Proof: About Me:

Liquor Label Red Flags: Empty Words and Phrases Likely to Create a False Impression:

  • “Small Batch”: Basically meaningless. Just says the bottler didn’t automatically bottle every last ounce of spirit that was made available to him/her. Claim holds up even if all they did was avoid the barrel covered in the bird shit.

  • “Produced by”: tells you nothing more than the corporate name of the entity that commissioned the production. Anyone can email MGP Ingredients or some other supplier anytime and have them physically produce you your own line of spirits, but on the label you’d still get to say it was “Produced by” you. Pro tip- anyone can put the word “distillery” in their company name. So “Produced by [LocalName] Distillery” could still represent nothing more than someone, somewhere, with an LLC and a checkbook.

  • “Hand bottled”: clearly meant to convey small scale production, but not quantifiable. This doesn’t mean anything more than there was human involvement in the bottling line. Even the smallest micro distilleries use various bottling machines (necessary to meet strict volume standards).

  • “Premium” & “[adjective] Premium”: Utterly meaningless, there’s no actual standard here. The marketer thinks the customers of that product are chumps (or to be charitable, just felt resigned to use the word. But it cannot be said in earnest.)

Reading Between The Lines: Who’s Doing What? Here’s an example of language that sounds good, but could just as easily be written by a marketer placing an order with a bulk spirits provider: “We create small batch spirits from the finest ingredients. Each bottle is handcrafted from spirit that flows out of the artisan pot still. Bottles and batch numbers are handwritten on each label. We only use whole ingredients to create our spirits.”

These aren’t red flag words, here we’re trying to separate the distillers from those just allocating capital. Look for specific action verbs (e.g. mash, ferment, distill) following first-person pronouns (“we”, “I”).

  • “Create”: Like “produced”, “create” doesn’t necessarily mean anything more than “commissioned”.

  • “Ingredients”: the problem here is that bulk spirits sourced from others can still be called an “ingredient”. Look for something more specific, e.g. “we distill red wheat grain, etc.”

TL;DR: Most liquor we drink is actually distilled at companies you’ve never heard of, like MGP Ingredients (think about the condiments scene at Madrigal Electromotive from Breaking Bad). These companies sell their bulk spirits to major labels, but also to upstart marketers who think they see a marketing niche, usually playing off something local. These are known as “private label” brands. Liquor marketing has always been shameless, but the heights of BS we’ve reached are historically unprecedented, IMO. Look for “Distilled & Bottled By” for the truthiest statement.

Comments: 972 • Responses: 61  • Date: 

Huplescat22278 karma

It’s my understanding that there is so little difference between cheap vodka and the expensive stuff that you’re better off just buying the cheap stuff. How accurate is that, assuming you’re not getting something with fusel oil in it?

200proofcraft283 karma

Very accurate. With vodka, you're just looking for purity... it is scientifically possible to make a perfect vodka. Please never pay much for vodka.

Here's the worst scam I've ever heard: a marketer buys bulk Grain Neutral Spirits from a provider (there are lots). This gets shipped at 95%abv. The marketer receives it, and then cuts it down with local water. Once you cut down the GNS to 40%abv, presto, you have vodka. Pass it through some still you picked up and all of a sudden you can say "Locally Distilled Vodka with Fresh Local Water"

Edit: My response to huxley2112 got buried, so putting it here. In my example I used GNS interchangably with high proof bulk vodka, and perhaps I shouldn't, but in my context of misleading labeling it's the same deal: i.e., pretending that a spirit was distilled somewhere it wasn't. Here is the ultimate thread by people in the know on the issue of what it means to "make" vodka:

vulpes_occulta71 karma

Hospitality Major here... We learned a lot about this in college. It is somewhat appalling what we are told, but it is also somewhat liberating to find that we can traverse the illusive language on the bottle and actually know what we are buying.

So, here's a few questions for you.

How did you get into the liquor industry?

How is business?

Does the guilt really bother you that much? There are varying degrees of deceit in just about all industries.

How difficult is it to become the owner/operator of a liquor store?

If the deception bothers you so much, what liquors do you recommend?

