WhiskyCast
The cask-strength podcast on whiskies from around the world, including Scotch, Bourbon, Irish, and Canadian whiskies. Listen for the latest whisky news, interviews, tasting notes, and much more! To find out more about WhiskyCast, visit us at WhiskyCast.com.

Craft distillers dream of not only having their whiskies alongside those of the major global brands, but outselling them. For the Quint family of Iowa's Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery, that dream has become a reality. Earlier this month, Iowa's state liquor agency released sales data showing that Cedar Ridge Iowa Straight Bourbon was the top-selling Bourbon in the state over the previous 12 months - beating the big Bourbons for the first time. We'll talk with Murphy Quint, who was a teenager when his parents opened Cedar Ridge 15 years ago and is now head distiller. In the news, time is running out for Congress and the Trump Administration to extend a critical federal excise tax cut for distillers. We'll have that story and the rest of the week's whisky news on this edition of WhiskyCast!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20201122.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:23am EST

There's a lot of political turmoil these days, and European Union leaders threw gasoline on the fire with this week's decision to impose new import tariffs on American-made rum, vodka, brandy, and vermouth to go along with the existing 25% tariff on American whiskies. The Trump Administration had previously pledged to respond with additional tariffs on European goods, and that could mean more whiskies are under the threat of new tariffs - in a dispute between allies that has nothing to do with the spirits industry. Could the incoming Biden Administration take a different approach that reduces the rhetoric and leads to the removal of whisky tariffs on both sides of the Atlantic? We'll discuss that with Distilled Spirits Council CEO Chris Swonger, who's been trying to persuade U.S. and European leaders to do just that for more than two years. We'll also have the rest of the week's whisky news, including distillery construction in Scotland and the latest on new whiskies...including one that won't leave you feeling blue!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20201115.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:41pm EST

Marianne Eaves had a bright career path in her future as the first female master distiller at a Kentucky Bourbon distiller when she suddenly decided to leave Castle & Key Distillery 18 months ago - a year before the first whiskies she made there would be ready for bottling. It was a leap of blind faith, and now, she's living in Oregon with her young family, consulting with makers of whiskies and other spirits, and launching another venture - blind Bourbon tasting kits for whiskey lovers. We'll talk with Marianne Eaves about the "Eaves Blind" project, along with the Sweetens Cove Tennessee Bourbon she created for a team of high-profile athletes and investors and her dream of building a mobile blending lab. In the news, Covid-19 has now forced the cancellation of three more major whisky events in the U.S. and the postponement of a major event in Europe. Kentucky Distillers Association leaders are about to get a new look at the need for improvements in diversity and inclusion in the Bourbon industry, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson won't be re-gifting the Scotch Whisky he received as a gift earlier this year...he won't be drinking it, either...his minders took it away from him for violating the UK's limit on gifts.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20201108.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:18pm EST

OK, we're not going talking about politics this week, but whisky has been made in and around Washington, DC for 400 years, including a distillery owned by George Washington himself. There may not be quite enough local whisky available to calm the nerves of politicians awaiting the results of Tuesday's presidential election, but it's a good start. We'll talk with Sid Dilawri of the appropriately-named Filibuster Distillery just outside Washington and Ali Anderson of Joseph A. Magnus & Co., which started out in Washington and is now moving to Michigan where there's room to expand. In the news, Kentucky's Bourbon distillers put in another record year of production, while bars and restaurants in many countries are being hit with another round of Covid-19 lockdowns. We'll also have the week's new whiskies, along with November's Whisky Club of the Month!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20201101.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:35pm EST

Very few Bourbon brands can claim much of a pre-Prohibition heritage, but Brown-Forman's Old Forester can. George Garvin Brown created Old Forester in 1870 in the same way many of today's whiskey entrepreneurs got started - by buying bulk whiskey from several distilleries and blending them together to create his own unique flavor. His great-great grandson Campbell Brown is the managing director of Old Forester today, and joins us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. We'll also have the week's whisky news, tasting notes, and on Behind the Label, we'll look at the best whisky advertising money can't buy...because it's literally on the money!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20201025.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:59pm EST

John Glaser and his team at Compass Box Whisky Company are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. While Glaser has had his disagreements with the Scotch Whisky establishment over the years, he's gone from being a rebel to being one of the industry's most respected whisky makers. He'll join us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth to discuss the last 20 years of challenging hidebound traditions and what the future holds. In the news, The Macallan now has the distinction of having bottled the world's oldest single malt whisky with a new 78-year-old bottling that's part of the new Red Collection. We'll have that story and the rest of the week's whisky news, including details on the latest Midleton Very Rare release and an even rarer trophy bottling for this year's NBA champions.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20201018.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:58am EST

England's modern whisky scene only goes back to 2006, when the English Whisky Company started distilling at St. George's Distillery in Norfolk. Since then, it's grown by leaps and bounds, and the first-ever English Whisky Festival will take place this coming weekend online featuring 13 different distilleries. We'll look at not only the growth of England's whisky scene, but how Covid-19 has affected whisky bars and distillery tourism as Chris Ratcliff makes his debut on WhiskyCast as a contributor. In the news, surges in Covid-19 cases are forcing a return to restrictions on pub life around Europe, while bars in Texas can start reopening this week. Jack Daniel's has named its new master distiller - one with a link to the distillery's heritage. We'll also have a story about the legendary Booker Noe on Behind the Label and much more!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20201011.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:32am EST

