Distiller’s Friday Roundup – July 23, 2021By Amanda Schuster
Greetings, spirits fans! Are you tired of the same old, same old?
Well, this is a pretty wild week in booze news. The theme of the week is innovation. Coincidentally, all of the spirits we are featuring are about new points of view, or finding new directions.
In whiskey news, Brough Brothers Distillery, the first commercially licensed Black-owned distillery in Kentucky, has opened to the public. In Texas, Balcones has a new single malt with a theme of exploration called Balcones Pilgrimage.
Meanwhile, Calirosa Tequila is debuting with two expressions matured in California red wine barrels. This includes a blanco tequila which is quite unusual.
Over at Phillips Distilling, they have clearly spent quite a lot of time thinking about very specific consumer profiles. This has prompted the launch of UV Vodka (in a bottle that changes color when exposed to sunlight), Cubist (a vodka meant to be stored in the freezer) and the relaunch of Revel Stoke whiskeys with new flavor names aimed at Zillenials.
But let’s get started with a doozy of a summer sweepstakes. Read on how you can win a luxury trip to Tokyo in 2022, courtesy of Suntory Toki!
The House of Suntory Launches “Toki Highball Summer” With First-Ever Trip To Tokyo Contest
The House of Suntory — makers of Yamazaki, Hibiki and Suntory Toki Japanese whiskies — has kicked off “Toki Highball Summer” with the #SuntoryTime “Next Stop: Tokyo” social media contest. For the first time ever, the company is offering a chance for one ridiculously lucky fan and a guest to win a trip to Tokyo to sip authentic highball cocktails made with Suntory Whisky right at the source. For those concerned, please note the trip will take place in 2022 only after leisure travel from the U.S. to Japan is deemed safe.
The #SuntoryTime contest is designed to celebrate the Highball, the three-ingredient cocktail that originated in the “Torys” pubs known for after-work gatherings in Tokyo in the 1950s. Since then, Japanese bartenders have perfected the art of the Highball. They pay meticulous attention to details such as pinpointing the perfect balance of crisp carbonation and flavor to serving at ice-cold temperatures for maximum refreshment. Suntory Highballs are now a staple outside of Japan. In fact some bars around the world now even serve them on draft from signature Suntory Toki Highball machines. As a result, this helps bartenders achieve that balance of ice-cold whisky and strong carbonation straight from the tap.
“This summer, all eyes will be on Tokyo and we’re thrilled to offer fans of Suntory Whisky Toki the chance to experience first-hand the birthplace our incredible blended Japanese Whisky and its signature cocktail, the famous Toki Highball,” says Jon Potter, managing director for the House of Suntory. “We can’t wait to see how our fans will get creative with their own takes on the Suntory Experience as they enter the contest on Instagram.”
How to Enter
To enter, US residents 21 and older can post a photo on Instagram of their own “Suntory Time” experience with a Toki Highball Summer cocktail, along with a creative caption highlighting their experience and tagging @SuntoryToki. Entries will be judged on creativity and originality of the photo, photographic quality and creativity of the caption. The full list of rules and regulations can be found here.
The Grand Prize winner will receive an immersive trip for two to Tokyo that includes five days and four nights at a luxury resort, a tour of the Yamazaki Distillery, invitations to exclusive Suntory Toki events, and a cash stipend of $2,500. Additionally, fifty first prize winners will receive a Suntory Time Highball Kit. Included in the kit are two highball mugs, ice mold, Japanese peeler, cocktail jigger and bar spoon to make their own ultimate Toki Highball Summer cocktail. Contest submissions close on August 14, 2021. Unfortunately, no alcohol will be awarded as part of the prize.
In addition to entering the “Next Stop: Tokyo” contest for a chance to win, fans are invited to follow along for all things celebrating highball culture at the website hub to see photos, recipes, demo videos, custom Suntory Highball art made by Tokyo based illustrator Tatsuro Kiuchi, and even a highball-inspired Spotify playlist.
