Lucas Hoge on his new single, Hoge Wild and his career

Country artist and outdoorsman Lucas Hoge joins us to talk about his Sportsman Channel show Hoge Wild, traveling the world, his love of the great outdoors, growing up in a small town, getting into music, his music journey, new single Staying in Touch, supporting charities and more. Plus, Chad Watson joins us for Tasting Notes to talk about his month-long Blanton’s Challenge and what he learned from it.

SHOW NOTES:

  • Introduction to show 
  • On this week’s “Tasting Notes”, Chad Watson, aka MyDailyBourbon on Instagram and part of the Bourbon Life crew, talks about his month-long Blanton’s challenge and what he learned from it (starts around the 1-minute mark)

Lucas Hoge, chart topping country artist and host of Sportsman Channel series GSM’s Hoge Wild, joins us around the 7-minute mark.

  • How often is your name said wrong?
  • What are you drinking?
  • So how was your recent trip to South Africa?
  • How did you end up hosting a TV show on the Sportsman Channel? 
  • What’s the coolest or your favorite place you’ve gotten to visit? 
  • What is it that draws you to the outdoors? And sharing that with others?
  • Growing up in small town in Nebraska, how did that impact your career? Both the music and the outdoorsman? 
  • Is it true that your hometown of 44 helped send you off to Nashville with $2,500? 
  • How did you end up in music? I know you started playing guitar at 17. 
  • You’re a chart topping country artist, but you had a southern rock band and a worship band while in college? 
  • From the Opry stage to sharing the stage with legends, what’s the journey been like for you? 
  • Who/what type of music did you grow up with or influenced you? 
  • New single Stay in Touch 
  • Are you working toward a new album? 
  • Between the show and playing music, do you take much down time? 
  • Supporting charity, humanitarian efforts, military, why are those so important to you? 
  • Anything else folks can expect from you in 2022?

For more on Lucas, check out https://www.lucashoge.com/ or find him on social media.

What’s Pouring: Commemorative Makers Mark bottle releases today plus The Finnish Long Drink adds new market, 21st Amendment adds hazy IPA

Makers Mark Keeneland Commemorative bottle to benefit Horse Mania

Photo courtesy of Makers Mark

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Colorful life-sized horse statues will return to the community this summer and fall for the third installment of Horse Mania, an initiative put on by LexArts, greater Lexington’s premier cultural development, advocacy and fundraising organization.  

Horse Mania instills an understanding and enjoyment of public art. This year, Horse Mania is supported by the annual release of a commemorative Maker’s Mark® Bourbon bottle in partnership with Keeneland Race Course.

“No other public art initiative in our city’s history has captured the hearts and imaginations of Lexingtonians and visitors like Horse Mania,” said Ame Sweetall, LexArts President and CEO. “Public art is a hallmark of all great American cities and LexArts is thrilled to have the support of two iconic Kentucky brands, Keeneland and Maker’s Mark, in bringing Horse Mania to the streets of Lexington once again.”

For the second year, the commemorative bottle will feature one of three distinct label designs featuring the work of artists Sandra Oppegard, Andre Pater or Tyler Robertson. The labels depict the beauty and history of Thoroughbred racing.  

Each bottle is signed by the artist who created the design, along with Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin, Maker’s Mark Eighth Generation Whisky Maker & Managing Director Rob Samuels and one of three of the winningest female riders in Keeneland history: Julie Krone, Rosie Napravnik and Donna Barton Brothers.  

Maker’s Mark and Keeneland have collaborated on a commemorative bottle release every year since 1997, raising millions of dollars for a variety of worthy causes throughout Central Kentucky.

“At Maker’s Mark, we share LexArts’ commitment to celebrating and encouraging public art, such as those at our distillery in Loretto,” said Eighth Generation Whisky Maker & Managing Director Rob Samuels. “I’m proud our long partnership with Keeneland allows us to support the popular Horse Mania in such a meaningful way.”

The three bottles will go on sale Friday, April 8, opening day of Keeneland’s 2022 Spring Meet.  

The Finnish Long Drink heads to Wisconsin

The Finnish Long Drink — the citrus soda made with real liquor, built on the heritage of the legendary Finnish alcohol category of long drinks — has announced new statewide distribution into the Wisconsin market and is for sale in over 400 locations already.

Marking the brand’s next stage of expansion, after launching in Colorado, Arizona, Florida, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan last year, The Finnish Long Drink will be exclusively distributed in Wisconsin by Badger Liquor.

