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Heaven Hill Announces Fourth Annual Release of Parker’s Heritage Collection

BARDSTOWN, KY–Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., the country’s largest independent family-owned and operated spirits producer and marketer, announces the September release of the fourth edition of Parker’s Heritage Collection, a limited annual series of rare, aged American Whiskeys that pays tribute to 6th Generation Master Distiller Parker Beam.  The fourth release is a cask-strength, non-chill filtered wheated Bourbon, meaning it uses soft winter wheat instead of rye as the “small grain” to produce a less spicy, rounder Bourbon.

This year’s release of Parker’s Heritage Collection follows last year’s “Golden Anniversary” Bourbon edition, which captured the “American Whiskey of the Year” award from Malt Advocate Magazine, in addition to being named “World’s Best New Release” in Whisky Magazine’s annual 2010 World Whiskey Awards. The 2009 release, a 27-year-old Bourbon, was the first American Whiskey to ever win “Best of Show, Brown Spirits” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

The new release marks the first in the Parker’s Heritage Collection to depart from the traditional Heaven Hill rye-based Bourbon mashbill.  Instead of the more commonly used corn/malted barley/rye recipe, the newest edition uses corn, malted barley and Kentucky winter wheat.  This recipe was first used at Heaven Hill in the spring of 1999, after the company acquired the wheated Old Fitzgerald line of Bourbons.  This new bottling of Parker’s Heritage Collection will mark the first release of Heaven Hill made, extra-aged wheated Bourbon.  And it will delight whiskey connoisseurs because not only is it non-chill filtered, but it also is being released in two very small batch dumps at barrel proof.  And like the previous three editions, it is being released in very limited quantities–only 52 barrels, kept in high storage in open rick warehouses, were dumped for this edition, yielding approximately 4,800 bottles for the United States and limited international distribution.

And in what will be welcome news in still-unsettled economic times, the fourth release, at $79.99, is priced considerably lower than previous releases, which carried an average national retail price of $150 for last year’s “Golden Anniversary” bottling and $200 for the 27-year-old Bourbon released two years ago.  Whiskey aficionados will also appreciate that the natural esters and fatty acids, which are by-products of whiskey distillation and aging, are not stripped away from the Bourbon in a process known as chill filtering, but are left in the whiskey to provide a fuller taste profile and richer mouthfeel.

Packaged in the same upscale 750ml bottle as the previous three editions, the Parker’s Heritage Collection Wheated Bourbon is available in a three bottle case that should start hitting retail shelves during September, nationally recognized as the start of the Bourbon season.

“I am genuinely excited to introduce a nicely aged, cask-strength wheated Bourbon for this next version of my Parker’s Heritage Collection,” noted Heaven Hill’s Parker Beam.  “At this age and barrel-proof, is how a wheated Bourbon shows best…it has the caramel and smoke notes that only ten years in the top floors of our rickhouses can produce.  And it has the long, smooth finish that I always look for in a Bourbon, with that softness that wheat brings to the recipe. I am very pleased that we now have wheated Bourbon that I feel has aged long enough to wear my name on the label.”

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New Evan Williams Infusion Packs a Cherry Zing

BARDSTOWN, KY–Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., the country’s largest independent family-owned and operated spirits producer and marketer, announces the release of Evan Williams Cherry Reserve Kentucky Liqueur, a new product that marries extra-aged Evan Williams Bourbon with natural cherry flavor.  Bottled at 70 proof and available in both a 750ml and 50ml size, Evan Williams Cherry Reserve will be shipping to select markets across the country in September at an average retail price of $14.99 for the 750ml bottle.

