Archive for January, 2011

Early Times 354 Bourbon Coming Soon

Brown-Forman announces the Early Times brand is returning to its bourbon roots with Early Times 354 Bourbon. Crafted with pure water, select grains, proprietary yeast and carefully distilled and matured in select oak barrels, it’s the newest (and in a way, the oldest) member of the Early Times family. After an absence as a bourbon in the US market since 1983, Early Times 354 joins Early Times Kentucky Whisky in an expansion of the presence of the famous Early Times brand.

At the tender age of 15, Jack Beam began working at his family’s distillery. In short order, he was running the operation and in 1860 built his own distillery at a place called Early Times Station, Kentucky. Beam named his whisky Early Times, both as a tribute to its place of origin and as a nod to the old-world craftsmanship that goes into making it. He believed in the “early times method” of whisky-making – mashing grain in small tubs, boiling the beer and whisky in copper stills over open fires. It’s an abiding belief that has stayed with the Early Times brand all along, continuing long after Early Times became part of the Brown-Forman family of brands in 1923.

By the 1950s, Early Times was the best-selling bourbon in the world. As the vintage advertising from that era proclaimed, Early Times is “the whisky that made Kentucky whiskies famous.” Steeped in bourbon history, Early Times Distillery’s federal permit, No. 354, is the longest held in Kentucky.

As the only distilling company to own its own cooperage, Brown-Forman changed Early Times from a Kentucky bourbon to a Kentucky whisky in 1983 – allowing the company to achieve a perfect mix of seasoned and new barrels and create the smooth, mellow taste of Early Times whisky.

“Early Times is the second oldest continually produced Kentucky whisky on the market – second only to Brown Forman’s Old Forester,” said Chris Morris, Brown-Forman Master Distiller. “Early Times 354 Bourbon takes as a part of its names the distillery’s famous permit number – 354. This is the longest held operating permit in Kentucky. Everything about Early Times 354 supports the brand’s historic past and reputation for great taste.”

Early Times 354 will launch an ad campaign to coincide with the product’s release in several trade magazines focused on a national, independent, blind preference taste test in which Early Times 354 was preferred to Jim Beam White Label by male, Jim Beam drinkers ages 25-55.*

“The results of the taste test were what really told us we had a winner,” said Joe Murray, Early Times Brand Manager. “Early Times 354 is a premium line extension offering a quality product, at an accessible price point, capitalizing on the growing number of consumers entering the bourbon category.”

With a unique retro-classic package similar to the 1930’s Early Times bottle, Early Times 354 will initially be sold in 17 U.S. markets with more to follow in 2011. Each bottle is presented at 80 proof with a suggested retail price of $15.99 for a 750ml bottle.

Tasting Notes for Early Times 354 Bourbon

Color   – deep amber

Aroma – spicy with sweet fruit, fresh oak and delicate corn notes underscored by a layer of

vanilla and caramel.

Taste    – a lively entry with spice, caramel and vanilla that melt into a mixture of fresh and

dried fruit notes.

Finish   – warm with subtle hints of apple and corn

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Woodford Reserve and Esquire Crown “Master of the Manhattan”

New York, NY – After searching the country for the nation’s ultimate well-crafted Manhattans, Woodford Reserve bourbon and Esquire magazine have crowned Marcelo Nascimento from Austin, Texas and his “Voodoo Manhattan” as the “Master of the Manhattan” for 2011.

Nascimento’s cocktail was reviewed by a distinguished panel of experts along with the 10 other bartenders creations from across the country. Nascimento and the other participant’s cocktails were critiqued on creativity, ingredients, presentation and taste. The judges included Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris, spirits journalist Paul Pacult, Whiskycast creator Mark Gillespie, and Douglass Miller from the Culinary Institute of America. The judging took place at The Manhattan Experience at Top of the Standard in New York City on Monday, January 10.

“There was some stiff competition from the other bartenders and I didn’t expect to win, but the judges told me they thought my drink really stood out,” said Nascimento.  “The whole time in New York was exceptional and I want to thank Woodford Reserve and Esquire for an amazing experience.”

