Interesting Developments from the Big Boys of Whiskey

There have been a few interesting announcements from some of the big Kentucky-based distillers over the past few weeks. First came news that the Early Times name would be returning to the American bourbon bottles. For the past 30 years Brown Forman has produced Early Times Bourbon for overseas market, but limited the brand to the "Kentucky Whiskey" label in the U.S., the distinction being that the Kentucky Whiskey product spent some time in previously-used barrels, a no-no for bourbons. The new U.S. market Early Times Bourbon will be called Early Times 354 in reference to the Early Times distillery's original distilling license number. It is being launched first in select markets, and is competing in the $15-$20 price range. I'm not a huge fan of Early Times Kentucky Whiskey, but I'm hopeful that the bourbon will be an improvement and I look forward to sampling it.

The next piece of interesting news also comes from Brown Forman. The company is launching a new Canadian whisky to be called Collingwood. It's coming to market in four states (KY, FL, LA, and TX) in February with a target price of $26.99. After maturing in oak this whisky will be finished in maple wood, and Brown Forman claims it will be the only maple-finished Canadian whisky on the market. I think the increase in more distinctive Canadian whisky bottlings is a great development, and I look forward to comparing Collingwood with Forty Creek and Pendleton, two surprisingly good Canadian products that have come out in the past few years.

Finally, it's not a new product, but Old Pogue Bourbon is looking for a new home. To be more accurate the Pogue family is looking to move production back to its original home in Maysville, KY. Old Pogue, a Heaven Hill brand, is currently distilled in Bardstown, KY, but if everything goes according to plan Old Pogue could be made in Maysville starting in as little as one year. The town in Northeastern Kentucky is where the Pogue family originally began distilling in 1876.