting is, of course, not an exact science. I’m sure most of the brands wish they could go back in time 10 years or more and make additional barrels of whisky that they could sell now.

Instead they have done everything in their power to put more bottles on store shelves, including discontinuing or replacing older whiskies with younger ones that don’t list an age on the label. (A practice that has certainly helped spur the fear of an impending Scotch shortage and will become increasingly more commonplace.)

The brands are also making more whisky. In 2000, according to MacLean, Scotch distilleries were only working at 66 percent capacity and “the result is a shortage of whisky aged between 10 and 16 years,” he says.

But by increasing the number of hours and days they were open that figure rose to 75 percent in 2005 and it was more than 90 percent in both 2013 and 2014. So, in the next decade we’ll begin to see the result of those increases in capacity and there’ll be more mature whisky available.

Currently, there are 20 million casks in Scotland aging and that number will surely go up, since there are also many new distilleries opening. “The last ten years has seen an unprecedented number of new distilleries,” says MacLean.

He has counted 22 new ones that have set up shop since 2004 and, according to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), another 30 are planned.

And these aren’t all small boutique facilities. The Macallan is working on a new £100 million distillery that is supposed to open next spring and The Glenlivet announced several years ago a £10 expansion, which is set to expand its capacity by 75 percent.

That’s not to mention all the Scotch-like whiskies being made around the world, fromJapan and India to even here in America.

These spirits aren’t just copies of Scottish single malts but are interesting interpretations of the liquor and are building up a loyal following of their own.





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Posted by on April 4, 2016 in General


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George Washington’s 100 Proof Votes…

One of the things they conveniently forget on the tour of Mount Vernon, the home of our First President George Washington, is that after serving as President he started one of the most successful distillery businesses in the new nation. Up until Prohibition, Rye Whiskey outsold all other formulations, and was the most popular strong alcoholic drink in the country.

When you needed to get out the votes in those days… Well “Brother” Rye was a reliable vote getter!

Seems to me to be a lot better excuse if a candidate didn’t work out than today – “I was drunk stupid when I voted for that Republican…

Instead of today – being  stupid enough to vote for him sober!”

George Washington Plied Voters with Booze

At $185 a Bottle, a Rare Whiskey Indeed...

It’s Election Day in Virginia, an event that back in George Washington’s day would have had the ex-president and his supporters seeing double. The reason: Voting day was a reason to binge in Colonial times, and the candidate who served up the most hooch often won.

Washington biographer Dennis Pogue, vice president of preservation at Washington’s home of Mount Vernon, reveals that the father of the nation lost his first campaign in 1755 to the House of Burgesses largely because he didn’t put on an alcohol-laden circus at the polls. That year, Washington got 40 votes. The winner, who plied voters with beer, whiskey, rum punch, and wine, got 271 votes.

A quick learner, Washington won three years later with the help of alcohol. “What do you know, he was successful and got 331 votes,” says Pogue, author of the new book Founding Spirits: George Washington and the Beginnings of the American Whiskey Industry. He spoke about his research Monday night at an event sponsored by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and the National Press Club.

Drinking around voting polls has long since been banned in the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in General


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Moonshine…White Lightning… Legally Made

You probably will never see this in any account of the illegal whiskey making in the southeastern United States – but there were also plenty of black moonshiners making both “White Lightning” and Sour Mash whiskey in the back woods of both the hills…

And flatlands.

Problem with the legal stuff?

It just don’t taste right…no.

Distillery to make South Carolina’s first legal moonshine

The Whiskey that Made NASCAR

Two entrepreneurs are taking advantage of South Carolina’s new micro-distillery laws to make traditional moonshine whiskey legally in the state for the first time.

The Dark Corner Distillery will open next month in Greenville, where engineer Joe Fenten and longtime home beer brewer Richard Wenger will produce and sell small batches of 100-proof moonshine from a custom-made copper still.

The distillery, housed in a 1925 building, will also include a tasting bar and a museum dedicated to the history of the Dark Corner, the local mountains that were once full of moonshiners, feud and mayhem, Fenten, 27, told Reuters.

The area was settled, along with the nearby Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, by Scots, Irish and Welsh who migrated down through the Appalachian mountain chain from Pennsylvania in the 1700s.

“They thought it was their inalienable, God-given right to make whiskey,” said Fenten, a Dark Corner native. “It was a hard life. If you could make an extra 10 cents more for a gallon of whiskey than you could for a bushel of corn, then why not?”

Moonshine traditionally was the term used to describe illegally distilled corn whiskey often made covertly by the light of the moon. The product made at the new distillery will be un-aged corn whiskey, but will be taxed and regulated. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on July 31, 2011 in General


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Scotch Lightning – Bioenergy From the Distillery

BTx3 admits to enjoying a sip or two of Scotland’s finest – but this is a new and interesting application. Who’s a thunk it that drinking Scots Whiskey …

Is “going green”!whisky distillery

Scotland toasts new whisky-powered bioenergy plant

It is the spirit that powers the Scottish economy, and now whisky is to be used to create electricity for homes in a new bioenergy venture involving some of Scotland‘s best-known distilleries.

Contracts have recently been awarded for the construction of a biomass combined heat and power plant at Rothes in Speyside that by 2013 will use the by-products of the whisky-making process for energy production.

Vast amounts of “draff”, the spent grains used in the distilling process, and pot ale, a residue from the copper stills, are produced by the whisky industry each year and are usually transported off-site. The Rothes project, a joint venture between Helius Energy and the Combination of Rothes Distillers (CoRD) will burn the draff with woodchips to generate enough electricity to supply 9,000 homes. It will be supplied by Aalborg Energie Technick, a danish engineering company. The pot ale will be made into a concentrated organic fertiliser and an animal feed for use by local farmers.

Environmentalists have expressed concern that some of the wood used in the process may not be locally sourced, but say the 7.2MW project – the equivalent output of two large wind turbines – is a good scale and a valuable addition to Scotland’s renewables industry. Green energy has been a key issue in the run-up to Thursday’s Holyrood elections. The SNP leader, Alex Salmond, has pledged to produce 100% of Scotland’s electricity through renewable energy by 2020, a claim dismissed as “fantasy” by Labour.

The £50m Rothes project is the latest bioenergy venture from the Scotch whisky industry, but it is believed to be the first to provide electricity for public use. A bioenergy plant at Scotland’s largest distillery in Fife is close to completion. The project by Diageo will provide 98% of the thermal steam and 80% of the electrical power used at the Cameronbridge distillery. And last year, scientists at Napier Universityannounced they had developed a method of producing biofuel from the by-products of the whisky distilling process which could power cars and even aircraft. The new fuel, they said, could be available at petrol pumps within a few years.

Of Scotland’s 100 whisky distilleries, 50 are based in Speyside, and Frank Burns, general manager of CoRD, said it was an ideal location for the new bioenergy plant which will be built on an existing industrial site.

“It is very well supported in the local community. Up here in Rothes and in Speyside in general we have a lot of strong links,” he said. “We had zero objections at the planning stage and we have done a lot of work within the community on the progress of the project.”

Waste products from around 16 of the area’s 50 distilleries will be used at the site, including well-known brands such as Glenlivet, Chivas Regal, Macallan, and Famous Grouse. None will come from further than 25 miles away.

Burns acknowledged, however, that some of the wood for the process may not be locally sourced. “Some of it will be local and some of it will be shipped in,” he said. “It is down to the supplier. They may source it locally.” Most of the fuel, he added, will be comprised of the draff.

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Posted by on May 5, 2011 in General


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