To make a Toki Highball Summer Cocktail:
-1 part Suntory Whisky Toki
-3 parts soda water
Fill a glass with large ice blocks or spear to chill. Add Toki, stir to cool whisky and glass. Add soda water, and use a spoon to lift the ice for ultimate carbonation. Garnish with grapefruit peel (optional).
Toki Highball machine /Photo Credit: Beam Suntory
Distiller Partners with Whiskies of the World for a Virtual Masterclass
Explore must-try drams of the season and uncover some of your new favorite whiskeys with W.O.W Them at Home, a limited-edition whiskey masterclass hosted by Distiller and Whiskies of the World. This 1 hour at-home tasting event is led by 10 of the top craft distillers and whiskey experts across the US. Your ticket also comes with 10 sipping samples in a souvenir box along with a tasting glass (shipping included). Plus, as a Distiller user you will receive an extra discount on tickets to the September 30th event. Distiller Pro members will receive an additional discount via email.
When: Thursday, September 30, 2021 5:30pm PST / 8:30pm EST
Your Exclusive Discount Codes
Take 15% off the price of one kit: Distiller15
Take 30% off the price of a two kit package: Distiller30 (only available through this link)
See the full tasting lineup and buy tickets here.
Are you a Distiller Pro member? Distiller Pro members will receive different codes for 20-40% off via email plus an additional discount on all upcoming Whiskies of the World live events. New Distiller Pro members will receive their codes a few minutes after signing up via email. Sign up here.
These events sell out quickly, so don’t wait! Sales end on September 20th or when sold out.
Not Available In The Following Markets: AL, AK, AR, DE, HI, IA, ID, MD (Montgomery County only), ME, MI, MN, MS, MT, NH, NC, OH, OR, PA, UT, VT, VA, WV, WY. Fee of $6.60 added per kit.
Whiskies of the World x Distiller’s W.O.W Them at Home
Calirosa Debuts In the U.S. With a Line of Tequilas Aged in California Red Wine Barrels
Calirosa has launched in the U.S. this week with Rosa Blanco and Añejo expressions. The Rosa Blanco is finished for 30 days in barrels that once held California red wine, imparting the liquid with a pink hue — so yes, one can call it a rosé tequila! Comparatively, the Añejo is aged in red wine barrels for eighteen months, producing more of a rose goldish copper color.
According to the press release, the tequilas are produced by the Real family at their Kosher-Certified facilities in Amatitán, Jalisco where they have been producing tequila since 1942. The production team consists of Real family patriarchs, Don Roberto and Don Fernando Real and Master Distiller Luis Trejo Rodriguez, a third-generation tequila maker with more than 30 years of industry experience. The tequilas are said to be produced using small batch production methods from agave cultivation through to the bottling process.
The tequila industry standard is agave with 22-24% sugar content. However, Calirosa is made from 100% Blue Weber agave — harvested after 7-9 years of maturation — that contains over 26% sugar content. To begin with, the agave is cooked slowly in brick ovens and fermented for up to 50 hours. Then it is twice-distilled and aged in California red wine barrels. Finally, the product is then bottled and labeled with screen printed UV-cured ink that is free of toxins.
Calirosa Rosa Blanco and Añejo Tequilas are bottled at 40% ABV with a suggested price of $49 and $74 respectively. They are available online and in select retailers across 14 states, with further expansion expected in the coming months.
Calirosa tequilas /Photo Credit: Calirosa
Balcones Distilling Unveils Pilgrimage as Newest American Single Malt Whisky
This week Balcones Distilling announced the latest addition to its lineup of American single malts with Balcones Pilgrimage. The expression joins Balcones Distilling’s single malt portfolio, which includes Balcones Lineage, Balcones No. 1 Texas Single Malt and Balcones Mirador among others.
The name is intended, according to the press release, “as a tribute to both the journeys we are all on and the travelling companions we explore and wander with.” There will be different Pilgrimage releases rolling out, and each one will reflect different aspects of the theme of exploration. The first Pilgrimage expression is made with Golden Promise malted barley and aged in used whiskey casks. It is then finished in Sauternes dessert wine barrels.