What is your favorite wine, beer, tequila and scotch/whiskey?

How difficult is it to maintain safety and prevent theft in your store? I always felt like alcohol is a high theft item.

Thanks for sharing... I always have a lot of questions for liquor store owners.

200proofcraft68 karma

Hey, just got my liquor license Jan31, and haven't really done much marketing, for the time being am focusing just on sourcing spirits from small micro-distilleries across the country. When I build up my catalog, then I'll spend some money on marketing.

No guilt!!! I'm only selling stuff I believe in. This wouldn't have been possible with a standard B&M liquor store, so I asked the District of Columbia Alcohol Beverage Control Board to issue me an "online only" license, and they did!

  • Not difficult to become owner/operator if you can get a loan in the low 3 digits. B&M liquor stores are for sale all the time, in DC I've seen prices range from $150k-$350k for a functioning stocked liquor store. Biggest challenge is overhead. In DC, most liquor stores rely on lotto to help out.

  • Favorites is a tricky question, I like trying new things all the time, so I guess I appreciate anything that's unique and diverse. My favorite rye whiskey right now is something I can't even stock - Delaware Phoenix Rye Whiskey, distilled by an elderly woman and her 45 gallon pot still, amazing. Can't get it outside of NY. Rick Wasmund of Virginia has an amazing distillery. His unaged Rye Spirit is probably my favorite unaged whiskey. -Favorite beer? Right now probably the seasonals from 21st Amendment. Their Christmas one (Fireside Chat) was amazing. -As for wine, I really don't know much about wines... whole other world!

roguepublichealth54 karma


200proofcraft41 karma

Nice - not yet but will be reaching out!

wallmartadvice44 karma

What information should we look for that shows a manufacturer is genuine and honest?

Are there certain key words that are regulated to a standard?

200proofcraft62 karma

Yes, "Distilled & Bottled By" are words the government (specifically the U.S. Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau, or "TTB" for short) takes seriously. There's no requirement that they be on the label, but if they are there, then you can put some credence in them.

Beyond that, you can consult the TTB's Standards of Identity:

The TTB doesn't have the resources it needs to stay on top of all the tricks of the trade though... so if you've got a moment to spare in the liquor store, look up the Facebook page of the distillery.

Talpostal42 karma

I'm pretty familiar with the craft beer scene, but no so much the craft liquor scene.

In craft beer, there are definite "good guys" and "bad guys." Who are the "bad guys" in the world of liquor? Specifically which brands?

200proofcraft44 karma

Of major spirits companies, I'd call out Diageo as being "bad". Here are their brands:

My reasons are: 1) They had to settle an investigation by the DOJ under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act a few years back. 2) Outrageous stunts like this: 3) They're a prime driver of the Race to the Bottom in rum production, diverting rum production to USVI in exchange for rum subsidies called "cover over". This is a long story... Caribbean countries are looking to sue at the WTO.

HeckMonkey32 karma

What do you think of Kraken?

200proofcraft5 karma

Never tried it. I like Prichard's rum series, he's won tons of awards.

icyone31 karma

Now that absinthe is finding its way back into most liquor stores in the US, there's a glut of "abinsthe-flavored" vodkas and other so-called imitation spirits, and often on the same shelf as the absinthe.

So that said, what are some tips to finding good/legit absinthe in the states? I'm not necessarily expecting to trip balls, but I don't want to be deceived by clever labeling.

200proofcraft51 karma

I think the safest approach is always checking out the facebook page of the distiller. Are they showing off their work, or is there just a bunch of pictures of bottles and celebs?

411_WAS_AN_INFO_JOB10 karma

Look up Dark Corner distillery in SC. Moonshine, whiskey, and absinthe. It's a small outfit, but they make quality stuff.

200proofcraft6 karma

I just got their Hot Mama in yesterday! Will be putting up the product page asap :)

Loved their Apple Corn Whiskey too, that's the next order.

200proofcraft25 karma

Very good question and I'm glad you asked because I realize it's listed on my site now (may have to remove that product page). I can't say for sure, and that's one of the reasons I don't have it in stock. They do have a still, but the wide availability of their product and uncertain statements of origin leave us guessing.