Whisky is a universal drink, a pleasure that can be shared by all regardless of gender, color, national origin, disability, age (as long as one is legally old enough to drink), and so on. The trouble is, too many people still hold the stereotype of whisky drinkers as older, male, and White - and that includes some people within the whisky industry. While the recent Whisky Bible controversy brought the issue of diversity and inclusion in the world of whisky into the spotlight, the desire for change has been growing. This week, we'll bring you part of a panel discussion from The Whisky Show on the need to turn that desire for change into reality. The panelists were Tracie Franklin, the first participant in the Nearest and Jack Advancement Initiative's professional development program, Black Bourbon Society founder Samara Rivers, Sorel Artisanal Liquor founder and bartending guru Jackie Summers, and Becky Paskin of OurWhisky.com, while WhiskyCast's Mark Gillespie was the moderator. We'll also have the week's whisky news, including a major distillery expansion in Scotland, new whiskies from around the world, tasting notes, and October's Whisky Club of the Month.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20201004.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:15am EST

There are literally hundreds of old distillery sites around the eastern half of the United States dating back to the early colonial days. While their stories have largely been lost over time, bits and pieces still exist - and Nicolas Laracuente's mission is to uncover the artifacts, the stories behind them, and put them together in historical context. The "Bourbon Archaeologist" specializes in Kentucky's distilling history, from uncovering distillery ruins to researching the history of enslaved distillers in the pre-Civil War era, and he'll share some of his journey with us on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the Scotch Whisky Association is launching an industry-wide diversity and inclusion initiative that was in the works before the Jim Murray controversy hit the news a week ago. We'll look at the industry's response to allegations of sexism against the "Whisky Bible" author, along with some of your reactions as well.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200927.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:00pm EST

Every distillery is unique, but there's one in Australia that could redefine your concept of "unique." Belgrove Distillery is on Peter Bignell's farm near Kempton, Tasmania, and he not only grows the grain that goes into his whiskies - but he built the distillery himself, too. There's no other distillery quite like it, and we'll visit Belgrove on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, U.S. craft distillers may get caught in the political crossfire on Capitol Hill between budget talks, pandemic relief, the November election, and now...a Supreme Court confirmation fight. We'll have an update on the effort to extend federal excise tax relief for distillers past the end of this year. The Glenturret has unveiled its new single malts following an 18-month re-branding exercise under new management, while a Kentucky distillery is changing its name after just four years - to the name of the original distillery  that dates back to 1885. We'll have more whisky news, tasting notes, and a rare bit of commentary, too. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200920.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:47pm EST

Yeast is one of the three main ingredients in whisky, along with grain and water. While we understand what grain and water contribute to the taste of a whisky, yeast's contributions are far more mysterious. In fact, people were distilling whisky from fermented mash hundreds of years before scientists even figured out that yeast exists, let alone how it works. After our deep dive into the science of oak trees last month, we had requests to do something similar with yeast - and Indiana University biochemistry professor Matt Bochman joins us this week to help. His laboratory research involves studying yeast cells to unlock keys that may help us fight cancer and other diseases, but his informal research focuses on home brewing. He's also a consultant to brewers and distillers on fermentation issues, and shares his expertise with us on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Great Britain and the European Union are at odds over Brexit again. We'll also look at two new programs aimed at improving diversity in the whisky industry, and on Behind the Label, we'll have proof that not everything you may see about whisky on the Internet is true!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200913.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:54pm EST

Whisky and other alcoholic beverages are some of the most regulated consumer products in the world, and let's be honest...not all of those laws and regulations make a lot of sense. In fact, some of them might make you want to pour yourself a dram. Jarrett Dieterle of the R Street Institute in Washington, DC has compiled some of the finest examples of legislative legerdemain and matched them up with cocktail recipes in his new book, "Give Me Liberty, and Give Me a Drink!" He'll join us to explain just how we got to this point on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Jack Daniel's master distiller Jeff Arnett is stepping down for a new - but so far undisclosed job, while distillery managers on Islay are shuffling jobs without having to leave the island. We'll have details on how the Covid-19 pandemic and tariffs are affecting sales for Chivas Brothers, and distillers in Kentucky are putting their money behind their pledge to improve diversity in the industry.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200906.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:56pm EST

There are hundreds, if not thousands of species of trees around the world. Why is White Oak - whether from America or Europe, the preferred wood to use for whisky barrels? What makes it so special, and how do we protect the resource for future generations of whisky lovers? Forestry scientist Tom Kimmerer, PhD. is one of the leading experts on White Oaks, and was a guest on our #HappyHour webcast earlier this month. The reaction was so positive that we've brought him back to discuss White Oaks and their preservation on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, US-European trade talks on whiskies and other exports could be delayed by a Covid-19 scandal in Ireland, while that country's pubs remain closed with no targeted opening date in sight. We'll hear from Brent Elliott of Four Roses about this year's Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon and the rest of the week's new whiskies, too.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200830.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:39pm EST