The launch of Evan Williams Cherry Reserve follows closely on the heels of the hugely successful introduction of Evan Williams Honey Reserve, which began in test markets in September 2009 and completed its national rollout in February of 2010.  Since that time, it has had both great sales success and critical acclaim, including winning a Silver Medal at the most recent San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Both the Evan Williams Cherry and Honey Reserves take advantage of established trends in the distilled spirits industry in general and the American straight whiskey category in particular.  Among these is the ongoing success of flavored spirits, whose growth is more than double that of unflavored spirits; as well as the continued popularity of Bourbon, especially Evan Williams, which showed double digit sales percentage increases in both 2008 and 2009. Heaven Hill fully anticipates that infusing Evan Williams extra-aged Bourbon, the second largest selling Bourbon brand in the United States and the world and a “Best Buy Whiskey of the Year” winner, with natural cherry will yield similar success as that achieved with Evan Williams Honey Reserve.

Like the Honey Reserve, Evan Williams Cherry Reserve is packaged in the highly-recognizable square Evan Williams bottle, with a clear label carrying the Evan Williams logo and a stylized rendition of cherries. With a black and red capsule closure, the trade dress draws on the equity of the Evan Williams brand franchise, but with a contemporary flair.  Bottled at an approachable 70 proof, and infused with natural cherry taste that complements its sweet, easy-to-drink Bourbon flavor, Evan Williams Cherry Reserve lives up to its tagline of “Smooth Bourbon. Cherry Zing.”

“We have seen remarkable success with Evan Williams Black Label and now Evan Williams Honey Reserve,” stated Heaven Hill brand manager Susan Wahl.  “Given the strength of the Evan Williams brand franchise and the proven success of the flavored Bourbon sub-category, we believe it is the perfect time in which to launch Evan Williams Cherry Reserve.  And with a very approachable price point and a full range of retail and on-premise marketing materials available, we are expecting our customers to do some real ‘cherry picking’!”

To help merchandise the brand, Evan Williams Cherry Reserve is supported by an array of retail promotional materials–including a permanent wire rack and header card, shelf talkers, case cards, cold box clings and a 50ml counter unit–allowing off-premise operators to create impactful displays that will capture consumer attention.  In order to generate sampling in bars and restaurants, on-premise POS including T-shirts and shot glasses will also be made available.  A targeted trade advertising schedule will also help create awareness among the key retail and on-premise audiences.  All materials utilize striking visuals and the “Smooth Bourbon. Cherry Zing.” positioning, rendered in red and black graphics.  Support materials also emphasize that Evan Williams Cherry Reserve can be consumed as a shot or in a variety of delicious simple cocktails such as the Cherry Breeze, Cherry Twist Margarita and Cherry Cola.

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Four Roses Set to Release Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon

This September, Four Roses Distillery will release a new Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon, adding to its collection of special offerings which showcase Four Roses’ ability to work with 10 proprietary bourbon recipes to create unique and varied expressions.

The Limited Edition Small Batch includes three of Four Roses’ 10 recipes. It will feature the Four Roses recipe coded OBSV aged 15 years, OBSK aged 11 years, and OESK aged 10 years. The three bourbon recipes have been mingled at barrel strength to create a rich, complex spirit defined by soft oak, caramel and honeysuckle aromas. Subtle flavors of cherries, apricot, light spice, honey and raspberries are present giving it a creamy, smooth and mellow finish.

The release is timed to coincide with the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Approximately 3,600 bottles of this uncut, non-chill filtered bourbon will be produced and distributed in markets where Four Roses is currently available.

The new Limited Edition Small Batch comes on the heels of Four Roses’ most recent limited edition product – a single barrel bourbon released this spring to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Lawrenceburg distillery building.

Unlike the Limited Edition Single Barrel, which represents one Four Roses recipe aged to perfection, the new Limited Edition Small Batch represents a marriage of recipes to create a unique and special Bourbon of complex and layered flavors.

“The three recipes chosen for this small batch bourbon each express unique flavor characteristics that collectively create an exquisite, timeless bourbon,” said Jim Rutledge, Four Roses Master Distiller. “As this bourbon is being released during our distillery building’s 100th anniversary year, we wanted to commemorate a special time with another special bourbon. I believe this is a classic, well defined bourbon you’ll not just savor, but long remember.”