“One of the first U.S. based batches of the long drink were made in La Crosse, WI, and it was important for us to partner with Badger Liquor due to their extensive expertise in the market,” says Evan Burns, CEO and Co-Founder of The Finnish Long Drink. “This partnership will allow us to grow long lasting relationships with their existing customers to ensure people across Wisconsin will be able to find The Finnish Long Drink in their favorite bars, restaurants and retailers.”

Made with real liquor and fresh, sparkling citrus, the long drink was born from a desire to create a revolutionary liquor drink that was refreshing, delicious, and fast to serve during the 1952 Summer Olympic Games in Helsinki. Since then, it has become Finland’s top selling liquor category. Now, The Finnish Long Drink is on a mission to bring the national drink of Finland to America, for the nation to experience the refreshing, unique, and legendary Finnish Long Drink.

With four refreshing expressions, The Finnish Long Drink is now distributed in 26 U.S. markets, including California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Arkansas, Nebraska, Louisiana, Kentucky, Iowa, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.

It is easily available via Drizly and on thelongdrink.com. Further distribution markets are to be announced soon.

21st Amendment Brewery releases re-imagined
flagship IPA and adds a new hazy IPA

21st Amendment Brewery brings its iconic West Coast IPA, Brew Free! Or Die IPA, forward into the modern era of IPAs with a fresh new look and taste. The new Brew Free! Or Die IPA (6.8% ABV) is a re-imagined 2022 West Coast IPA with a clear, bright appearance, snappy bitterness and fresh-on-the-scene hops with Comet, Simcoe and El Dorado. Its light golden color is teeming with crisp notes of juicy grapefruit, lemongrass, and herbal dank aromas. In addition, the packaging has been refreshed with a bright green theme to more accurately reflect the essence of the hoppy beer inside.

21st Amendment is also broadening its core IPA line for spring 2022. In addition to their reinvented flagship IPA, fan-favorite Brew Free! Blood Orange, and Brew Free! Tropical, they are also adding a brand-new spring release, Brew Free! Or Die Hazy IPA to the lineup.

Brew Free! Or Die Hazy IPA (6.5% ABV) looks at life through a different set of lenses and gets a little hazy with its lush creamy texture, stone fruit-forward aromas, and creamsicle foamy head. Its turbid pale color is developed from an abundance of White Wheat, Rolled Oats, Flaked Wheat, and 2-Row for higher protein content and a silky mouthfeel. The subdued bitterness and massive hop deliciousness from Idaho 7, Citra, and Simcoe hops make this an easy-drinking hazy IPA suitable for any occasion.

The new Brew Free! Or Die IPA and Brew Free! Or Die Hazy IPA are now available year-round in 6 packs and draft in all 34 states where 21st Amendment distributes. For more information and to find some using their beer finder, please visit www.21st-Amendment.com.

Q&A with Broken Barrel Whiskey

In this Q&A, we chat with Broken Barrel Whiskey founder Seth Benhaim as we go Beyond Kentucky (sorta). Seth talks about how he got into the alcohol industry, launching Infuse Vodka, getting into whiskey, working with Green River Distilling in Owensboro KY, the broken barrel process, the Oak Bill, their flagship expressions and what’s next for them.

What’s Pouring: Lux Row announces release of Blood Oath Pact 8 plus Sweetens Cove introduces new release and Laguntias brews a hard tea

Lux Row Distillers Announces Arrival of
Blood Oath Pact 8 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Photo courtesy of Lux Row Distillers

ST. LOUIS – Lux Row master distiller John Rempe continues his annual pact with bourbon drinkers with the release of Blood Oath Pact 8 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey finished in Calvados casks. A limited supply of 17,000 (3-pack) cases will arrive at retail this April at a suggested price of $119.99 per 750 ml bottle.

Blood Oath Pact 8 features a combination of the finest bourbons Rempe could find, including a 14-year ryed bourbon and an 11-year ryed bourbon, as well as an 8-year ryed bourbon finished in Calvados casks. Calvados is an apple or pear brandy from the Normandy region in northwestern France that is distilled from cider and aged for a minimum of two years in oak casks. These casks impart their unique aroma and flavor to make Blood Oath Pact 8 a one-of-a-kind pour.

Like with previous pacts, Rempe promises to make the best bourbon for the bourbon connoisseur, and as usual, he promises to never disclose the origin of the bourbons used to create Blood Oath Pact 8.