It's been almost three years since Brown-Forman and the Conyngham family fired up the stills at Slane Distillery on the family's Slane Castle estate near Dublin. While their flagship Slane Irish Whiskey has been made using sourced whiskies since its debut in 2017, the day is coming closer when some of the distillery's own maturing whiskey will be blended into the final product. We'll check in with Alex Conyngham on the distillery's progress in a summer that would have normally been filled with visitors to the distillery and the estate, but it's become clear that 2020 is no normal year. In the news, the coronavirus pandemic continues to plague small-scale distillers in the U.S. with estimates of lost sales now reaching $700 million this year, and the past week also saw more cancellations of whisky events worldwide through the end of 2020. We'll also check the court dockets for updates on several cases involving the whisky industry, and there's a bright spot in the form of new whiskies coming from around the world.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200823.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:55am EST

Johnnie Walker is celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2020, and in all that time, there have been only six master blenders. Jim Beveridge is the latest in a line that goes all the way back to founder John Walker, and he leads the team that created four new whiskies for the anniversary. We'll talk with him on WhiskyCast In-Depth about the pressure of blending rare whiskies, setting up a blending lab at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, and which of Scotland's historic distilleries he'd choose to rescue if given a time machine. In the news, the Trump Administration is leaving tariffs on imported single malt whiskies from Scotland and Northern Ireland in place over the objections of whisky makers. We'll also look at the local economic impact in Bardstown, Kentucky following the decision to make this year's Kentucky Bourbon Festival a virtual event, along with updates on the week's new whiskies and a tribute to one of whisky's top distillers. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200816.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:14pm EST

This week saw upcoming whisky events in the U.S., England, Ireland, Canada, and Australia either postponed or cancelled outright as the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths continues to rise in many parts of the world. The list includes the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, the Whisky Show in London, and Whisky Live events in Dublin and Adelaide. The pandemic is forcing event organizers to take not only local health restrictions into account, but the bans many whisky makers have imposed on travel and participating in live events. As a result, some festivals are going virtual so whisky lovers can meet with distillers and brand ambassadors online safely, while others are trying to figure out protocols for holding in-person events safely. We'll have details on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the pandemic has already cost Diageo more than $2 billion in lost profits, with significant drops in its Scotch Whisky sales, while Woodford Reserve has rescheduled its annual Kentucky Derby charity Mint Julep campaign to go along with 2020's "fastest two minutes" in September sports.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200809.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:24am EST

There's something about whisky that brings out the passion in many people. For David Jennings, his passion for Wild Turkey led him to start a blog and then write what may well be the definitive story of Wild Turkey. His book "American Spirit: Wild Turkey Bourbon From Ripy to Russell" was published this summer and demand from other Wild Turkey lovers has forced his publisher to start working on a second print run. He'll join us to talk about what fueled that passion on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, there's a unified front against the import tariffs on whiskies in the U.S. and Europe. Unfortunately, it's the whisky makers on both sides of the Atlantic that are unified, while the politicians who will decide on whether those tariffs stay in place remain very much divided. We'll also update the disputes between politicians trying to get the Covid-19 pandemic under control and bar owners who face threats to their business from mandated closings. We'll also have a red tape story out of Ireland that may have you shaking your head, along with a Behind the Label that's just a bit corny (pun intended).

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200802.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:38am EST

Among horse racing enthusiasts, "pinhooking" is the name for investing in a young horse based solely on its pedigree and potential for success, then cashing in when the horse is mature and ready to race. If you can see the parallels between pinhooking with horses and with barrels of young whiskey, then you'll want to listen to our interview with Pinhook Whiskey co-founder Sean Josephs. 10 years ago when he was the owner of Char No. 4 in Brooklyn, he and his partners decided to start buying barrels of young whiskey to mature and bottle - and when they heard about pinhooking from a friend in the horse racing game, Sean realized they had their brand name. Earlier this summer, Pinhook released the first whiskeys distilled at Castle and Key since the historic distillery site reopened in 2017, and Sean will explain how they beat the distillery's owners to market. In the news, the Trump Administration's tariff on imports of single malt whiskies from Scotland and Northern Ireland is under review, but the damage to Scotch Whisky exports has already reached $250 million since the tariff took effect last October. We'll have the details, along with projections of dim prospects for removing that tariff before the November election. We'll also have the latest on new whiskeys, this week's tasting notes, and on Behind the Label, we'll find out why so many whiskey barrels used to be cut into half and turned into planters.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200726.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:12am EST

Tourism has become a major part of the Scotch Whisky industry, with two million people visiting distilleries in both 2018 and 2019. 2020, the "Year of the Pandemic," will be much different after distilleries had to shut down their visitors centers for nearly four months because of coronavirus-related public health restrictions. As of July 15, they can reopen with strict limits to prevent a flareup of new Covid-19 cases, but only a handful have put out the welcome mat so far. The Scotch Whisky Experience on Edinburgh's Royal Mile will not reopen until August 17, and we'll talk with Julie Trevisan Hunter about the issues she and her colleagues around Scotland are facing. In the news, the deadline for public comments on the Trump Administration's latest review of tariffs on single malts from Scotland and Northern Ireland is coming up this weekend. Juice boxes are a common sight for kids, but what about a "whisky box" for adults? That's a loosely-defined version of the paper-based "bottles" Diageo plans to test with Johnnie Walker whiskies next year, and we'll go Behind the Label to look at the Texas-grown barley used in the latest Balcones single malt.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200719.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:11am EST

