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Issue 137 - Craft Crazy

Whisky Magazine Issue 137
July 2016


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Craft Crazy

Four Kings come together

It's rare that an idea hatched amid a liquor-soaked conversation is worth pursuing later when full sobriety sets in. Yet in 2013, when four American craft distillers proposed (after a few drams) a collaborative effort to marry their whiskeys and bottle them as one, they believed the idea was solid gold.

It would work like this: The first collaboration whisky would see each distillery (Few Spirits, Journeyman Distillery, Mississippi River Distilling Co. and Corsair Distillery) contribute 30 gallons of whiskey for the marriage. Once combined the net result would be divided back into the barrels in which they came, rested several months more and bottled. The whiskey would demonstrate innovation in American craft spirits and give its fans a never before-seen sipper.

The distillers toasted each other for their brilliant idea, wondered aloud why no one had ever attempted such a delicious idea, and named their product Four Kings, a nod to themselves as some of America's top craft distillers. When their enthusiasm for the venture remained not only the following day, but for many days to come, they promised to make it happen.

Yet when then the real workstarted, the mirth of that 'Aha!' moment evaporated like mist. The foursome quickly realised how government regulations on shipping non-bottled whiskey across state lines would create difficulties. Their maturates had to be taxed accordingly, and once bottled, labelled according to regulators' persnickety specs. Another delicate issu...

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