WASHINGTON, D.C. – Eighty years after Prohibition Repeal, states across the country have greatly modernized their alcohol markets but some Prohibition legacies linger, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.
In 1920, the 18th
Amendment, popularly known as “Prohibition,” outlawed alcohol in the United States making America a “dry” country. Thirteen years later on December 5th
, 1933, most of the country agreed Prohibition was a complete policy debacle and overwhelmingly ratified the 21st
Amendment repealing the 18th
– to this day the only Constitutional amendment repealing another amendment.
“While the Government originally envisioned Prohibition to be a ‘noble experiment in social engineering,’ the effort completely failed to deliver its promised benefits and actually made things much worse,” said DISCUS President Peter Cressy, noting that Prohibition increased crime and exacerbated alcohol abuse. “Over the past eight decades, there has been tremendous modernization within the industry; however, some prohibition legacies still remain inconveniencing consumers and impeding economic growth.”
For example, Cressy cited, 12 states still ban Sunday spirits sales at package stores; six states ban all forms of spirits tastings; and, one state (South Carolina) continues the truly anachronistic ban on alcohol sales during state and national Election Days – a throwback to the period when saloons often served as polling stations.
“Consumer demand for greater choice and convenience has resulted in a more modern marketplace across the country and a boom in innovative spirits products around the globe,” Cressy said.
States are increasingly repealing outdated Blue Laws as a means to increase revenue without raising taxes, according to Cressy, who noted that 16 states have repealed Sunday sales bans since 2002 for a total of 38 states. Further, he said, the last decade has seen an increase in spirits market share among beverage alcohol products, greater consumer interest in premium spirits products, and record export growth.
“As America marks this historic Anniversary of Prohibition Repeal, let’s raise a toast to those states that took a stand 80 years ago against one of the biggest policy fiascos in American history and set the stage for today’s robust American spirits market,” Cressy concluded.
Prohibition’s Lingering Legacies
- Dry Counties. Eighty years later, there are still hundreds of dry counties across the United States today that partially or completely restrict alcohol consumption – mostly across the South and West.
- Sunday Sales. Twelve states still ban Sunday spirits sales, including: AL, IN, MN, MS, MT, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX, UT, and WV. Notably, Indiana remains the only state in the country which still bans all beer, wine and spirits sales at package stores on Sundays.
- Spirits Sampling Restrictions. Six states still ban all forms of spirits sampling, including: AK, GA, MT, NC, OK, and UT.
- Neo-Prohibitionists. Neo-prohibitionists continue to promote misguided “population-based controls” as a means of restricting alcohol sales. The most popular examples of these population-based controls include tax increases which lead to higher prices; bans on advertising and marketing; and excessive restrictions on market access.
Trend of Modernization
- Since 2002, 16 states have joined the list of states that allow Sunday spirits sales for a total of 38 states, including most recently Connecticut (2012).
- In 2011, Georgia passed local option legislation allowing Sunday alcohol sales. Since then, more than 200 communities have voted in favor of Sunday alcohol sales, including major population centers such as Atlanta (82%-18%), Macon (62%-38%), and Savannah (60%-40%), among others.
- Since 2004, Texans have marched to the polls to rally for alcohol modernization. Of the 665 local wet/dry elections since 2004, nearly 80% have gone “wet.” In November, voters in Arlington, TX overwhelmingly favored alcohol sales 70%-30%.
For more information on Prohibition and its Repeal, please visit: ProhibitionRepeal.com.
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Diageo has partnered with Brooks Brothers on a joint holiday initiative featuring Johnnie Walker. The partnership includes release of a limited edition Brooks Brothers 1818 Johnnie Walker Blue Label bottle that retails at $249 and celebrates the year of Brooks Brothers’ founding. 1,818 individually numbered bottles were made. Other offerings include a silk Brooks Brothers limited edition tie featuring Johnnie Walker’s Striding Man ($75) and, for $10,000, the Johnnie Walker Brooks Brothers Experience, the centerpiece of which is an at-home Scotch tasting led by a Johnnie Walker Master of Whisky.
All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily
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Cointreau has become the ubiquitous triple sec for use in cocktails. And for good reason. You can read my thoughts about it here. The brand has now branched out into the curacao category with Cointreau Noir.
So, what’s the difference between a triple sec and a curacao? Basically (although some may argue this point) curacao has a brandy base and triple sec has a neutral grain spirit base. The differences are noticeable, but the important thing is to use a high quality version in your cocktails.
Cointreau Noir (80 proof)
Visual: Bright copper.
Nose: Orange oil essence with an undercurrent of rich cognac.
Taste: A burst of warm orange, but much drier and less sweet than Cointreau. Slightly dry and dark with a viscous mouth feel.
Finish: The cognac element seems to overtake the orange after half a minute and subdues the sweetness. It has an almost barrel-aged effect on the liqueur.
Overall: Perfect on its own, but also great in cocktails that call for Triple Sec or Curacao. It makes for an overall lighter mouthfeel than regular Cointreau.
GSN Rating: A-
For more information go to: Cointreau
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The town of Tullamore in Ireland has a long and interesting history of firsts. The original distillery (no longer extant) was built in 1829. Daniel E. Williams (the D.E.W. in the name) who became general manager in the 1880′s brought electricity, telephones and motor cars to the town. In a very real sense, he brought the town into the modern era through whiskey.