Edinburgh's newest malt whisky distillery opened with a bang - or perhaps, a cough. That's because the Bonnington Distillery had barely filled its first few casks with new make spirit before the Covid-19 pandemic forced Halewood Wines & Spirits to close the place down for a deep cleaning to comply with public health restrictions. Bonnington is the home for Halewood's revival of the venerable John Crabbie & Co. Scotch Whisky brand, and we'll talk with Marc Watson on WhiskyCast In-Depth. He oversees distilling and maturation at Bonnington, and started his career making gin before a certain podcast episode prompted him to focus on whisky several years ago - he'll explain that story, too. In the news, South Africa is reviving its nationwide ban on alcohol sales as Covid-19 caseloads start to rise, and one of India's largest whisky distilleries could be affected by a lockdown that takes effect Tuesday while more U.S. states are closing bars again. We'll hear how one Kentucky distillery is trying to keep a Bourbon legend safe while still allowing visitors, and catch up with the results of a special raffle to support an Irish children's charity.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200712.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:47pm EST

Bars and pubs have reopened in some areas after lockdowns to prevent the spread of Covid-19, only to be closed again when the number of cases spikes as people try to resume a normal life that includes having a drink at the local pub. Public health officials see bars as a prime vector for the spread of the virus, and that will have a long-term impact on bar owners as well as their customers. H. Joseph Ehrlich has owned Elixir, the popular San Francisco whisky bar, for 17 years and is waiting for local and state officials to work out their differences before he reopens - though he already has plans in place to try and give his regulars something close to their pre-pandemic experience. We'll talk with him on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, pubs have now reopened in Ireland, England, and Northern Ireland as police say it's virtually impossible to ensure social distancing. We'll also have details on a new distillery project in Scotland that's moving ahead with construction after months of Covid-19 delays, the week's new whiskies, and something special - a song from the Whisky Bard himself, Robin Laing!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200705.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:59pm EST

Fred Noe became Jim Beam's seventh master distiller in 2007 when his father, the legendary Booker Noe, retired. 13 years later, he's getting closer to the day when he'll hand things over to his son Freddie - but the Covid-19 pandemic delayed his plans for a "farewell tour" with Freddie this year. Instead, Fred's been cooped up at home in Bardstown, Kentucky, wearing a mask when he leaves the house at the insistence of his family and hoping to be able to go on that tour of Australia and Europe next year. In the meantime, he and his team have revived the Beam family's Old Tub Bourbon brand for a limited-edition release celebrating the 225th anniversary of Jacob Boehm's first whiskey, along with a limited-edition 15-year-old Knob Creek Bourbon. We'll catch up with Fred Noe on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the trade war between the U.S. and Europe is heating up again while England prepares to reopen pubs this coming week as parts of the U.S. close bars as the pandemic flares up. We'll have the latest on new whiskies, say goodbye and thanks to a couple of retiring friends, and look at the way whisky barrels are stored on Behind the Label.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200628.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:48pm EST

It would have been easy for Chris and Shanelle Montana to close Du Nord Craft Spirits after arsonists set fire to the distillery's warehouse during riots in the wake of George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis Police four weeks ago. It would have been even easier after more arsonists set fire to their apartment building the next night. They underestimated the Montanas, who not only plan to rebuild their distillery, but their neighborhood as well - and have already raised more than $560,000 with a GoFundMe campaign to help other minority-owned businesses repair their damage and rebuild. We'll talk with Chris and Shanelle on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Sazerac is expanding its portfolio with the acquisition of Canadian Mist and Collingwood Canadian whiskies, the Canadian Mist Distillery in Ontario, and Early Times from Brown-Forman. As coronavirus fever begins to fade, tariff talk is back in Brussels and Washington, while Beam Suntory is reviving part of the Beam family's legacy as the company celebrates 225 years of making whiskey.

Direct download: WhiskyCastf_20200621.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:57pm EST

Recent protests over racism and police brutality against African-Americans have led to greater calls for diversity throughout American society, and the whisky industry is no exception. American whiskey’s history with diversity has not been a good one, going all the way back to the pre-Civil War era when many distilleries were run with enslaved labor – including the one owned by George Washington after his presidency. We’ll have details on several initiatives announced this week that focus on improving diversity and inclusion within the whisky industry, including plans for the Nearest Green School of Distilling at Tennessee’s Motlow State Community College that had been in the works for the past year. We’ll also talk with Black Bourbon Society founder Samara Rivers, who has just launched Diversity Distilled – with a goal of helping whisky companies recruit and develop African-American talent. We’ll also have the latest on Covid-19’s impact, including the postponement of this fall’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival and plans to gradually reopen pubs in the UK.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200614.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:34pm EST