When I started building the site last fall, I was a bit less discerning than I am now.

Diabetesh22 karma

Are there cheaper versions of brand name liquors like Dr thunder at Walmart being Dr pepper for half the price?

200proofcraft34 karma

Generally speaking, yes, often spirit from the same distillery will be sold my multiple labels with huge different price points. Here's a thread on people trying to figure out where Costco Bourbon comes from, with the consensus being that it's probably the same as Knob Hill:

Gravy-Leg__21 karma

Is there a reason you are so passionate about this?

200proofcraft63 karma

Yes, shortly after law school I offered to help out the American Distilling Institute (an association of small, independent micro-distilleries) with some legal & advocacy work (did it pro bono, just looking to gain experience). Got to know many authentic distillers across the country - awesome people who support the economy, manufacturing, local farming, rural tourism, yet face huge uphill battles. Actually started my liquor store so I could work alongside them, and help them build their businesses (prefer being a business partner than just asking for money for advice!). (Also - whole other story here about liquor distribution in US, and loopholes I'm using to source their spirits).

I'm now very involved in craft spirits. I started Federal Spirits here in DC first, and am now even helping a friend start a distillery in Toronto. This has helped me understand the challenges they face even more.

diemaco_kid11 karma

in toronto you say.... distilling what exactly? Rye or?

200proofcraft13 karma

Will be experimenting with everything, still need to get a proper mill though, so far have just made sugar shine (i.e. fermented sugar, and distilled it, 70%abv). But we'll be experimenting with all sorts of Ontario grains- wheat, corn, rye, barley...

diddletheskittle17 karma

Why are you not able to ship to 26/50 states plus "other states"? Also what are the "other states"

200proofcraft34 karma

This is perhaps the ultimate question, and the biggest issue in the beverage alcohol industry.

In short, there's basically on all out war going on across the country, state by state, ever since the Supreme Court upended everything in 2005.

Nominally, the U.S. has what's known as the "three tier distribution" system. This means that beverage alcohol producers (wineries, breweries, distilleries) can only sell their product to wholesalers (who get their licenses from the state), and retailers (licensed by the state as either on-premise, i.e. bars & restaurants, or off-premise, i.e. stores) can only buy from those same wholesalers.

In practice, all sorts of wholes started popping up in the 3-tier system. Wineries got a lot of political clout during the end of the last century, and successfully lobbied their state gov'ts to let them sell direct to visitors. This started in the west coast. Then along came NY and MI, who did the same for their wineries, but still forbid out-of-state wineries from shipping into the state. So if you lived in NYC and visited a winery in the Finger Lakes, you could go home and call them up for direct shipment, but not a winery you visited in California. Out of state wineries would still first have to get their product listed by an NY wholesaler.

In a weird split (not ideological), 5 Supreme Court Justices said this kind of discrimination violated the commerce clause. The reason it was only 5 was because Section 2 of the 21st Amendment actually gave states a lot of leeway to develop insane parochial laws.

Happy to go on and talk about ramifications here... it's a very interesting landscape that's shifting all the time.

FelixTease12 karma


200proofcraft27 karma

Best answer (seriously not trying to cop out) is that I love trying new things. Putting that aside though, I'm at the point where I really prefer high proof spirits... 45%abv-62.5%abv (often called "cask strength").

I've got a sweet tooth and I like complexity, so I look for a diverse mash bill. A "single malt" (reading that to mean 100% malted barley) could be a bit boring on its own. My favorite mash bill for unaged whiskey is Wasmund's Rye Spirit: 2/3rds rye (sweet), 1/3 malted barley (smoky).

huxley211215 karma

A "single malt" (reading that to mean 100% malted barley)

Seriously, I don't know where you are getting your information, but you are wrong here too. "Single Malt" has a legal definition in Scotland (and it's not what you are describing), and that's about it.

I am beginning to think you may not be the expert you are passing yourself off to be. I'm not an expert either, but I know enough to see that you are giving out false info as though it is fact.

