Category: Production

The Wonders of Wood: Cooperages and alcohol producers are expanding the roles barrels can play in altering or refining a beverage’s flavor profile.

A well-built barrel provides alcohol beverage producers the opportunity to fully take advantage of the alchemy that occurs when juice or mash comes in contact with wood. And a finished wine, beer, cider, or spirit can take on even more complexity if it spends time in a used barrel—kissed by the impression of another beverage.   The barrel family tree According to Henry H. Work in Wood, Whiskey and Wine: A History of Barrels, wooden barrels were developed by the Celts in the first millennium BC. As their design and quality became increasingly refined between 1300 BC and AD...

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John Drew Brands Announces Leadership Team

Entrepreneur and “market disruptor” Jonathan Drew has assembled a team to lead his John Drew Brands, which will focus on the alcohol beverage category. Drew will serve as CEO and be joined by President Nancy Berkowitz, National Sales Manager Steve Chernoff, and National Director of Brand Development Frank Moreno. Also supporting the new venture are Joey Reichenbach and Sam Morales, creative director and director of marketing at Drew Estate, respectively (DE is the premium cigar company Drew founded in 1998). John Drew Brands’ first product releases include Brixton Mash Destroyer (a blend of Kentucky bourbon and Florida rum), Dove...

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Guest Column: Save Money Using R&D Tax Credits

By constantly generating new and improved products, wineries, breweries, cideries, and distilleries are continually refining their manufacturing and distribution techniques and developing new packaging processes. These activities can qualify for the research and development (R&D) tax credit, but many alcoholic beverage producers aren’t using the credit because of misconceptions about who can claim it and for what kind of work—even though it could save them up to 10 percent of annual R&D costs for federal purposes and much more when state credits are factored in.   The R&D Tax Credit The R&D tax credit has the potential to offset...

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Inside Cider: Cider on the Cusp

The California wine industry is such a powerhouse that it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t always so. American wine was barely alive by the end of Prohibition. California grape farmers had largely switched to growing raisin and table grapes. In the decades following repeal of the Volstead Act, winemakers were content to use grapes such as Thompson Seedless to make the sweet and/or fortified wines then popular with consumers. Without an informed body of wine drinkers, there was little incentive to change, especially for farmers. Grapes were sold based on their sugar content, and winemakers were generally unwilling...

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Inside Spirits: Lessons from the Barrel Shortage

At a 2014 craft spirits conference in Seattle, Wash., I gave an hour-long presentation about barrels. I was somewhat shocked at the time to find more than 100 people packing the small room, with many who couldn’t get in craning their heads in the doorway. I feared everyone expected something more entertaining than, you know, a talk about staves and bungs. But I soon learned they just wanted to know where they could buy barrels: The Great Barrel Shortage of 2014-15 was underway. By most accounts, the shortage was the result of a three-way collision. First, bourbon was on...

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