This week, we'll wrap up our two-part tour of Gladfield Malt in New Zealand, where Gabi and Doug Mitchell have turned the family's barley farm into one of the country's leading malt suppliers. The Mitchells think a lot about the future, one in which they hope to see their three kids take on key roles in the family business. Gabi Mitchell will share that part of their story with us on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, fundraising campaigns for the Minneapolis distillery and its neighbors devastated by fires during the recent protests over police brutality have raised more than half a million dollars so far, while African-American Bourbon lovers are blasting one whiskey brand for posting racist comments online and other brands for staying silent on the issue. We'll also have the latest pandemic-related event news, including a possible change of plans for this September's Kentucky Bourbon Festival.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200607.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:54am EST

Malted barley is critical to the making of many whiskies around the world, and this week, we'll take you inside the malting process with a visit to New Zealand's Gladfield Malt. Gabi and Doug Mitchell founded the maltings 16 years ago as an outgrowth of the family's Gladfield Farm, and has become a key supplier of malted barley for the country's growing craft distilling industry. There's so much to learn that we'll be splitting the tour between this episode and next week's WhiskyCast. In the news, a Minneapolis distillery is in ruins after it was torched by rioters during protests against the death of George Floyd while in police custody, and the distillery's founder is vowing not only to rebuild, but will help his neighbors rebuild their businesses. Some distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail are making plans to reopen to the public for tours and tastings next week following coronavirus-related closings, while we'll also have the latest on new whiskies and much more.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200531.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:28pm EST

As governments start to relax lockdown restrictions in the fight against the Covid-19 virus, some distilleries are slowly starting to welcome the public back. While tours and tastings are still widely banned, Ireland's Teeling Whiskey Company opened the doors to its distillery shop and cafe this week, and we'll talk with Stephen Teeling about the decision and what it means to be able to get out of the house again. Meanwhile, at least four Kentucky distilleries have also opened their gift shops along with others in states with looser public health restrictions. However, Scotland's Glenfarclas Distillery will keep its visitors center in Speyside shuttered for the rest of 2020 to protect the health of distillery workers after one of its bottling hall workers died from the virus. We'll also have details on two whisky auctions to support those affected by the virus, along with the week's tasting notes and much more!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200524.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:35pm EST

As parts of the world begin to reopen following lockdowns to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, bars are likely to be among the last businesses allowed to reopen. The social nature of bars doesn't quite work in an era of social distancing, and that will mean major changes for bar owners - and patrons. Jon Taffer is the host of the reality show "Bar Rescue" and a longtime bar industry consultant. He's been thinking about what the post-pandemic future holds for bars, and it's not a pretty picture - as he tells us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, some distilleries are starting to distill again in Scotland, while Kentucky Bourbon Trail distilleries could start to see a few gift shops reopen this week. We'll also have some of your comments to our poll question on plastic bottles for whisky and a look at research that could make wheat more attractive for distillers in the future.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200517.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:39am EST

While world leaders have rightly been focused on the Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of climate change has its own long-term impact on the whisky community worldwide. This week, we'll look at two projects trying to create a sustainable climate for the whisky industry in the future. The "2100 Plan" is a project between the Kentucky Distillers Association and the state's universities to come up with solutions that solve sustainability issues, while Scotland's Bruichladdich Distillery has launched a program to make the entire distillery "carbon-neutral" by 2025. That project could use the waves that pound the Islay coast every day to generate power not only for Bruichladdich, but potentially meet most of the island's electrical demand. In the news, the U.S and Great Britain have started negotiations on a new free trade agreement, and whisky industry leaders want to make sure import tariffs on whiskies are removed as part of any deal. Covid-19 lockdowns don't appear to be ending for bar owners any time soon in Ireland, and this year's Irish Whiskey Awards have been cancelled because of the need for social distancing. We'll also look at a partnership in Texas between Balcones and one of the Lone Star State's legendary breweries and the debut later this month of the "Self Isolation Whisky Festival."

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200510.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:57pm EST

Whisky is what beer dreams of being when it grows up, but the Covid-19 pandemic has left craft brewers with tens of thousands of gallons of beer and no place to sell it with bars across the U.S. closed. Vermont's WhistlePig Farm has been working with brewers from as far away as Texas to give some of that beer a chance to fulfill a higher purpose: being distilled into whiskey! While we're approaching this from a humorous perspective, it's actually cheaper for the brewers and better for the environment to fill tanker trucks with their surplus beer and send it to Vermont than it would be to dump it into local sewer systems. WhistlePig distillery manager Emily Harrison and CEO Jeff Kozak join us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, a new survey shows nearly two out of three craft distillers are at risk of going out of business because of the economic impact from the pandemic. We'll have that story along with details on the week's new whiskies and much more, including our latest Whisky Club of the Month!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200503.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:17am EST