Four Roses is the only distillery that combines five proprietary yeast strains with two separate mashbills to produce 10 distinct bourbon recipes, each with its own unique character. More information about each of Four Roses Bourbon recipes is available at www.fourroses.us/ten .

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Ole Smoky Distillery Gets The ‘Shine On!

GATLINBURG, TENNESSEE – Tennessee Moonshine will be available legally for the first time when Ole Smoky Distillery opens for business in Ole Smoky Holler at 903 Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg. The distillery will have a grand opening celebration on Friday, July 2 and will offer free tours, free samples of moonshine to adults over 21, and moonshine for sale.

Ole Smoky will offer a number of moonshine products: original unaged corn whiskey moonshine, apple pie moonshine, sweet tea moonshine, and peach moonshine. Moonshine cherries will be available for purchase during the holiday season. The Ole Smoky recipes are the product of the hard work and experience of local families who have made moonshine in the mountains for over a century. Dave Pickerell, who served as the Master Distiller for Maker’s Mark for over 15 years, assisted with the refinement of the recipes in order to ensure a superior mountain – made moonshine.

A highlight of the facility is the authentic working moonshine still where visitors will learn the science of the distilling process as well as the history and lore of moonshining in East Tennessee. Ole Smoky is the only distillery in the state dedicated to moonshine products. Proprietors Joe Baker, Tony Breeden and Cory Cottongim place a particular emphasis on celebrating their mountain heritage as well as the historical significance of the moonshine craft in sustaining families during hard economic times of the early 20th century.

“Moonshine played an integral role in the daily lives of families in this region,” said Baker. “Too often, people rely on the stereotype of a backwards old man making a cheap, dangerous product. In truth, a lot of good people made and sold moonshine in order to feed and clothe their families. Without moonshine, many mountain families would not have survived.”

Ole Smoky is the first federally licensed distillery in the history of East Tennessee, and is currently one of only four distilleries operating in the state. Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel received their licenses before Prohibition, and Prichards Rum opened their Tennessee facility in 1999. Check them out at www.olesmokymoonshine.com

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Maker’s Mark Introduces First New Bourbon in 52 Years

Loretto, KY (June 30, 2010) – Maker’s Mark is once again bringing innovation to the Bourbon industry with today’s release of the company’s first ever new Bourbon, Maker’s 46. In celebration, Maker’s Mark President Bill Samuels, Jr., continuing in the tradition his father began, hand-dipped and sealed ceremonial bottles of Maker’s 46 Bourbon in the brand’s iconic red wax with Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear at the historic Maker’s Mark Distillery.

Maker’s 46 is a handcrafted, full-bodied Bourbon whisky that starts off as original Maker’s Mark. The transformation into Maker’s 46 begins when fully matured Maker’s Mark is emptied from the barrel so that 10 seared French oak staves can be affixed to the sides. Then, Maker’s Mark, which is made with red winter wheat for a smooth taste, is put back in the barrel and aged for several more months, allowing the natural caramel, vanilla and spice flavors released by the staves to enhance the end product.

“This new expression is a breakthrough in the contemporary craft of bourbon,” stated Mr. Samuels. “We have used innovative techniques never before employed by the Bourbon industry to create a full-bodied bourbon without any bitterness.”

The creation of Maker’s 46 was a collaborative effort between Bill Samuels, Maker’s Mark Master Distiller Kevin Smith, and Barrel Maker and

“Wood Chef” Brad Boswell of Independent Stave Company. Samuels and Smith started with a clear idea of how they wanted the new bourbon to taste – full-bodied without any bitterness – and turned to Boswell to help develop the recipe.  They knew this would be no easy task, if it could be done at all.

After much experimenting, Boswell decided to try a searing technique on French oak staves that had never been used before to make bourbon.  He delicately seared the staves just enough so that the caramel and vanilla flavors from it were released and only a small amount of tannin, which adds bitterness, came out of the wood. The name Maker’s 46 comes from the profile number Boswell assigned to this winning “wood recipe.”

