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An Accidental Afternoon at Smooth Ambler Spirits

An Accidental Afternoon at Smooth Ambler Spirits Header

Smooth Ambler is a beautiful enigma in the world of craft bourbon distilling, because they offer not only amazing palates in choosing and blending sourced bourbon but also the drive and ambition to craft whiskey from grain to glass in the heart of West Virginia. On a recent vacation we stumbled upon the SAS distillery simply because we happened to exit the highway on the same exit as the distillery, stuck around town until the tasting room opened, and went over for the visit. My visit to Smooth Ambler Spirits was the happiest accident I think I’ll ever experience, and here is why: Continue Reading →

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Safe Ride Home: Thanks Campari!

This press release came across my desk last week courtesy of the folks at Campari. I thought it was a pretty cool use of emerging technology to connect with alcohol consumers. Liquor brands have had a hard time figuring out how to use digital and mobile technologies to connect with consumers in a sustainable and impactful manner while conforming to all the rules and laws around those of legal drinking age (LDA). I’m curious to see if Campari continues to use this approach based on initial results. Continue Reading →

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Happy 4th of July


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Sour or Sweet: The Father of Modern Bourbon

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The last time you found yourself at Ye Olde Liquor Store, your eyes might have wandered to the bottom shelf where labels are stuffed with text emphasizing the quality and heritage of the bourbon, proudly boasting, “SOUR MASH WHISKEY.” You might have wondered what that even meant as you settled up for your bottle of Evan Williams, and why very few other bourbon brands boast this quality of their whiskey so proudly.

The early nineteenth century was a cluster of a great variety of bourbon quality, from excellent products to worse-than-rotgut to everything in-between. Distillers, including commercial and farmer-distillers, usually utilized two processes to create mash for producing whiskey: sour mash and sweet mash. These processes are exactly the same in regards to the amount of grain in the mash, the mash bill, fermentation, and yeast, but with one essential difference: the sour mash process includes a portion of spent mash from the previous distillation, just like sourdough bread contains a portion of dough from a previous batch of bread. It was the distiller’s preference for whether they chose to distill sweet mash or sour mash that day, and distillers didn’t specify which mash produced the whiskey they sold. Continue Reading →

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