200proofcraft7 karma

There is no U.S. definition of "single malt", and the term can be thrown around more loosely, hence the explanation. Btw, I do know U.S. distillers who are upset because "Single Malt Scotch Whisky" doesn't have to comply with the U.S. definition of "Malt Whisky". The reason being the U.S. says "Scotch Whisky" is any Whisky from Scotland in accordance with Scotland's laws. If the Scotch labels said "Scottish Single Malt Whisky", then they'd have to comply with U.S. definition of Malt Whisky.

stuntman294612 karma

what is the most expencive liquor you have ever sold at your store?

what liquor sells the most (brings in the most profit) ?

how aften do you get teenagers trying to buy underage from your store?

has anyone ever tried to rob your store?

what is the worst selling liquor in your store?

200proofcraft14 karma

I only sell spirits from micro-distilleries, and only online (for now) at So I don't have to worry about getting held up or shop lifting, thankfully. I check ID when I do deliveries, and likewise when I ship the box is stamped as containing alcohol, and FedEx/UPS drivers are trained to check ID.

Margins are generally higher on more expensive purchases. I'd say the average retailer makes ~$4 on a bottle in the low $20s, and maybe ~$8 on a product in the high $30s.

Whiskey is always popular, gin is probably the least popular in winter. I hope gin sales pick up as the weather warms, gin is great!

cew071914 karma

The complexities of great gins are so under appreciated, at least in the US, I think.

200proofcraft20 karma

Agreed. Also, because the legal definition of gin has been left fairly open, there's lots of room for distillers to get creative, which is a wonderful thing.

nij_ud_tur-ra-kam-17 karma

What was your opinion of Rampart?

200proofcraft6 karma

Haven't heard of it, can you provide a link?

EtherealSilver11 karma

I have a pretty severe peanut/tree nut allergy so trying new kinds of liquors is a bit scary for me. Despite this, I've tried my fair share during undergrad. I've never run into a bottle with ingredients or additives listed, though.

Do you think think there will be any progress with this in the near future?

Even a simple listing of common allergens in the product would be helpful, since most companies jealously guard any information about what they put into their liquor (at least the representatives I've been directed to do).

200proofcraft17 karma

Canada may be your savior, last summer (I believe) they started requiring beverage alcohol labels to have allergy warnings. If there's no allergy risk, then I gather they don't have to have the warning... obviously I'd want to double check that if I were you, but that could be a good start.

CriticalDog8 karma

Do you have an opinion on the Wiggle Whiskey being made in Pittsburgh?

I love the idea of artisanal spirits but I'm afraid my wallet does not. Lol

200proofcraft7 karma

I've tried it and liked it a lot, from what I know they seem legit (meme reference not intended!). Would like to stock them.

bangtime8 karma

Are there any $10-$20 bottles of whiskey out there that are truly great?

200proofcraft16 karma

Tons! As much as I love to support craft spirits, I don't dislike the taste of major labels' whiskies. In DC you can find 1.75L of Canadian Club for $17... "Old Grandad" is cheap too and I like it.

Babel_Rouser8 karma

Thoughts on Templeton Rye from IOWA?

200proofcraft5 karma

I've never tried it, but I wouldn't be so sure it's from Iowa. I've read that it's from MGP Ingredients (formerly known as LDI):

RaypRaypTheRapeApe7 karma

This has been one of the most fascinating AMAs. Thank you.

200proofcraft5 karma


tikitaki4717 karma

How do you feel about underage drinking? Specifically fake identification.

200proofcraft20 karma

I definitely think the legal drinking age should be lowered. May as well learn to drink at a pub where there will be someone responsible around as opposed to house parties.

Kozi476 karma

What is one liquor that is just a complete marketing scam? I've always thought vodka but I've heard some people say that scotch/bourbon/whiskey are all about marketing.

And what's a good port in your opinion? I'm partial to the Taylor floodgate 10year tawny.

200proofcraft9 karma

Tough to say. Vodka is the most dependent on marketing nonsense, but at least they're not usually asking for more than $40. So I'm tempted to say whiskeys (inc. scotch/bourbon/etc), even though whiskey is my favorite spirit and I have a glass every day.