Samuels notes, “Over the years whisky consumers’ palates have moved toward bigger and bolder flavors. So, I wanted to craft a contemporary interpretation of Maker’s Mark that matched with current tastes, but didn’t want to mess up what my father had created or disenfranchise any of our loyal fans.”

Kevin Smith adds, “Maker’s 46 is spicier and has a more intense aroma than Maker’s Mark. It has rich caramel and vanilla flavors, and even at 94 proof it’s soft enough to hold on the tongue. You can drink it on its own or mix it into a cocktail.”

Initial reactions from Bourbon experts to Maker’s 46 have been positive. Malt Advocate Publisher and Editor, John Hansell has noted in his review, “The French Oak staves in ‘46’ add firm, complex, dry spices (lead by warming cinnamon, followed by nutmeg and clove)…which dovetails well with Maker’s trademark layered sweetness.”

Additionally, Charles K. Cowdery, Editor-in-Chief of The Bourbon Country Reader – a publication dedicated exclusively to American whiskey – says, “Compared to standard Maker’s, there is less citrus and more fudge. It is very, very good.” Jose Garces, Owner of Garces Restaurant Group and Food Network Iron Chef, has also reviewed the Bourbon and states, “… I really enjoy its fruit-forward notes with flavors of vanilla and caramel lingering from the aging process. The finish is extraordinarily smooth and the flavor pleasantly stayed on my palate.”

Only 25,000 cases of Maker’s 46 will be shipped by the distillery this year, making bottles of this first batch a rare commodity. The new Kentucky straight bourbon whisky will be sold in 750ml bottles and retail for approximately $10 more than Maker’s Mark (prices vary state to state).

For more information about Maker’s 46 and Maker’s Mark, go to www.makersmark.com (must be 21 years of age or older), or visit Maker’s Mark on Twitter and Facebook.

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Maker’s Mark Salutes America with Special Red, White and Blue Bottles

There’s no better way to toast America’s birthday this 4th of July than with Maker’s Mark Kentucky straight bourbon whisky – a truly all American spirit. Located in Loretto, KY, the Maker’s Mark distillery is the world’s oldest operating bourbon whisky distillery and a National Historic Landmark.

Special for the holiday, Maker’s Mark is selling tri-packs with three 375 ml. bottles sealed in red, white and blue wax. These packs will be sold for a limited time only in select U.S. states and will retail for $29.99.

Maker’s Mark suggests making the following refreshing cocktails with your red, white and blue bottles for a memorable 4th of July barbecue and throughout the summer.

Kentucky Lemonade
Yield – 1 serving
Ingredients:

* 1 1/2 parts Maker’s Mark
* 1/2 part triple sec
* 4 parts of lemonade
* 2 parts lemon & lime soda

Directions:
Pour Maker’s Mark, triple sec, lemonade and soda into a shaker. Shake and pour over crushed ice.

Maker’s Ice Cream Float
Yield – 2 servings
Ingredients:

* 1 cup of vanilla ice cream
* 1/4 cup Maker’s Mark
* 1 tsp. vanilla extract
* Freshly grated nutmeg (to taste)

Directions:
Combine bourbon, ice cream and vanilla in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into glasses and service with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

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Early Times Mint Julep KY Derby Commemorative Bottle

For the past 23 years, the Early Times Mint Julep has proudly served as the “Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby®.” In celebration of this, Early Times Kentucky Whisky continues its tradition with the release of the 2010 commemorative Kentucky Derby bottle.

The 2010 Early Times Mint Julep commemorative bottle holds special significance as the 11th and final in a series of paintings by the inimitable Celeste Susany, whose creations have graced the bottle every year since Kentucky Derby 126. In this year’s masterwork, entitled “A Golden Moment,” Susany adopts a more impressionistic style to capture the essence of this grand race. The scene spotlights the field of contenders galloping along the back stretch while the twin spires stand majestically in the background.

