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Will There Be Original MGP Whisky Bottlings In The Future?

by Oliver Klimek on October 22, 2015

Today The Spirits Business reports that MGP is investing $16+ million to double their warehouse capacity. For those of you who don’t know, MGP is the former Seagram’s distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, a massive plant that produces whisky for many customers.

So far all MGP whisky is sold to other companies, from industry giants to small Non Distiller Producers (NDPs) who don’t operate a distillery on their own.

But the Spirits Business article also contains a very intreresting quote from MGP CEO Gus Griffin:

“This investment allows us to expand our ability to mature product for both our customers and our own future needs.”

The most likely own future need will certainly not be dumping the whisky into the Ohio River.

At this year’s Tales of the Cocktail n New Orleans I attended a most interesting seminar hosted by Fred Minnick that was called “The Audacity of Sourced Whiskey”. One of the panelists was David Dykstra, MGP’s Vice President of Alcohol Sales and Marketing. In his presentation he (probably unintentionally) hinted to possible MGP branded bottlings in the future as well.

So it appears we can indeed look forward to original bottlings of MGP whisky in a not too distant future. Despite being a huge distilling complex, MGP knows how to make very good whisky, so this should be very interesting.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff October 30, 2015 at 7:35 pm

“This investment allows us to expand our ability to mature product for both our customers and our own future needs.” – so does age actually matter to whisky or not? If it does, well, then doesn’t age belong on the label, and shouldn’t people who claim to know whisky all be saying this loud and clear, and, if it doesn’t, don’t these same people have a case to make for industry behaviour that, thus far, the industry has been unable to make for itself? Forget its “tradition”, or whether lying about whisky can be “a smart business move if done properly”, is NAS a scam and does it stand against consumer interests for its dishonesty alone? Worrying about little “secrets and scandals” here and there continues to miss the elephant in the room, Oliver: NAS is bullshit and is a lie about the nature of whisky maturation, physics and the supposedly magical power of labeling. Age matters to ALL whisky – it’s NOT “label dependent”.

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Tom K October 31, 2015 at 6:48 pm

Re: NAS, U.S. straight whiskey is probably better compared to blended Scotch whisky than single malt. Bourbon is already sold as young as the distillers want to (by law at least 4 years for NAS straight boutbon). If they want to sell something even younger at a higher price point, they’re going to have to come up with a reason. They might have a “Special Reserve” or “Distiller’s Select” or some such, but there’s no need for that to be worse than the base expression when they can skim the top off the base without many people noticing.

The margins, I suppose, are in those brands that have customarily used, say, 6-8 y.o. bourbon for their base NAS expression; they can, if they choose, start selling much younger bourbon without changing a thing on the label, including the price tag, thereby freeing up the better and older barrels that would have been blended in ten years ago for the “Special Select” at twice the cost. Not sure what to do about that now, since they’ve never claimed (in a legally binding way) to be selling anything other than whiskey that’s at least 4 years old.

If it’s American and it’s not straight whiskey, then caveat emptor.

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Jeff November 2, 2015 at 12:00 am

Sorry, still doesn’t answer the question: does age matter to WHISKY or not, NOT to marketing campaigns or anyone’s bottom line. CAN the influence of age maturation actually BE magically label dependent, varying with whether anyone is using it for a selling point (age matters with this product, but not with that one). If it’s all “caveat emptor”, then one of the PRIMARY things people need to be “beware” of is producers concealing valid production information for their own purposes – and it WOULD BE NICE if “experts” would say this as well.

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Tom K October 31, 2015 at 6:51 pm

Oh, and to Oliver’s question, have you heard about Metze’s Select? http://www.mgpingredients.com/news-and-press/news-releases/MGP-Introduces-Metzes-Select-Limited-Edition-Indiana-Straight-Bourbon-Whiskey-317801921.html

6000 bottles, but it’s a start (or, technically, a second step after their even more limited 2014 festival release).

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Jeff November 3, 2015 at 11:57 am

Oh, and to my question – it makes yours completely irrelevant by comparison.

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