Inventory for January 31st, 2016
Welcome back to this week’s inventory! Heaven Hill is lowering the age of its 12-year old Elijah Craig and Monkey 47 now is “halfway french”.And we take a look at the world’s best selling champagne and gin brands, America has hit its peak vodka time, and Punch profiles a meeting of bartenders who all worked closely with Sasha Petraske.
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1) Heaven Hill lowers the Age of its 12-year old Elijah Craig
Heaven Hill has lowered the age of its 12-year old Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon because of “increasing pressure from soaring global demand”, The Spirits Business reports. As the brand has grown over the past 30 years, the demand for it has increased and therefore the powers that be decided to “bottle Elijah Craig in small batches using Bourbon that has been aged between eight to 12 years”. This move is an attempt to avoid having to sell Elijah Craig Small Batch in even more limited capacity. The availability of the 18-year old Single Barrel will also slowly be increased.
After running dry in 2012 the 18-year old was reintroduced into the portfolio last October. Heaven Hill was quoted with the following “With the second-largest inventory of Bourbon in the world and knowing that that each barrel, no matter the age, matures at different rates depending on its location, Heaven Hill is confident that through our stringent barrel selection process, we will be able to maintain the desired taste profile and quality that has made Elijah Craig Small Batch one of the most critically acclaimed Bourbons in the world”.
2) The World’s Best Selling Global Champagne and Gin Brands
Drinks International is digging its way through the annual World’s 50 Best Bars Annual Report, last week they look into the answers of bar owners and head bartenders who were asked “to rank their top three best-selling brands in each category”. In total, 100 completed questionnaires were gathered. The top three Champagne places went to Moët & Chandon, Perrier-Jouët, and Veuve Clicquot. Gin’s ranking went a little like this: Tanqueray, Beefeater, and Hendrick’s. For a complete analysis of the situation, and a rundown of the top ten, have a look here.
3) America has hit Peak Vodka
Americans have had enough of vodka, at least of vodka that’s made far away. So goes the thesis of Bloomberg, who last week published an article on the state of American vodka. Writers Thomas Buckley and Jennifer Kaplan believe that “In a market increasingly dominated by people who grew up in the social-networking era, Russian mystique and Scandinavian chic just don’t sell like they used to” and speak an analyst at Nomura who tells them that “You need to be more local, focus more on provenance”.
Because “Diageo Plc’s Smirnoff and Pernod Ricard SA’s Absolut are clinging to their collective one-fifth share of the $18 billion U.S. market”, the brands are forced to focus on their provenance. But fake ties to Russia don’t appeal to a young, millennial consumer and the article makes it sound like darker liquors are what the kool kidz are drinking these days.
4) On the Enduring Influence of Sasha Petraske
Punch writer Robert Simonson attended a meeting in early January where “a collection of bartenders who all worked with the late Sasha Petraske gathered to remember this man of outsized influence on the craft cocktail movement”. He detailed his experience in an article for Punch, in the form of an edited transcript of the conversation. The discussion includes bartenders’ first encounters with Milk & Honey, what it was like to be trained by Sasha, and one of his famous daily to-do lists. An emotional and detailed read.
5) Monkey 47 and Pernod Ricard Join Forces
Just on Friday Pernod Ricard announced that it had acquired a majority share of Monkey 47. The Wall Street Journal notes that Pernod is further expanding its super premium gin portfolio with this investment. Founder and CEO of the Black Forest made Monkey 47 Alexander Stein is quoted saying “The partnership with Pernod Ricard was a personal decision. The company led by Alexandre Ricard distinguishes itself especially through a strong entrepreneurial character, a decentralised organisation and a global presence. Pernod Ricard is a companion who respects passion for brands, lives it and regards it as essential”.