With tens of thousands of bar and restaurant workers around the world laid off because of mandatory bar and restaurant closings due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some bar owners are resorting to drastic measures to support their teams during the crisis. Bill Thomas of Washington, DC's Jack Rose Dining Saloon and his partners have been selling off the whiskey bar's legendary library of nearly 3,000 bottles - either by the full bottle or single-serving drams - while they evaluate their persona collections to see what makes the cut for the bar's wall when it reopens. We'll talk with Bill on WhiskyCast In-Depth, along with Meredith Meyer Grelli of Pittsburgh's Wigle Whiskey. She's performing the typical small business owner's chainsaw juggling routine of switching from distilling and a tasting room to e-commerce sales while trying to find out why her bank dropped the ball on processing Wigle's paperwork for a federal small business relief program. In the news, the rash of coronavirus-related whisky event cancellations is spreading to Kentucky, where some of this fall's major Bourbon events have already been cancelled while the Kentucky Bourbon Festival's new CEO is hoping to go ahead with Bardstown's big party. Bourbon Street in New Orleans will be quieter this July with the cancellation of Tales of the Cocktail, and in Scotland, police are investigating an attack by hackers that targeted a major online whisky auction this week.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200426.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:59am EST

The demand for Japanese whiskies has far outpaced the supply over the last five years, and entrepreneurs are taking advantage of a loophole in Japanese law big enough to sail a tanker ship through - as in a tanker ship full of whisky. There's nothing to stop a clever whisky maker from buying bulk whisky from distillers in other countries and shipping it to Japan, then bottling it as "Japanese Whisky." It's been a common - but not widely discussed - practice among Japan's whisky makers for many years, but with their reputations now on the line, industry and government are discussing how to implement a legal definition for Japanese whiskies. Liam McNulty, who blogs as "Whisky Richard" about Japanese whiskies, broke this story recently and will join us on WhiskyCast In-Depth with an explanation. In the news, we'll have the latest on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on whisky makers, including one who lost out on help from the U.S. government when its bank dropped the ball. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200419.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:17am EST

This is another in our series of special episodes during the coronavirus pandemic to help bring whisky lovers together while staying home, and comes from our live webcast on April 15, 2020. We revived the WhiskyCast Tasting Panel format for this webcast, and our panelists come from the world of IndyCar racing - where there are a number of Bourbon connoisseurs in the paddock. "Off Track with Hinch & Rossi" podcast hosts James Hinchcliffe and Alexander Rossi have had great success on the race track, where Rossi made his mark in history by winning the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2016. Together with their "Off Track" podcast producer Tim Durham, they joined Mark for a tasting of the vintage Ancient Ancient Age 10-year-old, Jim Rutledge's Cream of Kentucky 11.5-year-old, the Elijah Craig 21-year-old single barrel, and a Wyoming Whiskey single barrel bottled especially for the British Columbia provincial liquor stores.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200415.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:57pm EST

While we're all raising our glasses to honor the health care workers, first responders, and other essential workers risking their lives during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Uncle Nearest Tennessee Whiskey founder Fawn Weaver is doing something else to help them. For the last couple of months, she's been spending thousands of dollars to buy much-needed N95 respirator masks on the open market at highly inflated prices - and giving them away to those essential workers around the United States. Shipping those masks has kept all of her workers employed, and she's also hiring new employees that have been laid off by other companies. She'll explain her reasoning on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, major whisky companies are projecting sharp sales declines worldwide because of the pandemic, while more events are being pushed back until later this year or cancelled outright. We'll have the details, and we'll also pay tribute to a longtime friend we lost this week.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200412.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:25am EST

Spain's tonelerias supply the Sherry-seasoned casks that help give some whiskies their unique character, but those casks are increasingly in demand by whisky makers worldwide. Rafa Cabello is a second-generation master cooper and the CEO of his family's Toneleria del Sur cooperage in Montilla, Spain - and he's become the go-to supplier in Spain for many American craft distillers. One of his clients is Seattle's Westland Distillery, and we spent some time with Rafa Cabello there during the recent World Whisky Forum. You'll hear our conversation on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the unions representing many Scotch Whisky workers are fighting attempts to restart production while the UK remains in a COVID-19 lockdown, while the one state that shut down liquor sales during the pandemic is having problems bringing online sales...well, on line. We'll also have the winners of two recent whisky competitions and name this month's Whisky Club of the Month.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200405.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:09am EST

There's still a lot left to discover about whisky, even though the "water of life" has been around for centuries. Scientists are still unlocking the mysteries of whisky, and we'll meet a couple of them on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. Seth DeBolt is the director of the Beam Institute at the University of Kentucky, and is leading a project to decode the DNA sequences that make up the genome of Quercus Alba, the American White Oak tree that many of the world's whisky makers depend on. We'll also talk with Stuart Williams of the University of Louisville's engineering school about his development of a new technique for "fingerprinting" Bourbons - and it's one you can replicate at home (though it may not be appropriate for your kid's science fair project)! We'll also have the latest details on the COVID-19 pandemic and how it's affecting the whisky industry, along with a look at why pot stills may make great whisky, but lousy hand sanitizer. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200329.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:15am EST

