What’s new for bourbon this year? This loaded question requires a little background in alcohol marketing and business practices. Beer has seasonal releases as brewers use seasonal ingredients to spice up or sweetin the brews. The special releases bolster mainstay brand and the line extensions play an important role in beer marketing.
Winemakers use similar tactics when championing vintages. For the record, 2009 and 2010 were incredible Bordeaux years. “The weather was perfect,” the French say of these years. The fermented beverages never quite taste the same, creating a beautiful imbibing journey and giving consumers something to look forward to every year.
However, bourbon is a little different. For most of the 20th Century, bourbon brands didn’t have annual releases. Then, in the mid-1980s, George T. Stagg (now Buffalo Trace Distilllery) master distiller Elmer T. Lee came up with the idea for a single-barrel product, giving consumers a taste of inconsistency and special barrels for which to hunt.
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