Distiller’s Friday Roundup – June 8th, 2018

June 8, 2018

A lot happened this week. There were whisk(e)y releases. Kentucky announced a new law called Bourbon without Borders concerning the shipping of bourbon. Speymalt is building a new distillery. Justify has a chance at the Triple Crown, so you should probably make a bourbon cocktail. Oh, and Belvedere’s Polish distillery is leading the way in sustainable distillation. Good stuff. It’s Friday, everyone. Grab a dram and toast the weekend!

Bourbon without Borders

The news: On June 1st, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, signed Kentucky House Bill 400 into law. The new law, which is being referred to as “Bourbon without Borders”, will now allow visitors to Kentucky to ship 4.5 litres of spirits and four cases of wine per person when they visit a distillery or winery.

It also allows for visitors to join spirits or wine clubs to receive shipments of products from Kentucky.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signs Kentucky House Bill 400 / Photo Credit: Courier-Journal

According to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA), more than 70% of distillery visitors come from out of state, and nearly 90% purchase a bottle during their trip, but until now haven’t been able to ship them home.

Our take: This is great news! Well, that is if you live in Nebraska, North Dakota or a handful of other states that actually allow direct shipments of liquor. Otherwise you still aren’t able to ship your bourbon home. To be fair, that’s not Kentucky’s fault. Hopefully more states will work to change their laws to allow for direct shipments of distilled spirits soon, because I don’t think I’m cut out for the winters in North Dakota.

Speymalt’s new distillery at Craggan

The news: You may not have heard of Speymalt, but you’ve certainly heard of the companies they own: Benromach and Gordon & MacPhail. Speymalt announced this week that the company has chosen the town of Craggan at Grantown-on-Spey, in the Scottish Cairngorms National Park, to build a brand new distillery.

So far there are no details available about the plans for the distillery, which will be presented this summer with construction slated to begin in 2019.

“It’s a stunning location with strong transport links and can accommodate the distillery, warehousing and a visitor experience. The Cairngorms are a beautiful part of the world and we aim to design a distillery which will be in keeping with this wonderful landscape” said Ewen Mackintosh, Managing Director of Speymalt.

Our take: What’s not to love about more Scotch whisky coming into the world, and from a company with such a stellar track record? Obviously we’ll be keeping a close eye on the mail for our invitations to the distillery’s opening in 2020. We’re looking at you, Mr. Mackintosh.

The Belmont Stakes has a cocktail

The news: This Saturday, June 9th, is the Belmont Stakes. If you follow horse racing—or you’re just vaguely aware of the sport because you like mint juleps and events that celebrate bourbon—then you might know that Justify has the chance of winning the Triple Crown, the title awarded to the horse that wins the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.

Woodford Reserve has been named the official bourbon of this year’s Belmont Stakes, and in celebration they’ve put together a signature cocktail for the race. If you’d like to follow along at home, here’s how you can make the Belmont Jewel:

The Woodford Reserve Belmont Jewel cocktail / Photo Courtesy of Woodford Reserve

Belmont Jewel Recipe


– 1.5 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
– 2 oz Lemonade
– 1 oz Pomegranate Juice
– Orange zest

Making the drink:

Shake vigorously with ice and serve in a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Our take: The three races needed to win the triple crown have been around since 1875. But in that time only 12 horses have ever managed to win it. If you don’t think that a chance to possibly witness history, mixed with a great excuse to make a delicious cocktail is reason enough to tune in, then I can’t help you.

Belvedere’s Polish distillery turns 108 years young

The news: Last Wednesday, May 30th, Polmos Zyrardów, the Polish distillery that makes world-famous Belvedere Vodka, turned 108 years old.

The distillery is especially notable as it recently received a grant from the European Union to further its sustainability agenda. Belvedere Cares is a platform dedicated to the conservation of energy during the distillation process. This is achieved by shifting fuel sourcing from oil to natural gas. The brand has been able to reduce CO2 emissions by 42% since 2012 per liter of spirit produced. They hope to use this grant to cut emissions even further by 80% to become one of the greenest distilleries in the world.

Our take: A commitment to sustainability and significantly decreasing emissions while continuing to produce highly decorated vodka is something to be celebrated. Whether you’re a fan of this vodka, or any vodka for that matter, this is exciting.

New Booze Time

Nikka From The Barrel is coming to the USA

Just announced this week: Nikka From The Barrel is coming to the USA this month. And the kicker, you ask? Nikka is upping the size from 500ml to 750ml. With so much attention on the dwindling supplies of Japanese whisky in the States, this is welcome news.

Nikka From The Barrel is drawn from a blend of more than 100 different batches of malt and grain whisky produced at the brand’s Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries.

King of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

King of Kentucky Bourbon gets a reboot

Brown-Forman is releasing a brand new bourbon based on an old name, King of Kentucky. The bourbon hits shelves at the end of June 2018. The very first release will be a very limited 14 year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon.

King of Kentucky was established in 1881 and was originally a Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Brown-Forman later purchased the brand in 1936 from Selected Kentucky Distillers, then converted it to a blended whiskey, eventually discontinuing it in 1968.

The plan is for King of Kentucky to be an annual release of a single barrel inventory and feature a barrel-strength, minimally-filtered proof whiskey.

This first release will produce approximately 1,000 bottles and carry a suggested retail price of $199. Bad news for anyone outside of Kentucky, though, as the first release will only be available in that state. I guess if you live in North Dakota you could always fly down and ship a bottle home.

That’s it for this Friday Roundup! From everyone here at Distiller, have a wonderful weekend.


Distiller’s Friday Roundup is a look at everything that happened this week around the spirits world. New bottles, big announcements, breaking news, and more. Always informative, sometimes serious, and never boring. Hopefully.

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