The global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic took full hold on the whisky industry this week, as governments not only shut down bars and limited restaurants to take-out and delivery service, but imposed more bans on large public gatherings such as whisky festivals and even closed liquor stores in at least one U.S. state. That's led to tens of thousands of layoffs throughout the hospitality industry globally and economic stimulus programs aimed at mitigating some of the impact. We'll take a look at the big picture and a close-up view as well, including one Minneapolis distillery where the entire tasting room staff was laid off this week. Chris Montana of Du Nord Craft Spirits is still trying to keep production going while also fielding calls from his colleagues around the U.S. as president of the American Craft Spirits Association. Spirits producers have already donated nearly $2 million to help laid-off bartenders and bar workers, and we'll find out where that money is going and how you can help as well.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200322.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:13pm EST

Since so many people are working from home, "self-isolating" or more because of the coronavirus crisis, we've decided to produce some extra content to help you pass the time. Earlier this month during DramFest 2020 in Christchurch, New Zealand, WhiskyCast's Mark Gillespie took part in a panel discussion on "the past and future of whisky" with veteran whisky writer Charles Maclean, Michael Fraser Milne of the Whisky Galore shop in Christchurch, and moderator Dave Broom. Their hour-long discussion is a bit too long for one of our regular episodes, but we thought you might enjoy listening to it on its own. The panel covered everything from the collapse of the Scotch Whisky industry in the early 80's to what the future holds given the combination of a growing craft distilling movement, global politics, and climate change. Thanks to Michael and Stella Fraser Milne of Whisky Galore and DramFest 2020 for helping to make this special episode possible, along with the sound crew at Christchurch Town Hall and the staff at Whisky Galore.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200318.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:47pm EST

Louise McGuane wants to revive a key part of Irish Whiskey's past, but she keeps wrestling with its present-day form in a bid to change the future of Ireland's whiskey industry. The Chapel Gate Whiskey Co. founder has become one of Irish Whiskey's most outspoken voices in recent years and recently spoke at the World Whisky Forum in Seattle. WhiskyCast is the only place where you'll be able to hear her comments on this St. Patrick's week...a week in which the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic has forced Ireland's legendary pubs to close, along with bars and distillery visitor centers around the world. We'll have the details in this week's news, along with updates on whisky festivals and other events cancelled or postponed by the pandemic. We'll also honor longtime Bruichladdich legend Duncan McGillivray, who passed away this past week.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200315.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:36am EST

This week, we're on location at Whisky Galore's DramFest 2020 in Christchurch, New Zealand! They've been making whisky in New Zealand since the first Scottish settlers arrived, but after the country's one remaining distillery closed in the early 90's, New Zealanders had to import almost all of their whisky. That changed a few years ago with the growth of a farm-based distilling industry that's a return to the days when farmers turned their crops into whisky.  We'll take a look at this resurgence on WhiskyCast In-Depth, taste a few local whiskies, and get some perspective from whisky lovers in Your Voice. In our Behind the Label segment, we'll meet a Christchurch businessman with a unique hobby - he's amassed one of the world's largest collections of Jim Beam memorabilia!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200308.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:09am EST

If you just needed a whisky-related reason to visit Iceland, we have one for you on this week's episode. Eimverk Distillery grew out of the dreams of two brothers who just wanted to be farmers, but found it was cheaper to import grain for cattle feed than grow it themselves. There was also some whisky involved, as Eimverk production manager Eva Mariá Sigursbjörnsdóttir explains on WhiskyCast In-Depth. There were also some sheep involved in at least part of the process, since one of Eimverk's whiskies is smoked not with peat - but with sheep dung! We'll have tasting notes for it, too. In the news, the coronavirus outbreak could cost Diageo as much as £200 million in profits this year and other whisky makers are preparing for losses of their own. The University of Kentucky is not only building an on-campus distillery in Lexington, but a million-dollar donation this week will fund construction of a new barrel "dormitory" as well. We'll have that story and look at how the mavericks at Brewdog are already ruffling feathers in the Scotch Whisky industry. Finally, if you've ever wondered why the hoops on whisky barrels are covered with rust, we'll explain on Behind the Label.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200301.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:26pm EST

There's an old saying that "sometimes, you choose the whisky business...and sometimes, it chooses you." That could be said for Victoria Eady-Butler, who retired last year after 31 years in federal law enforcement. As it turns out, the great-great granddaughter of Nathan "Nearest" Green inherited some of her ancestor's talent. She was the first member of the Green family to pick barrels for the Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch whiskey last year, and was so good at it that she's started a second career as the master blender for Uncle Nearest. She's also made a place for herself in the history books as the first African-American woman to serve as master blender for an American whiskey brand. In the news, another milestone in whisky collecting has fallen with the first million-dollar bid for a whisky in an online auction. We'll have the details, along with highlights from this week's World Whisky Forum in Seattle, the Distilled Spirits Council's conference in Louisville, and a bunch of ba-a-a-ad puns around Ardbeg's latest limited edition release. Yes, we're a bit sheepish about that!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200223.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:11pm EST