“The Calvados cask will bring additional tasting notes characterized by slight apple on the nose, with hints of vanilla and cinnamon, as well as flavor notes of ripe apples, juicy pears, butterscotch and even subtle hints of chocolate,” said Rempe. “Blood Oath Pact 8 is a bourbon I’m proud to share with bourbon lovers, but the recipe is a secret I’ll be keeping to myself.”

Blood Oath Pact 8 features a label similar to its series predecessors, but in a rich green hue to signify apples and pears, which are used to make Calvados brandy. The official launch of Blood Oath Pact 8 will include a total allocation of 51,000 bottles, 1,400 of which will be held for a future Trilogy Pack release. The first Trilogy Pack, featuring Pacts 1, 2 and 3, was released in 2018, and the second Trilogy Pack, featuring Pacts 4, 5 and 6, was released last September in conjunction with National Bourbon Heritage Month.

Sweetens Cove Introduces Kennessee Bourbon

Sweetens Cove Spirits Company today introduced its latest expression – Kennessee, the inspired union of Kentucky and Tennessee Bourbons, hand-curated and blended together by Master Blender Marianne Eaves.

“Rather than argue whether Kentucky or Tennessee is better or best, why not put them together in one bottle and create magic?” related Eaves. “Each of these liquids reflect the enduring and exceptional personality of their region, sharing common ground and yet, distinctive qualities. Working barrel by barrel, I added a hint of toasted sugar maple wood to elevate this one-of-a-kind blend, just right at 110.7 proof.”

With an SRP of $59, Sweetens Cove Kennessee is the company’s first foray into the “all-access” market, with a high-end product and approachable price-point, ideal for happy hour, barbecues, tailgates and mixology.

Sweetens Cove Kennessee will be available in 12 states across the U.S. to begin its journey in 2022, including: Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Colorado, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nevada and Illinois. In certain markets, subject to legal restrictions, the product can be purchased online via www.sweetenscovespirits.com

The Lagunitas Brewing Company Brews its First Sparkling Hard Tea

The Lagunitas Brewing Company, a brewery with a history of hop-forward and innovative craft beers, has taken its craft brewing know-how into the world of tea, with the launch of Disorderly TeaHouse premium spiked and sparkling tea. This freshly brewed, just slightly sweet hard tea features natural fruit flavors, like yuzu lemon, raspberry and blackberry.

Disorderly TeaHouse is the first hard tea to be fresh-brewed with premium guayusa tea leaves that are hand-picked by Indigenous farmers from Ecuador. Guayusa [gwahy-yoo-suh] is described as “ancient energy” and Lagunitas deliberately chose it because of its slightly sweet, smooth, and never bitter flavor. After selecting only the finest guayusa tea leaves, Lagunitas brews the tea in-house to give Disorderly TeaHouse its authentic taste. Then, natural fruit flavors are added to provide a crisp finish to Disorderly TeaHouse’s two available varieties: Yuzu Lemon Squeeze and Mixed-Up Berries.

Both of the current varieties are earthy and herbal along with a splash of flavorful fruits. The Yuzu Lemon Squeeze has a whisp of aromatic, tart yuzu citrus love, while Mixed-Up Berries has subtly sweet raspberry and blackberry fruitiness. Each Disorderly TeaHouse has only 5% Alcohol by Volume, 100 calories, 2 grams of carbs, 0 grams of sugar** and gluten-free.

Disorderly TeaHouse comes in 19.2 oz. single-serve cans for MSRP $2.99 and single-flavor 6-packs of 12 oz. cans for MSRP $11.99. It is available nationally at various retailers, including Sprouts, Meijer, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Safeway, among others.

For more details about Disorderly TeaHouse, visit: https://lagunitas.com/disorderlyteahouse/ 

Alcohol & Chocolate with Bixby Chocolate founder Kate McAleer

Welcome to the Alcohol & chats, where we ask questions to interesting people in the alcohol world.

We talk with Bixby Chocolate founder Kate McAleer who recently teamed up with Allagash Brewing to create Beer Brittle. Kate McAleer, brainchild of this product collaboration, said “Bixby was seeking a way to innovate a new brittle concept and craft beer seemed like a wonderful addition to the flavor profile. Allagash was our dream partner—we started R+D with Allagash White and grew the concept from there.”