“We take great pride in our American single malts and the meticulous effort it takes to make each and every one of them unique,” said Jared Himstedt, head distiller of Balcones Distilling. “Pilgrimage is an ode to the whisky journey we’ve been on, and we look forward to seeing where the journey takes us from here.”
Balcones Pilgrimage is bottled at 58.5% ABV and retails for $79.99. It is available for purchase in Texas and at the Balcones distillery in Waco.
Balcones Pilgrimage /Photo Credit: Balcones
Brough Brothers Distillery Opens its Doors To The Public in Historic Grand Opening
Brough Brothers Distillery, the first and only Black-owned distillery in the State of Kentucky’s history, has opened to the public!
The distillery is led by Kentucky’s first Black Master Distiller, Bryson Yarbrough along with his brothers Christian and Victor — all born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. They distill a proprietary mash of corn, rye and barley, with the capacity to produce one barrel a week. According to the press release, most of the first barrels to be released will be aged for a minimum of one year in order to meet the Kentucky Bourbon designation.
“As Louisville’s Congressman and the Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Bourbon Caucus, I’m thrilled to help celebrate the grand opening of Brough Brothers Distillery in West Louisville,” says Congressman John Yarmuth. “Black Louisvillians have been involved in distilling for centuries, and the Yarbrough family’s work to build this company from the ground up is a tremendous step forward in making the distilled spirits industry more reflective of our nation, our city, and our people. Louisville is lucky to have Kentucky’s first Black-owned distillery call the Park Hill neighborhood home, and you don’t have to look any further than a Brough Brothers bottle to see the love Victor, Bryson, and Chris have for our hometown. Cheers to them!”
In April, Brough Brothers Distillery became the 42nd member — and 24th craft-level member — of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. It became the first Black-owned and operated facility to join KDA since the organization was founded in 1880. Its goal is to produce quality bourbon in an industry that’s historically been out of reach to minority entrepreneurs.
Brough Brothers Bourbon is now distributed in the U. in 25 states.
Brough Brothers Bourbon /Photo Credit: Brough Brothers
Phillips Distilling Upgrades Packaging And Introduces New Vodka Brand
Phillips Distilling Company, which has existed for more than 100 years, has announced a packaging makeover.
According to the press release, beginning this month, UV Vodka will have a new “photochromic bottle design that activates a bright spectrum of colors when exposed to UV sunlight.” When the bottle is no longer in sunlight, a black UVR logo will remain while the colors disappear.
Why is Phillips making a sunlight activated bottle? Apparently the brand learned that “according to CTI research, sunlight-activated ink drives purchase intent for 64% of consumers.”
Phillips Distilling Company is also introducing Cubist, which the brand is referring to as “Freezer Vodka.” The product will test market in Minnesota and Arizona in August 2021 with an expanded launch in 2022.
Why is Phillips doing this? More consumer data, in which the brand gathered that vodka drinkers prefer vodka ice cold. Hence why so many vodka drinkers store it in the freezer. Phillips says it’s the first distillery to create a vodka that is specifically designed to be stored in the freezer. When the vodka is at what they’ve determined as the perfect temperature — at or below zero degrees Celsius — “the thermochromic technology activates the bottle to turn blue which notifies the drinker it’s ready.”
Cubist is bottled at 40% ABV and will be available in a 750 mL bottle for an SRP of $24.99.
Flavored Whiskeys for Zillenials
But wait, there’s more! Phillips is relaunching its Revel Stoke flavored whiskeys in September, featuring a new tagline “Stoke Your Wild.” Apparently this redo is aimed at marketing to “Zillennial” men ages 21-34 years old. The products will have new flavor names such as “Nutcrusher Peanut Butter,” “Hotbox Cinnamon,” “SonofaPeach,” and “Lei’d Roasted Pineapple.”
Revel Stoke flavored whiskeys /Photo Credit: Phillips Distilling
Looking for more whiskeys to put in your highballs this summer?
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