This week on WhiskyCast, we're sharing a special story of strength. Not the kind of strength one can build in the gym, but the inner strength that comes from within. Una Green is the West Coast brand ambassador for the Dewar's single malts, and a year ago last week, she received the kind of news no one ever wants to hear from a doctor - a diagnosis of breast cancer. That inner strength - and the support from her friends and co-workers - helped her manage the pain of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and all of the side effects. Now cancer-free, she's preparing to return to work after spending this week in Denver for the latest round of Speed Rack's ninth season. Una took part in the national bartending competition for women a couple of years ago, and has made it her goal to help support Speed Rack and its mission of raising money for breast cancer programs. We'll talk with her on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the Trump Administration is holding firm on single malt Scotch Whisky tariffs for now while trade talks continue with the European Union. There's new data showing just how much the U.S. and EU tariffs have cost whisky makers on both sides of the Atlantic, while Kentucky saw a record-breaking number of Bourbon tourists in 2019. We'll also take a look at just how the bottling strength of a whisky can affect its flavor on Behind the Label.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200216.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:18pm EST

World leaders will be in Glasgow later this year for the United Nations COP26 Climate Change Conference, and Scotch Whisky industry leaders plan to be ready. Not with drams, but with plans for a second decade of adapting whisky production to the needs of the changing climate while not ruining the whisky. The Scotch Whisky Association released its first environmental progress plan in 2009, and is now reviewing progress over the last decade with a goal of setting even more ambitious targets for the future. We'll talk with CEO Karen Betts as part of our year-long look at the impact of climate change on whisky around the world.

In the news, the coronavirus outbreak in China is starting to have an impact on whisky-related events and travel - and there are fears that it could lead to lower whisky sales in the Asia-Pacific region. Ian Macleod Distillers has unveiled the first new Rosebank single malts since plans to reopen the distillery were announced. We'll have the details and an update on construction at the distillery, along with the rest of the week's whisky news and more!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200209.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:27am EST

The whisky industry has become collateral damage in the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and the European Union, with tit-for-tat trade tariffs making life miserable for whisky companies on both sides. This week, the Scotch Whisky Association estimated annual lost exports from the U.S. tariff on single malts could reach £100 million, and industry leaders are presenting a united front to demand that politicians on both sides work toward resolving the dispute. We'll have an in-depth report on this week's WhiskyCast, along with the rest of the week's news. We'll also announce  February's Whisky Club of the Month and take a look at why some whiskies can smell like burned matches on Behind the Label. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200202.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:31pm EST

Is making whisky an art or a science? In "The Amber Light," filmmaker Adam Park makes the argument that Scotch Whisky is an art as important to Scottish culture as writing, music, and other creative endeavours. Park worked in collaboration with veteran whisky writer Dave Broom, who stars in the film and wrote the screenplay. He joined us for this week's WhiskyCast from Santa Barbara, California, where "The Amber Light" had its North American premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. In the news, no new tariffs this week - but the aftermath of Brexit later this week could create even more concerns for whisky lovers. For Australian whisky makers, fires and drought remain very real concerns that make politics look minor - and Aussie distillers are teaming up to help rural communities affected by that country's devastating bush fires. We'll have details on the upcoming Aussie Spirit Auction and how you can take part.

“The Amber Light” Brings Scotch Whisky to the Big Screen”

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200126.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:05pm EST

This week, we're in Victoria, British Columbia for one of the world's best whisky festivals, the 15th annual Victoria Whisky Festival! This year's event also included the 10th anniversary of the Canadian Whisky Awards, and we'll hear from some of the top winners along with other highlights from Victoria on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, whisky industry leaders from Scotland and the U.S. spent much of the week in Washington trying to persuade Trump Administration officials to ease off on a trade tariff targeting whisky imports from Scotland and Northern Ireland. We're already starting to see some of the initial impact from the tariff on Scotch Whisky producers, with word that some smaller companies may be pulling out of one of the world's largest export markets because of the trade dispute between the U.S. and the European Union. That's just one of the stories we'll bring you on this special episode of WhiskyCast from the Victoria Whisky Festival.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200119.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:03am EST

Over the course of this year, we'll be looking at the many ways climate change could affect whisky makers - and whisky lovers. Since whisky always starts with the grain, that's where we'll start - and grain farmers are clearly seeing the impact of climate change. So-called "100-year floods" are now an annual occurrence for farmers in the U.S. Midwest's grain belt along the rivers that flow into the Mississippi River, which is already approaching flood stage from Missouri to Louisiana this week. We'll talk with Dr. Chad Lee of the University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture, who's tracking crop and climate change issues affecting whisky makers and the world at large. In the news, this could be a pivotal week for whisky makers hoping to avoid an escalation in the trade dispute between the U.S. and the European Union. We'll have that story, along with details on the first new whiskies of 2020 and much more. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200112.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:50pm EST

The last decade was one of progress for women in the whisky industry, with more women than ever working as distillers and blenders. The real change is that women distillers are rarely viewed as a novelty now compared to the past, and we'll hear from three of them this week. Recently retired Michter's master distiller Pam Heilmann, Jeptha Creed's Joyce Nethery, and Widow Jane's Lisa Wicker were panelists at a recent Bourbon Salon discussion with Bourbon Hall of Fame historian Michael Veach at Louisville's Oxmoor Farm, and we'll have part of their conversation on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, local officials have given the green light to Diageo's plans for reviving the Port Ellen Distillery, while the backers of another proposed Islay distillery went back to the drawing board to overcome local objections to their project.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200105.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:33pm EST