“Celeste’s work captures the true essence and emotion of Derby day and we’ve been so very fortunate to have her as our artist for the past 11 years,” said Joe Murray, Brand Manager for Early Times Kentucky Whisky. “The Early Times Mint Julep bottle has truly become a collectible among art, horse racing and whisky fans and is a must-have for Derby parties as the perfect way to serve a delicious mint julep in less than ten seconds.”

With 2010 marking Susany’s final year of doing the artwork for the commemorative bottle, Early Times is giving consumers the opportunity to submit their artwork for the chance to be featured on the 2011 Kentucky Derby bottle. Beginning April 20, consumers can log onto www.earlytimes.com/etmjartistsearch to submit their “What Derby Means to Me” artwork, as well as to see official rules and contest details.  The winner will win a VIP trip for two to the 2011 Kentucky Derby, $5000 in cash, along with having their artwork featured on the 2011 Early Times Mint Julep bottle.

“It has been an honor to have the opportunity to do the artwork for the Early Times Mint Julep bottle for the past 11 years,” added Susany. “It’s time to give another artist the chance to have their work displayed for horse racing fans to collect and enjoy.”

During this year’s Derby week, more than 120,000 Early Times Mint Juleps are expected to be served at Churchill Downs®. Over the past 23 years, more than 2.5 million Early Times Mint Juleps have been served between Kentucky Oaks® and Derby Days at Churchill Downs. This year’s Kentucky Derby will take place Saturday, May 1, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Launching in April 2010, the newly labeled one-liter pre-mix bottle will be available in limited quantities throughout the United States for a suggested retail price of $14.99.

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Early Times 150th Anniversary Release Revisits Old Times

Early Times Kentucky Whisky, first distilled in 1860 in Early Times Station, Kentucky, is a whisky known for its rich heritage and mild taste profile. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the brand, Early Times Kentucky Whisky will release a one-time, limited release expression in a 375ml commemorative bottle.

Although the year 1860 congers up images of “early times” today, at the time, the brand’s original distillers believed the industry was turning too modern, too quickly, and wanted a brand that captured the “good old days.” Thus, the brand name Early Times was selected to remind consumers of the old-fashioned methods of making whisky – mashing grain in small tubs and boiling the beer and whisky in copper stills over open fires.

Closed by Prohibition, the distillery, brand and barrel inventory was acquired by medicinal whiskey permit holder Brown-Forman Distillers in 1923. Brown-Forman moved the production of Early Times to Louisville, Kentucky in 1935 where it has thrived to this day. Every drop is distilled under the late 1800’s permit number DSP – 354.

“This commemorative bottle celebrates the rich history of Early Times’ role as the second oldest continually produced whisky brand in America,” said Joe Murray, brand manager for Early Times. “While Early Times is now made with modern methods, its name still invokes images of the good old days and still provides a welcome reward at the end of a hard day’s work. As one of America’s top selling Kentucky Whiskies for the last 60 years it still lives up to its reputation as ‘The Whisky that made Kentucky Whiskies Famous.’

The Early Times 150th anniversary edition will come in a unique 375ml bottle and carry an Early Times retro 1920’s label. The distillery will produce only 3000 cases which will be available in 20 US states at a suggested retail price of $11.99.

“Early Times 150 is crafted to emulate the flavor profile the brand would have possessed in 1923 when it was acquired by Brown-Forman,” said Chris Morris, Brown-Forman Master Distiller. “Most whisky aficionados who have been treated to a prohibition-era medicinal whisky taste a late bottling. These contain whisky that was aged up to three times longer than the distiller planned. In 1923 Brown-Forman began bottling 5-6 year old Early Times as medicine. This bottling, with its light honey color, mellow oak, brown sugar, vanilla aroma and simple sweet corn, vanilla and faint butterscotch taste bring back the best of a by-gone time – an Early Times to remember.”

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