Hops & Spirits: When did you realize you wanted to get into the chocolate/pastry/dessert business?
Kate McAleer: I always had a passion for chocolate. After college, I had my sights on pursuing a career in art history and was in graduate school for a masters. However, halfway through I decided this path was not for me, and I decided to follow my passion. My Mom, Donna, and I established Bixby as partners. Donna had recently retired from her career in healthcare administration and was committed to staying active starting a new career in her third age.

HS: What’s it been like building Bixby & Co?
KM: When I was applying to college one of my essays was on my joy of riding really scary roller coasters. Launching Bixby Chocolates and guiding it through the years has been akin to riding a wild roller coaster, with unexpected twists and turns and free fall actions. We started the project in a small kitchen with a lot of experimentation, failures and successes as we developed the first Bixby Bars. Hand dipping chocolate was the order of the day, while striving to keep small batches of melted chocolate in temper.

Along the way, we have benefited from the University of Maine’s Schools of Food Science and Engineering for technical assistance on scaling up production and various grants for capital equipment. We advanced our expertise by attending ICE, consulting with Peter Greweling the chocolatier and author; attended Ecole Chocolate. The education continues…

HS: You created Beer Brittle with Allagash, how did that partnership start?
KM: Our Executive Chef was experimenting with peanut brittle and the light bulb went on for adding a local beer to the recipe. After nailing down the recipes, we reached out to Allagash Brewery, one of Maine’s leading breweries, to see if they would be interested in partnering with us. This connection led to the launching of our three flavors of beer brittle. We worked with our talented Maine based graphics designer and Allagash to develop the final packaging. Bixby sold the new products on line and to our local wholesale accounts. The market response has been terrific!

HS: How difficult is it to work with alcohol in food?
KM: Dealing with alcohol ingredients is a bit tricky because of liquor laws. Once we figured out the regulatory requirements, the rest was easy. By the way, the alcohol essentially vaporizes off in our production, leaving the taste essence behind for the consumer to savor.

HS: I’m guessing the taste testing part was fun, but how much time goes into perfecting the flavors?
KM: Taste testing is one of our quality checks. We invite our staff and Allagash to join us in this process. The taste is the ultimate determiner if the finished product is good and will be embraced by the market. Taste testing is fun, and one of the perks of running a chocolate factory, but a serious one, too.

HS: How did the Split Rock Bourbon Bar come about with Split Rock Distilling?
KM: Split Rock Distilling is close to us in the Mid-Coast region of Maine. I had known about the company and their reputation for making excellent spirits. They are certified organic as we are. The thought was they would be a good partner for creating new products combining chocolate with spirits. They were amenable to collaborating. Our first venture with them was to make the Bixby Split Rock Bourbon Bar, using our Bean to Bar chocolate and the Split Rock Bourbon. The product has been overwhelmingly well received in the market.

HS: How much fun is it to be innovative and creative with chocolate?
KM: Working with chocolate indeed is a lot of fun. It allows unlimited opportunities for experimentation and creativity. Chocolate comes from the cacao bean. Depending upon the location of the cacao grove, what grows around grove, time of year, and seasonal rainfall, the beans will deliver subtle variations in taste tones. You can experiment with and endless variety of inclusions, such as spices, fruits, and nuts, to come up with interesting new products. The ratio of sugar to chocolate can be altered for changes in taste.

HS: Since you use both beer and spirits, what’s your favorite alcoholic drink?
KM: My preference is a nice glass of wine paired with dinner.

Bixby Chocolate’s innovations include producing its own chocolate straight from the cocoa bean for several new bean-to-bar chocolate bars, and its newly created chocolate bonbons, chocolate nibs, and chocolate-covered coffee beans.

Founder Kate McAleer ensures that the quality organic cocoa beans are directly sourced from Caribbean countries such as the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Belize, and Central America’s Guatemala. Kate has visited these areas where she met the farmers who produce the cocoa beans that Bixby Chocolate sources. Visit https://bixbychocolate.com/ to find out more and check out their products.

What’s Pouring: Stephen Beam rekindles history with new Yellowstone release plus Mike’s Hard Freeze and Michter’s 10 Year delayed

Limestone Branch Distillery Master Distiller Stephen Beam rekindles family distilling history with the launch of Yellowstone Family Recipe

Photo courtesy of Limestone Branch Distillery

Limestone Branch Distillery is launching Yellowstone Family Recipe, a craft-distilled bourbon honoring 150 years of Beam- and Dant-family distilling traditions. The new bourbon, created by Limestone Branch Distillery Master Distiller Stephen Beam, will be available at retail in three allocations throughout 2022 – April, August and fourth quarter – with a limited total production of 6,000 cases. Bottled at 100 proof (50% ABV), Yellowstone Family Recipe will have a suggested retail price of $69.99.