Don't have a favorite port, but I do like madeira a lot in the evening.

SonsofWorvan5 karma

Yes, you are 100 percent correct. Some "craft" distillers are even more shiftier. They buy a base spirit, put some botanicals into it for a few days and then re-distill it. I don't have a huge problem with that per se because alcohol is alcohol at the chemical level, but I hate it when they use the terms artisan or craft to describe it. A real artisan would make their own alcohol through fermentation, not re-distill a neutral spirit they added some different flavors to.

200proofcraft10 karma

Yea I mean it's a tough call for gin. The real art is in the herbs, clearly, so you don't want to foreclose a gin just because bulk GNS was used.

For whiskey, to be "craft", I do expect 100% grain to glass mashing, fermenting, distilling.

zzy3355 karma

Which liquors are actually worth the money for the more expensive stuff? Rums? Whiskey?

200proofcraft18 karma

Well, that's tough to say. Personally, I'm not remotely impressed by claims of 10year+ ageing. One company, called Terressentia (I've visited their plant), has a process for removing unpleasant congeners (rapid ageing, but better). They can take white dog whiskey, put it through their machines, and 6 hours later it'll beat a 20yo Scotch in a blind taste test. So truth be told, I don't think liquor should ever be too expensive (check your region's taxes though).

I have locavore tendencies - I'm happy to pay a premium to support a nearby farmer and a nearby distiller. It's actually amazing to me that micro-distillers can make a gin for $30 and still squeak out a profit, compared to major-labels which buy bulk GNS for $2 a liter.

bloodflart5 karma

what do you think about people that just buy a bottle of evan williams kentucky straight bourbon whiskey for $10?

200proofcraft28 karma

Good on them!!!! Evan Williams is great bourbon and incredible value. Smart buyers.

debaux105 karma

Would Johnny walker blue label be considered overpriced as compared to say, red label or chivas (or any other similar whisky), or is it actually worth it? Single malt whisky?

200proofcraft13 karma

One thing you can be certain of: when you buy a blended whiskey, you actually have no idea what you're getting (beyond a certain taste associated with that label). Prices do not reflect cost to the producer, they reflect what the market will pay.

For Single Malt whiskey that is distilled & bottled by a certain distillery, the prices are more likely to be grounded in actual supply & demand.

Socky_McPuppet5 karma

Northern Virginia resident here.

I think you might just have found yourself a new customer, Mr. Benoit :)

200proofcraft6 karma


Deep_Fried_Neon4 karma

If I'm looking to distill my own spirits in my backyard or kitchen, what's the best one to get started with - in terms of being able to make a quality product in a very small batch? Vodka, Gin, Bourbon? I like all kinds of liquor so I'm open to any suggestions. I'm willing to put in as much work as needed, but space might be very limited.

200proofcraft25 karma

Well, my first recommendation is move to New Zealand, the only country I know of where home distilling isn't a criminal offense.

Once you're in New Zealand, I'd recommend starting out with whiskey mash bills (inc. Bourbon if you like). Unless you're spending serious coin, you won't be able to afford a column still (or artisan hybrid pot/column still) necessary to properly make vodka or gin. For whiskey, you don't need as much separation, so you can DIY with a small 13 gallon pot still.

headbanger1414 karma

Alright, truth be told, I'm clueless for the most part about spirits, but I know that I enjoy them more than I enjoy beer. That being said, any suggestions on good bourbon?

200proofcraft6 karma

No worries... got to admit I struggle with bourbon recommendations. I like bourbon a lot, but I tend to like them all. The gov't is pretty strict about using the word bourbon (min 51% corn and stored at not more than 62.5% abv (125 proof) in charred new oak containers). So there's a bit less diversity than in the broader whiskey segment.

robotopera3 karma

At my local liquor store I've noticed that the unit price of liquor tends to go up significantly as volume goes up. Is this the store or the manufacturer assuming I can't do basic math?