The Voodoo Manhattan along with the other 10 recipes will be featured in a Woodford Reserve advertisement in the February edition of Esquire. The Voodoo Manhattan recipe is as follows:

Voodoo Manhattan crafted by Marcelo Nascimento

2½ oz. Woodford Reserve®

½ oz. Amaro Averna

½ oz. Clément Créole Shrubb

½ bar spoon of Pink peppercorns

Garnish with skewered blood orange supremes and inflamed orange peel

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Bill Samuels, Jr. Stepping Down as Pres. of Maker’s Mark

Loretto, KY (January 12, 2011) – In April of this year, Bill Samuels, Jr., will retire as President of Maker’s Mark®,the world’s oldest operating bourbon distillery and a National Historic Landmark, and transition into the new role of Chairman Emeritus for the iconic global brand. His son, Rob Samuels, who was appointed Chief Operating Officer in October 2010, will lead the Maker’s Mark organization going forward. The announcement was made by Matthew J. Shattock, President & Chief Executive Officer of Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc.

“Bill Samuels reinvented the way bourbon was marketed at a time when the industry needed it most,” Shattock said. “He forever changed the bourbon industry while building Maker’s Mark into a global brand and staying true to his family’s commitment to handcraftsmanship. We’re pleased that Rob Samuels, as Maker’s Mark Chief Operating Officer, will follow in his footsteps, as Bill travels throughout the world on behalf of the brand as Chairman Emeritus.”

Bill Samuels, Jr., has been at the helm of Maker’s Mark for 35 years, and has overseen the growth of the brand from a Kentucky “cult” bourbon into a national icon that gave rise to the modern era of bourbon.  Mr. Samuels is the son of Maker’s Mark Founder, Bill Samuels, Sr., and the seventh generation to continue the family’s tradition of bourbon making first started in Kentucky by Robert Samuels in 1784.  Since taking over the business from his father in 1975, Maker’s Mark has experienced double-digit growth year-on-year, and the Maker’s Mark Distillery has become one of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting more than 100,000 visitors annually from the world over.

“A lot has changed in the spirits industry since we first started selling Maker’s Mark, but I’ve made sure all along that the way we craft our bourbon has remained the same as when we first started,” said Mr. Samuels.  “Our heritage and craft is what makes us unique and ensures our quality.”

Samuels continued, “Now that we’ve achieved the milestone of one million cases as a brand, it’s the perfect time to transition the day-to-day running of Maker’s Mark to Rob, who will carry on our family traditions. I look forward to taking on this new role and meeting with our brand fans in markets around the world.”

Bill Samuels, Jr., will officially step down as President and transition to Chairman Emeritus on Friday, April 15th during the Maker’s Mark Mile, a Grade-1 thoroughbred horserace held at the historic Keeneland Racetrack in Lexington, Ky., which will be the 15th and last year for the running of the race.  A private event will be held the following day at the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Ky., for brand Ambassadors and invited guests to celebrate the retirement of the venerable bourbon baron.

Together with his father, Bill Samuels, Jr., created the premium bourbon category.  A true pioneer and innovator, Mr. Samuels has forged a rich and enduring legacy, without ever intending to do so.  From the brand’s tongue-in-cheek advertising campaigns, to the industry pioneering brand Ambassador Program and the engaging Distillery visitor experience, Mr. Samuels helped transform Maker’s Mark from a bourbon into a lifestyle.  Last summer, Mr. Samuels introduced what may well become one of his most defining contributions, Maker’s 46, the highly acclaimed first new bourbon from the Maker’s Mark Distillery in 52 years.

Growing up the son of a bourbon maker, and with Jim Beam as his godfather, everyone expected Mr. Samuels to work in the whisky industry.  Always the contrarian and, to the surprise and consternation of many friends and family, Mr. Samuels decided to pursue other interests.  He studied rocket science at the Case Institute of Technology and UC Berkley, and then went on to Vanderbilt University, where he earned a law degree before eventually deciding to join the family business and take on the marketing and promotion of what was then an emerging local “cult” bourbon.

Said Mr. Samuels, “My career has been an incredible journey and, over the last 43 years, I have always stayed true to my fundamental belief that the most successful way to build Maker’s Mark is one brand fan at a time and to let brand fans become our most influential advocates.  I have no doubt that the future of Maker’s Mark is in the best of hands with Rob at the helm as COO and that the best is yet to come as the brand’s popularity continues to swell both in the U.S. and internationally.”

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