With plans to be offered annually, Yellowstone Family Recipe provides a perfect complement to the Yellowstone brand family, which includes Yellowstone Select and Yellowstone Limited Edition bourbons. Consumers of Yellowstone Family Recipe can expect a nose of toasted caramel, candied nuts, tobacco and oak; a bold Kentucky straight bourbon flavor that includes citrus, toasted oak and hints of marzipan and spice; and a medium, nutty finish.

Inspired by a recipe found in notes from Beam’s grandfather, Guy Beam, and containing cloned yeast using DNA from a yeast jug belonging to Beam’s great-grandfather, Minor Case Beam, Yellowstone Family Recipe reflects the original Yellowstone Bourbon mash bill and carries its original namesake’s six-year age statement. It is this recipe that Stephen Beam has been distilling at Limestone Branch Distillery since 2015 and is now ready to share with the world.

“Yellowstone Family Recipe Bourbon is the culmination of decades of dreaming and more than 10 years of effort at the distillery. I believe bourbon lovers will enjoy drinking Yellowstone Family Recipe as much as I enjoyed recreating it,” said Beam.

For more information on Limestone Branch Distillery and Yellowstone, please visit www.limestonebranch.com, www.yellowstonebourbon.com or www.facebook.com/limestone-branch-distillery.

Taste the 90’s with the Launch of Mike’s® Hard Freeze

In response to fans’ love for nostalgic flavors, Mike’s Hard Lemonade is bringing back the 90’s with new Mike’s Hard Freeze: a collection of four refreshing, throwback flavors that will remind you of your favorite slushy flavors. In fact, more than 70% of consumers1 crave nostalgic flavors, reminding them of simpler times and carefree days. When it comes to maximum chill and the ultimate refreshment, new Mike’s Hard Freeze is guaranteed to blast your tastebuds with something totally new and different from the original hard lemonade expert.

“New Mike’s Hard Freeze delivers all the flavor without the brain freeze,” said John Shea, chief marketing officer, Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co. “Mike’s Hard Freeze was inspired by 90’s nostalgia with throwback flavors, colors, and packaging.  As a first for Mike’s Hard Lemonade, we crafted four refreshing, delicious and sessionable flavors to create a taste experience that brings back that 90’s nostalgia.”

All four flavors come in a 12-can variety pack. Both Blue Freeze and Red Freeze will also be available in 23.5oz. single serve cans. Mike’s Hard Freeze is 5% ABV and comes in four refreshing flavors.
• Blue Freeze: Tastes just like your favorite melted blue raspberry slushy flavor. The balance of sweetness and tartness makes it very refreshing and sessionable.
• Red Freeze: Tastes just like the classic red cherry berry slushy you remember, now liquified. Perfectly balanced sweetness and tartness for super refreshment.
• White Freeze: Inspired by an indulgent, chilled creamcicle flavor with just the right amount of sweetness and tartness.
• Pink Freeze: Tastes like your favorite frosty pink lemonade slushy. Its juicy lemonade flavor is extremely refreshing.

Michter’s 10 Year Bourbon Release Held Back Until 2023

Michter’s Distillery will be waiting until 2023 to release its 10 Year Bourbon.

“Over the more than two decades since we restarted Michter’s in Kentucky, we have had several years where we’ve chosen to hold back particular offerings,” observed Michter’s President Joseph J. Magliocco. “Our goal is to put out the greatest American whiskey. When we think something is already wonderful, but will become spectacular with a bit more aging, we have not been shy about waiting to release it. When it comes to whiskey, there’s no substitute for patience and time.”

The Louisville,KY-based distiller plans to keep the barrels originally slated to be bottled this year for one further year of aging.

Michter’s Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson stated, “Bourbon enthusiasts often tell us how much they love our 10 Year Bourbon for its depth and complexity.  While we know our Michter’s supporters will be disappointed, just know we are continuing to stay true to our philosophies of who we are as a company and as a brand by always delivering extraordinary whiskey to those who are willing to wait.”

Michter’s 10 Year Bourbon has a suggested retail price of $160 in the United States.