The Chuck Cowdery Blog
Here’s something to consider that’s both old and brand new. It’s called Medley Brothers Bourbon. It is from Charles Medley and his child, Sam, who’ve been producing Wathen’s Single Barrel for approximately 15 years now. Charles is the child of Wathen Medley, who’s second from the right on the label above. 25. The label is virtually the same as their label from the 1950s, displaying the five Medley brothers. It’s NDP (non-distiller maker), but Kentucky-made (not MGPI). It’s comparable to Angel’s Envy for the reason that Charles Medley, like Lincoln Henderson, spent his whole career as a hands-on distiller, so he’s doing the quality control for this, i.e., picking the barrels.
Their products are agreement distilled, not bulk, and use their mash costs which is 77 percent corn, ten percent rye, and 13 percent barley malt. Earlier this year they arrived with a 12-year-old. It is rather good, but very limited also. The Medley Brothers will be in ten states initially.
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I know Kentucky and Illinois are two of them. I don’t remember the rest. Some might say, “big offer, it’s just an NDP whiskey with a tale.” True, but it’s good whiskey and a genuine story. The brand new Medley Brothers bourbon is very rich challenging good wood tastes, but with a little bit of grain too. One thing about mass whiskey (also called place market whiskey) is that, in today’s environment especially, you don’t always get the pick and choose of the litter. You must take the actual distillery is willing to sell you, which often isn’t their finest stuff.
There are 4-year-olds the distillers will sell in bulk and 4-year-olds they keep for themselves, for their own brands. This tastes more like the ones they keep for themselves. They don’t say, of course. Who’ll do agreement distilling? Anyone with the capability Almost. You get paid up-front plus you get money stream from aging, and you never have to worry about selling the stuff when it matures because the NDP owns it.
Sell-through is their problem. Most start-ups can’t afford to do contract, they need whiskey they can sell right away. Which means micro-producer looking to create a brand, or the micro-distillery looking to sell sourced whiskey to get some cash flow, is buying at that moment market. They often have very little capital to get and do not want to hold back 4 or 5 years before they have something to sell. If you’re heading to achieve that, you may as well build a distillery. Most contract work is from established businesses.
The considerable whiskey that Diageo buys from MGPI and others is all agreement. What regional rectifiers like Phillips, Luxco, Frank-Lin and Paramount buy is contract. I suspect Templeton Rye, which has been an effective brand for six or seven years now, has switched from spot to contract. Heaven Hill uses a agreement distilling model using their marketers. The 6-year-old whiskey which will be 7-year-old (theoretically) Evan Williams next calendar year isn’t possessed by Heaven Hill. It was sold by them with their distributors years back, when it still came from the. This allows Heaven Hill to release capital to purchase more production and provides the distributors a good price, especially within an expanding market.
Heaven Hill works with its NDP customers the same manner. Heaven Hill was probably doing a little less of it until they expanded Bernheim sufficiently, but Heaven Hill has always done both contract and place as a regular part of their business. Brown-Forman still has quite a little of excessive capacity in Shively so they’re pleased to do contract.