Bourbon Briefs - News You Can Booze!
Spring has sprung throughout the country, and nowhere is it welcomed more than in Kentucky, where 4.7 million barrels of bourbon currently sit aging. As the state prepares to usher in the Derby in May, news in the bourbon industry is blossoming like the dogwood trees that line the streets, hills and countryside of the commonwealth. First up is last week’s announcement that Bacardí Limited has acquired Angel’s Envy bourbon. Bacardí is the largest privately held spirits company in the world and is still run today by the Bacardí family, a trait Angel’s Envy global brand ambassador and co-creator of the bourbon, Wes Henderson, says made him comfortable with the sale.
The spirits giant says they’ll keep a hands-off approach to the successful bourbon, and Henderson and his family will continue to run their small operation as-is — and a new visitor’s center and distillery is currently under construction in downtown Louisville.
In Derby news, the Old ForesterMint Julep has been named the Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby, replacing Brown-Forman’s whiskey blend Early Times in the pre-made cocktails that’ll be served at Churchill Downs on Oaks (May 1) and Derby Day (May 2). The famous racetrack estimates it’ll serve more than 120,000 mint juleps during those two days.
Brown-Forman also just launched Woodford Reserve’s commemorative 2015 Kentucky Derby bottle featuring artwork from equine artist Carole Andreen-Harris. The main image on the bottle is bold and vibrant, featuring six horses with the jockeys in colorful silks rounding the first turn on their quest to win the big race. The historic Twin Spires are centered prominently in the background alongside an image of the packed stands of fans cheering them on to victory.
The commemorative liter-size bottle will be available nationwide on shelves by mid April. Suggested retail price is $43.99.
And finally, Evan Williams is getting sweet and sassy with the launch of their latest flavored bourbon, the Evan Williams Peach. With a tagline of “No fuzz. All flavor,” it combines the smoothness of bourbon with a fresh peach taste. Bottled at 70 proof, it can be served as a chilled shot, on the rocks or mixed in a cocktail.
Evan Williams is owned by Heaven Hill, the country’s largest independent, family-owned and operated spirits producer. It appears they’re putting their eggs in the upswing of the flavored bourbon market, which shows sales currently up 20 percent (thanks, in part, to brands like Fireball and Jack Honey), according to Nielsen ratings. Evan Williams Flavors, led by Evan Williams Honey, are growing at a rapid, double-digit rate.
Evan Williams Peach will initially be available May 1 in the following markets: Texas, South Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, upstate New York, Ohio, Arkansas and California.