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Issue 133 - The Art of Craft

Whisky Magazine Issue 133
January 2016


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The Art of Craft

It's all in the spirit of MGP

At first glance, the press release that hit my desk in July was just like every other press release – it heralded the arrival of an as-yet-unheard-of American whiskey. The announcement had all the buzz words: ‘straight Bourbon whiskey,' ‘limited edition,' ‘hand-numbered bottles.' (And that was just the boldfaced heading!) But then there was a term that isn't normally broadcast around so-called ‘craft' spirits: ‘Mashed, distilled and aged at MGP's historic Lawrenceburg, Indiana, distillery.'

If you are a regular reader of this magazine, you already know the hullaballoo that's attracted increasing attention in the past few years. Many startup distilleries that release whiskey they bill as ‘craft' are actually sourcing their spirit from bulk producers. The most popular bulk producer in the USA is – you guessed it – MGP.

The newly announced Bourbon, Metze's Select, named for MGP's Master Distiller Greg Metze, presents an interesting question for industry trackers. Here you have a producer turning out whiskey in huge bulk and selling it as product destined for bottles labeled as hand-crafted and promoted as being created with local water or some native touch. (Distillers that make that claim often will have used local water in their whiskey, but merely to cut the spirit down to bottling proof.) Very few will indicate their product was not produced on site. And thanks to a loophole with the TTB, the American governmental agency that oversees the liquor indus...

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