200proofcraft14 karma

That's really weird. In my experience looking at wholesalers catalogs, 1.75L gets you the most bang for your buck, which is what'd you presume.

calico_cat3 karma

Someone told me that "x year spirit" only needs a drop of X year old spirit to mean the label can say that. So you can have a bottle of 5 year old whisk(e)y and a minimal amount of 15 year old, and the bottle can say 15 year old like it's pure. Is that true?

200proofcraft2 karma

Yes, kind of / sort of. Lots of loopholes. The easy rule is that once it's ID'd as blended whiskey, all bets are off.

nakedtulip3 karma

What's the different between the cheapest and expansive rums, if both of them list the same ingredients (distilled sugarcane juice, water). I know there are many different kind of beers with the same ingredients, but I wonder if it's the same with rum.

200proofcraft5 karma

Beyond feedstock, other things can affect the taste, most notably the size and type of still, and I guess ageing, but it's tough to say. The ingredients could have been slightly different... rum can be from the fermented juice of sugar cane, sugar cane syrup, sugar cane molasses or other sugar cane by-products.

I had Dogfish Head Brown Honey Rum - really liked it.

nillotampoco3 karma

Why can't you ship to Texas? :(

200proofcraft8 karma

Oh man, Texas is the worst! And by worst I mean they divert a lot of their police power resources to make sure Texans only buy from Texas retailers, and not a retailer in some other state:

I used to live in Austin, TX, and loved my time there, makes me sad that I can't ship to friends there.

asthomps3 karma

How awesome is Canadian Liquor? Thank you guys for saving us during prohibition...

200proofcraft5 karma

I hear great things about these guys:

TheExcellence2 karma

I'm currently studying abroad in Italy and I would like to know why the vodka we buy freezes in our freezer? We bought both smirnoff and absolute, and both still had the twist off tags still intact and fresh. And no one put water in the vodka either. Any idea why this is the case in Italy? I've never had this happen to me in the states.

200proofcraft8 karma

I'd check the temp setting of that freezer... also, you can buy an alcohol hydrometer for $30 online if you ever want to be certain about the ABV.

ben987652 karma

This thread has been insanely helpful and pretty much changed the way I will buy booze from now on. My question is Jack Daniels. Its been my go to drink for it legit?

200proofcraft2 karma

Yes, Jack Daniels is legit, and I admire Brown-Forman (the corporate brand owner) to be a great company.

missdanielleloves2 karma

I heard that Grey Goose was total crap and a complete sham because they put more into their labeling than the liquor. Do you agree/could you explain this a little better to me?

200proofcraft9 karma

Yes, I've heard the same, that the science doesn't support GG's success. But what you need to know is that vodka is a neutral spirit, it's not supposed to have any flavor. All beverage alcohol is a chemical solution of some sort, you never get to 100% alcohol in the commercial marketplace. For vodka though, the alcohol should be as thoroughly distilled as possible (congeners removed), and then cut back down with water with a specific ph level. Getting that high degree of distillation costs more than a lower level, which a fuel ethanol refinery could just do on the side for you.

Whiskey is different, you want a lot of the congeners from the grain to carry over during the distillation.

thegreatgazoo2 karma

How much do you drink?

200proofcraft6 karma

Daily, but in moderation. Usually a beer or two around dinner time, later on a good size glass of whiskey when I'm ready to go to bed.

A great part of this work though is being invited to tastings. DC has some cool wholesalers who put on good events.

KingsfullOfTwos1 karma

Always wanted to know this, and I'm sure its an easy answer: but why are certain liquors not sold in the US or hard to get in the US? I guess some examples that come to mind would be Johnny Walker Double Black (which is now widely available in the US) or Hennessy White. I always thought it was due to alcoholic content being too high, but its exactly the same here. What standards do they follow in choosing what can be sold in the US?

200proofcraft3 karma

I think that'd be entirely decisions of their brand owners, not any regulatory issue. Both Diageo (Walker) and LVMH have no problem with U.S. distribution channels.

Betelgeuse281 karma

I might have to swing by and check out your store this weekend.

Edit: Nevermind you only sell online.

200proofcraft4 karma

I would love to have a B&M store some day and do tastings. If I did that now though, overhead pressure would demand that I have a ton of volume, and most micro distillers aren't in a position to be sending one B&M shop a pallet a week.

christosbern1 karma

No disrespect, but there is major difference between "cheap" vodka, and "premium" vodka such as Beluga.

