Wisconsin currently allows sampling of beer and wine in licensed retailers. Spirits are not allowed to be sampled in those same licensed stores. Unfortunate because sampling is a responsible method of marketing our products and it helps the consumer make an informed choice. Quality spirits tend to be sold at a higher price point which discourages an impulse buy for consumers. Our best marketing? Getting people to taste our products. Consumers win because they can make an informed decision as to whether they want to spend their dollars on our products or not. In store sampling is currently permitted in 38 states including every state surrounding Wisconsin, so why not us?
The basic answer is that no one has asked- until recently. Over the last four years there have been at least three attempts by the spirits industry to get this law changed. A Wisconsin Assembly Bill AB344 would correct this. Unfortunately opponents of allowing spirits tastings like to spread misinformation. Typically they like to paint a picture of people going on drunken rampages in stores, they claim that havoc will break out when people are doing “shots” in the super market aisles. They also like to say that spirits are somehow worse than beer or wine. The fact is the amount we’d like to be able to sample (3 half ounce samples max) has an alcohol content that falls just between what is currently allowed for beer and wine sampling in Wisconsin stores.
As distillers, we’re not asking for preferential treatment, just a level playing field with beer and wine producers. Wisconsin currently has 15 beverage distilleries open or in the works. Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, and Iowa let us sample in their states, it’s a shame we can’t in our own home state.
Next Post: Why would anyone be against sampling?
It is generally believed distillation separates the gluten from the final spirit.
We frequently get customers asking us about the gluten content of our spirits. Several organizations that provide guidance on gluten free diets say that distillation separates gluten from the final spirit even when the source grain includes gluten (a good post highlighting these reports here). The US government claims they have not seen an adequate test to determine whether a spirit made with wheat, barley, or rye is truly gluten free. Therefore, a distillery cannot label a product made from the distillation of those grains as gluten free.
If you have a sensitivity to gluten, an abundance of experts say you shouldn’t have any problem resulting from the consumption of any distilled spirits. If you’re not convinced that distillation results in a gluten free spirit and you want to play it safe, drink our Rehorst Gin. Rehorst Citrus & Honey Vodka, Roaring Dan’s Rum, Amerique 1912 Absinthe, or our Artisan Series Fruit Brandies. There is no possibility of gluten in these products since none of the raw ingredients contain any gluten before distillation. Our straight Rehorst Vodka, our Pumpkin Spirit, and Kinnickinnic Whiskey are the only products we make with grains that have gluten.
Update 11/18/2013- Fred Minnick writes in Scientific American about Gluten in distilled spirits and that the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is close to finalizing standards for what spirits can be called Gluten free. Read it here.
The World Whisky Awards took place March 21st 2013 in London, UK. More than 300 Whiskies from around the world were sampled in three rounds of blind tastings. According to Whisky Magazine, Judges were drawn from the best drinks journalists and retailers around the world, with industry representatives made up of master blenders, distillers and brand ambassadors in the final round.
This isn’t the first accolade our Blend has won. In 2012 we won a Gold Medal at both the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the Denver International Spirits Competition.
Many american blended whiskies contain Neutral Grain Spirit- this is essentially vodka. In fact the government allows as little as 20% whiskey and as much as 80% NGS to produce a blended whiskey.
Distiller Doug nosing a glass of Whiskey.
Kinnickinnic Whiskey is different. It has NO neutral grain spirits and is a blend of three distinct whiskies including a Bourbon, Malt and Rye Whiskey. Master Distiller Doug MacKenzie painstakingly blends the product to taste in small batches of approximately 1000 bottles each.
Named for a Native American word translating to “what is mixed”, Kinnickinnic Whiskey is currently available in 23 states. It might be hard to find, but it’s out there- and we think it’s well worth the hunt!
As a producer of absinthe we spend a lot of our time explaining the myths and facts that surround absinthe. The short hand version is that basically everything anyone has told you about it being a hallucinogen is a lie. It will not drive you insane nor will it put you into seizures. Absinthism is what people were said to be afflicted with if they had any number of frightening symptoms and it was a total lie. Excepting the fact that absinthe is generally higher in alcohol content, It is in fact no more harmful than any other spirit.
In 2007 the US government lifted their ban on products containing Grande Wormwood and since, a number of absinthe’s have now been imported and produced here in the US. Which makes this “authoritative” medical information website’s reliance on 150 year old scientific studies a complete joke. According to the article;
Prolonged drinking of absinthe causes convulsions, blindness, hallucinations, and mental deterioration. Absinthe has been banned but something of its taste of absinthe is still available in such drinks as ouzo in Greece and in France, pastis,…”
From the way it reads you may think it was written by the French wine industry in the late 1800′s but the best part is that under the article it says “Last Editorial Review: 3/19/2012″. I can’t wait to see what they say about the current state of Blood Letting….!