John Drew Brands Introduce Three New Spirits
Jonathan Drew has always been known for doing things a little differently in the cigar industry. He moved to Esteli, Nicaragua in 1998 to start a cigar business, spending many nights sleeping on the factory floor as he built that business. Today Drew Estate is the second largest premium cigar manufacturer in the world. Most people would be content to have built one hugely successful business in their lifetime, but not Drew. Now he’s shaking things up in the spirits business. Last month Drew introduced 3 new spirits to the market: John Drew Rye, Dove Tale Rum, and Brixton Mash Destroyer. The spirits will be sold under the John Drew Brands umbrella, though the spirits themselves are sourced from other spirits companies. It’s important to understand what it means to be a non distilling producer in this context. Starting a spirits business is very capital intensive, and especially with brown spirits such as rye whiskey you’re not going to get an immediate return on your investment. So when you start a spirits brand you have two options- build a distillery and sell clear spirits right away, which is still hugely capital intensive, or buy bulk spirits from other producers to bottle. Some companies continue to be non distilling producers who buy their spirits in bulk, others eventually build a distillery. It remains to be seen which direction Drew will take with this latest venture. But keep in mind many huge names in the bourbon industry- Four Roses and W.L. Weller, among others- started out as non distilling producers.
John Drew Rye is a Canadian Rye Whiskey of unknown mash bill aged 7 years and bottled at 90 proof: “John Drew Collection Rye Whiskey was distilled in Alberta, Canada, then aged in Oak Barrels for 4 years before being shipped to Florida and held for Jonathan Drew for an additional three years,” says the product’s website.
Dove Tale Rum is an 80 proof spirit that has been aged 4 years in bourbon barrels- a rum to appeal to bourbon drinkers. The brand’s website says, “First, our team selects sugarcane exclusively from the Florida Everglades to create Blackstrap Refiner’s Grade Molasses. Then, it’s distilled and carefully aged in hearty, beautiful, oak bourbon barrels until our smooth dark rum has developed layers upon layers of sweet caramel goodness.”
Brixton Mash Destroyer is in a category all its own. This 45% rum, 55% Kentucky Bourbon concoction is unlike anything else on the market. It’s bottled at 90 proof: “At John Drew Brands, we like to destroy everything! Yeah, I said it… “DESTROY”. With an attitude that’s never satisfied with the status-quo, we’ve been redefining craftsmanship since 1996… and that’s precisely the spirit that we’re bringing to the table with the Brixton Mash Destroyer. What exactly is Brixton Mash Destroyer? Think of it as a mash up collaboration between high quality spirits, such as Kentucky Bourbon & Florida Rum.”
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this product roll out is that nothing in this line is designed to be paired with cigars. Look for these new products hitting store shelves beginning in June.