Old Spirit Sellers

Old Spirit Sellers

It can be difficult at times to fully appreciate exactly how much things have changed. I’m not talking about changes in our lifetime, but instead how things have changed from the way they were done a century or more ago. Take the simple act of buying a bottle of whiskey. These days, most states have dedicated stores for wine and spirits, with a few that can sell it in grocery stores. That’s not how it used to be.

Are Sunday Liquor Sales a Good Idea?

Are Sunday Liquor Sales a Good Idea?

Things change so often and so fast these days that it can be hard to notice it since that change has become omnipresent constant. Basically, we never get a chance to catch our breath and take a hard look back at where we were.

The Character Mystery

The Character Mystery

Sometimes you can travel a thousand miles away, and still have a hard time feeling like you left town. Gadgets keep us in constant contact, and texting someone four states away is the same as texting someone two blocks over. The biggest trickster is chain restaurants. It could be one of the casual dining chains or a universal fast food joint. It all tastes the same.

1834 Federal Law Stops Native American Distilleries

1834 Federal Law Stops Native American Distilleries

Every once in a while, I come across a piece of information that is hard for me to believe is true. Most of the time it’s science or tech, like Pluto no longer being called a planet or octopuses possibly being alien organisms.

How Tariffs are Affecting the Craft Beverage Industry

How Tariffs are Affecting the Craft Beverage Industry

I’m not a big fan of cynicism. To me, it's a refuge for edge lords and moody teens who want to sound wiser and more world-weary than they really are. Cynicism is also a frontloaded excuse for failure for many to justify not even trying in the first place. Still, there some days where it almost feels like the cynics are right. The alcohol industry fought a long hard battle to get the Craft Beverage Modernization, and the Tax Reform Act passed. Now we have a bunch of new tariffs hitting us where it hurts. At best, we took two steps forward, and one step back.

Whiskey and Food Pairings

Whiskey and Food Pairings

We're all used to people gushing over what color of wine, goes best with what dish. On the other end of the spectrum, we have beer, which mostly pairs well with hamburgers, hotdogs, and pizza (and fireworks on the 4th).

Distilling in the Past

Distilling in the Past

It’s easy to get caught up in the romanticism of the “good ole' days." In the liquor industry, we actively try and do as much as we can the same way it was done a century or two ago, at least when it comes to the actual craft of making the product. Sure, some labor-saving machines increase production scale. And, don't forget the backend lifesavers like accounting software that keep you compliant with the man. But, we still use oak barrels and rackhouses instead of plastic vats and a glorified lab.

The Holy Tasting Room Trifecta

The Holy Tasting Room Trifecta

Nothing today is just one thing. Your blockbuster film will also have everything from action figures, video games, and diabetes-inducing breakfast cereal attached to it as part of a bigger marketing operation. And that isn't even including all the fast food promotions and car commercial tie-ins.

Taking the Que from Craft Beer

Taking the Que from Craft Beer

Beer hasn’t been doing all that well over the last few years. Most of the blame is focused on everyone’s favorite economic scapegoat the millennials. The more health conscious and frugal demographic tends to favor wine and spirits when it comes to alcohol.

Hooch Trends 2018

Hooch Trends 2018

No industry is static. Consumer tastes change, and so does society for that matter. What was taboo or relegated to the realm of stupid ideas a generation ago is the next generation's normal. This applies to the liquor industry too.

5 Ways to Manage Distillery and Distributors Relations

5 Ways to Manage Distillery and Distributors Relations

It doesn’t matter whether your distillery is beholden to the three-tier monopoly, or free from those shackles. Your distillery still needs a healthy relationship with distributors to survive as a business. They are the gatekeepers, and the only way to open that gate is to keep them happy. What keeps them happy is simple. Money. Keep the money coming in for them, and they will swing those doors wide open. Making money goes beyond raw sales though. A distillery needs to be a well-oiled cog in the distribution machine. The squeaky wheel may get the grease in the adage, but in the distribution game, it gets dropped. Don't be the squeaky wheel. Be the one that keeps everything running smooth.

Drink it from A...

Drink it from A...

Sometimes whiskey connoisseurs and experts get so caught up with what to drink that they neglect to tell people new to the world of fine whiskey that what they drink it from also matters.

The Three-Tiered System: The Plague on Your Craft Distillery’s Distribution

The Three-Tiered System: The Plague on Your Craft Distillery’s Distribution

One of the biggest problems for a distillery, or any alcoholic beverage producer, is the three-tier distribution system. The three-tier system began in the early 1930’s shortly after the end of Prohibition as a way for states to control how and to what extent alcoholic beverages are distributed and sold. Now this scam on liquor makers has grown even more archaic and irrelevant, even though it’s 100% binding. Like with everything, the three-tier system is supposed to be for our own good, but what is it really?

Finding the Perfect Barrel for Hooch

Finding the Perfect Barrel for Hooch

When it comes to distilling, finding the perfect barrel to make your spirits is an easy journey to start, but not so easy to finish. It's like everything in this industry. There is and always will be the cheap and easy way to do things. We've seen liquor manufacturers put great effort into making the most significant amount of booze, for the lowest cost possible. And most of us have also had the misfortune of tasting those results, either from youthful inexperience before we understood how much quality matters, or just because it was there.

Tips for Distillery Managers

Tips for Distillery Managers

Distillery managers have a tough job. On the one hand, they’re working at a company that has to make a profit, just like any other cubicle farm in the big city. On the other, making spirits is more than a job. It’s a calling steeped in tradition. There is an inherent level of passion found in people working at all levels of a distillery that doesn’t exist in companies that make gaskets or slip covers.

A Lesson in Rackhouse and Proof

A Lesson in Rackhouse and Proof

Most people go through life enjoying whatever products they use, without ever considering what it takes to make them, let alone make them good. It’s human nature. We have enough on our minds without wasting time wondering how they get the plastic straws wrapped up in their paper sheaths. Still, some things are more important than plastic straws and people should know how much work goes into making something amazing. And by something amazing, I mean craft whiskey and bourbon, or any worthwhile liquor.

Put a Lid on the Barrel Management Nightmare

Put a Lid on the Barrel Management Nightmare

For some craft distillers, finding a barrel in the warehouse is comparable to finding metaphorical homework your dog ate. Yes, you know you did it, but you have no clue where it is or even where to begin looking. In rows of literally hundreds upon hundreds of whiskey barrels, it’s like looking for one special needle in a pile of needles…