The other notable event which took place in Tullamore was the world’s first major aviation disaster. On May 10, 1785, a hot air balloon crashed in the town and the resulting explosion caused well over 100 homes to burn down. And yet, this tragedy drew the community together, and like the phoenix, they rose and rebuilt the town again. To this day, they hold a yearly Phoenix Festival, and their coat of arms depicts a phoenix rising from ashes.
So, to commemorate these two key events, Tullamore DEW has debuted a limited edition high-proof whiskey. A triple distilled blend of grain, malt and pot still whiskies, it is aged in old oloroso sherry casks and bottled at 55% ABV.
Tullamore D.E.W. Phoenix (110 proof)
Visual: Sunny gold.
Nose: Lots of woody top notes, layered with vanilla essence.
Taste: Smooth and almost chocolatey with a creamy mouthfeel. Lots going on here, due to the higher proof. Adding a splash of branch water brings out more caramel and vanilla with a dry, bittersweet edge.
Finish: Remarkable and long-lasting. There is a richness and body here, which few Irish whiskies have attained.
Overall: A lovely whiskey which should be in every enthusiasts bar. I hope that they decided to produce it on a regular basis.
GSN Rating: A
For more information go to: Tullamore D.E.W.
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It’s fairly unusual that a vodka distillery uses more than one type of fermentable starch. So, I was quite intrigued to try a line of three different vodkas made by Chopin. Chopin originally made only a potato version, but have added wheat and rye to their portfolio. All three are completely different in flavor and character, which pretty much ends any ill-informed argument that all vodkas are alike.
Chopin is made in the town of Krzesk in the Podlasie region of Poland. They use locally grown products in their vodka, which is distilled four times and then blended with local artesian well water. Who is pictured on the bottle? None other than the inestimable Frederic Chopin. You can learn more about his life here.
Chopin Rye (80 proof)
Nose: Fresh, bright, crisp with slightly spicy notes.
Taste: Clean with a lot of spice. A lot of high notes with intense body.
Finish: Medium long with a slightly tannic quality.
Overall: A strong well-done rye vodka.
GSN Rating: B+
Chopin Wheat (80 proof)
Nose: A dark and creamy roundness with hints of vanilla bean.
Taste: Mild, smooth and with a full creamy mouth-feel.
Finish: Medium long with a lovely creaminess.
Overall: Really nice and quite elegant.
GSN Rating: A
Chopin Potato (80 proof)
Nose: Mild and even-tempered with a slightly sweet midrange of scent.
Taste: Smooth and creamy with a full mouth feel and an organic flavor.
Finish: Medium with a somewhat chalky aftertaste.
Overall: Fairly mellow and rich. Almost chewy.
GSN Rating: B+
For more information go to: Chopin Vodka
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Edrington Group’s Cutty Sark brand is planning to release Cutty Sark Tam o’Shanter, a new, limited edition Scotch whisky. Made from a blend of 25-year-old stocks, the luxury offering is packaged in an oak gift box, alongside a book of illustrations by the Scottish painter Alexander Goudie. Just 5,000 bottles of Tam o’Shanter are being produced, priced at around $300 a bottle.
Campari America’s Wild Turkey is re-releasing its Wild Turkey 101 Rye expression in key U.S. markets following a one-year absence. The 101-proof offering will be available in 1-liter bottles across 21 markets, in the on-premise only. Although availability of 101 Rye will remain limited, Campari’s Wild Turkey 81 Rye ($22.99 a 750-ml.)—which is made with four- to five-year-old rye whiskey—will continue to be available nationwide.
Beam Inc. has linked up with Cinnabon to create a new Cinnamon roll-flavored Pinnacle vodka. The new product will hit select markets on December 1, with a nationwide rollout slated for January 1. The launch will be backed by a sampling tour targeting brunch and happy hour soirees. Pinnacle Cinnabon is 70-proof and will retail at $12.99 a 750-ml.
Suntory Ltd. has launched a new artisanal vodka brand, Ao, in the United States. The 40%-abv offering, made with Japanese rice, is produced via a proprietary pot still method at a small distillery in Osumi, Kyushu. Currently available exclusively in the New York metro market—where it’s imported by by Suntory USA and distributed by Southern Wine & Spirits—Ao is priced at $50 a 750-ml.
All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily
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Plantation continues to set the bar quite high for affordable and well made rums. I’ve previously reviewed much of the Plantation portfolio here.
Their latest entry is a double-aged dark spirit, blending rums from Trinidad and Tobago. To create the effect, the rum is aged in charred American oak barrels. Then select 3-5 year old barrels are married to an 8-year-old rum. This blend is then aged yet again for a year to a year and a half in ex-Cognac oak barrels. This technique obviously works quite well for Plantation, as they use it in many of their signature styles.
Plantation Original Dark Rum (80 proof) $17.99 750ml
Visual: Medium gold.
Nose: Rich, molasses sweetness with a smokey high note. Fragrance of caramel, vanilla and aged wood.
Taste: Exceptionally smooth with more top notes than are usual in a dark rum. Sweet caramel and burnt sugar with milk cream. The wood aging works well to offset the sweetness by lending a bitter edge.
Finish: Fairly long with a hearty molasses touch.
Overall: This rum is great in a Dark & Stormy, Mai Tai or rum based punch. A lot of depth and character lifts this well above other similarly priced rums.
GSN Rating: B+
For more information go to: Plantation Rum
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