Mon, 30 March 2020
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.
Sun, 22 March 2020
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.
Wed, 18 March 2020
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.
Mon, 16 March 2020
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.
Sun, 8 March 2020
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!