You say all you are looking for is purity, but, its all 40%, and the other factors of production do matter when you consider taste.

200proofcraft8 karma

There's certainly good & bad vodka! Didn't mean to imply otherwise. But words like "premium" are not backed up by testing / regs, so anyone can just use 'em.

pashadag1 karma

have you tried reyka?

200proofcraft1 karma

Haven't tried it, but just looked them up. It's owned by William Grant & Sons, a big player. I'd note that it doesn't seem to say (based on Google Image search of front label) that it's actually distilled in Iceland. "Hand crafted" tells you nothing. I assume the worst, which is that high proof GNS is shipped in, watered down, and packaged as Icelandic vodka.

nulboard1 karma

With this all given, what are the indicators of stuff that's actually worth the money?

200proofcraft8 karma

Thankfully it's 2013, and it's not hard to check out if something's legit. Best answer is check out the distillery's Facebook page. Most distillers want to show off their work. If they've only got one small still, and you can't find their product, then the scarcity can certainly be real.

IMO ageing is way, way overhyped by the established industry, who are sitting on warehouses full of the stuff.

jhp581 karma

What are your thoughts on the current obsession of the Pappy Van Winkle line of bourbons, among other high end bourbons? The fact that people are harassing liquor store owners to the point that some owners will refuse to purchase PVW in order to avoid the harassment is crazy to me.

Also, have you ever stocked Pappy or any other super-premium bourbons? If so, what was your experience with the distillery to acquire them? And do you have any leftover I can have :)

200proofcraft5 karma

Here is an excellent post re: the PVW goings-on:

Haven't ever stocked them. With a major label like that, I'd only ever be able to deal with their DC-designated wholesaler. Besides a visit from a brand ambassador, major labels don't interface with retailers.

No plans to stock PVW either... nothing against them in particular at all though. With Federal Spirits though, I'm trying to bring more diversity to the marketplace, so am sourcing from small upstarts doing their own distilling. Believe me they're making great stuff (plenty of independent reviews online) and I think we'll all benefit from more distillers in the marketplace.

roaddog1 karma

We've recently become gin martini aficionados. Our go-to gin is Bombay Sapphire, but we love 'The Botanist' when we can find it. We hate Hendrix (too much cukes!). You've got a nice looking selection on your site...recommendations???

200proofcraft4 karma

My current favorite is Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin, I even drink it neat! Lots going on which appeals to me.

DungeonPony1 karma

Cheapest vodka with the least hangover?

200proofcraft2 karma

Contact Terressentia and see if they have a vodka label in your area. Hopefully the private label owner isn't being too greedy with their margin... but they could deliver at a rock bottom price point and they do an excellent job.

IvyGold1 karma

What are your recommendations for the best bang for the buck in Scotch? I've been on a Glen Morangie 10-year-old tear lately, but am wondering what else is out there at that price point.

(BTW I live in DC, so this likely would result in a sale.)

200proofcraft5 karma

if you like Scotch, pick up a bottle of Wasmund's Single Malt Spirit, distilled in Virginia. The barley was developed at Virginia Tech in their seed development farm, and he malts it himself. You can also pick it up aged, as Wasmund's Single Malt Whisky:

beingforthebenefit1 karma

So why are you singling out liquor? This is all Advertising 101.

200proofcraft2 karma

I guess what really upsets me is the marketers who are trying to free ride off the hard work of actual micro-distilleries. This is a good example of what I'm talking about:

Sundown4071 karma

I heard if you put cheap whiskey through a britta water filter a few times, it should give you less of a hangover. Is this true?

200proofcraft3 karma

Not sure, but wouldn't think so. The congeners that give you a hang over would be a bit harder to get at... and most distillers are already using like a 1-micron filter.

GoldenRule110 karma

Give us a list of your most approved liquors of each kind if you could. best vodka best absinth etc etc. Teach us your ways.

200proofcraft1 karma

Hah thanks, well I certainly stand behind all my inventory: