Sourcing The Sources // Where does it all come from?
It’s understood amongst most professionals in the world of whiskey that many expressions, whether it be a Scottish Highland Malt, a Peated Irish, or a Straight Bourbon, may source their juice from another – sometimes many other – distiller(s). Indeed, it’s a relatively common practice within the industry – but one the consumer, more often than not, isn’t aware is taking place.
In Scotland (and the UK as a whole), it’s completely commonplace, and there are shops and brands who will invite you eagerly to make your own blends of various malts.
But here in America, where the ‘craft’ spirit industry is taking off hard and fast, there can often be a lack of clarity as to where exactly your whiskey is coming from. In his piece at Askmen, Robert Haynes-Peterson attempts a deeper dive into the source of the juice and what can define a ‘craft’ spirit in this growing market. Where larger brands have a high barrier to entry when creating a new expression from a business standpoint, the smaller, more startup-like brands can move more quickly to adapt, blend, and create something new –
"I think there are three kinds of craft distillers," says distillery consultant David Pickerell. "The people who build their own equipment and start from ground zero, the people who make their own products from scratch, and the people who are third-party merchants, starting with something someone else made, adding something of their own, then marketing the living daylights out of it. All three are craft, but all three are different."
It’s a fascinating read, really – whether you’re well aware or new to the practice. There is one point in the piece that truly strikes home though, as made by Mr. Pickerell (also quoted above) – “There are people who cry foul… But I ask again, ‘Do you like it?’”
As the whiskey market continues to boom, and brands search for new expressions and blends and labels to create this practice will certainly continue. So focus on the one thing that really matters in the whole process of whiskey discovery – Do you like it?
Source: The Truth About Craft Spirits [Robert Haynes-Peterson // Askmen.com]
Image: Whisky Barrels [Wikimedia Commons]