Monday, May 21, 2018
Business

Limited-edition whiskey to sell for nearly $4,000 per bottle

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A new whiskey created in Kentucky features a blend of age and scarcity that spiked demand — and its price.

As a result, whiskey fans including celebrities and corporate chiefs are angling to snatch up limited stocks of Michter's Celebration Sour Mash Whiskey for nearly $4,000 per bottle. Shots won't come cheap, either, fetching an expected $350 a pop.

Limited-edition offerings, with heftier prices than typical stocks, have become commonplace as American whiskey makers dabble in new flavors to lure customers. But the latest introduction by Michter's Distillery breaks into a pricing stratosphere that could reverberate across the industry.

"This is kind of new territory," said industry observer F. Paul Pacult, editor of the newsletter Spirit Journal.

"It's going to start a whole rush of interest in very high-end bourbons, American whiskeys and American spirits. This kind of throws the challenge out."

The Michter's product will reach shelves Monday in select liquor stores, restaurants, bars or hotels in such places as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Aspen, Colo., Chicago, Palm Beach, Houston and Boston. The company produced a scant 273 bottles of the blend of whiskeys, some aged up to 30 years, and all are spoken for, its top executive said.

"We've been turning down orders," said Michter's president Joseph J. Magliocco.

Willie Pratt, master distiller at Michter's, blended the whiskey from his favorite barrels, Magliocco said.

Christian Navarro, president of Wally's Wine & Spirits in Los Angeles, plans to sell the product for $3,600 per bottle, more than he paid for his first car.

He had at least five takers for each of his bottles, with movie stars and rock singers among those vying for the limited supply, he said.

"They said, 'I'll pay you in advance,' " Navarro said, adding, "I can't get enough of this product."

The introduction adds a new twist to the growing super-premium whiskey market. The Celebration bottles are embossed with gold labeling, part of the elaborate packaging by Michter's, a small, Louisville company known for its premium bourbons and rye whiskeys starting at $45 per bottle.

The company is in the process of expanding its small distillation capacity. Currently, it makes most of its whiskey at another distillery, using Michter's recipes, with its older whiskeys coming from stocks it bought up.

Typically, prices for limited-edition American whiskeys topped out at a few hundred dollars per bottle, though Michter's does offer a 20-year-old bourbon that sells for $600 a bottle and a 25-year-old whiskey that retails for up to $700 a bottle. That pales next to the select single-malt Scotches, cognacs and brandies aged for decades, which can fetch tens of thousands of dollars per bottle.

Pacult said the introduction reinforces a trend showcasing the rising quality of American distilling.

"Up until just about 10 or 12 years ago, American distilling was looked upon as kind of the idiot stepchild of Ireland and Scotland and France," he said. "But now we're seeing that's not the case at all. Perhaps the most exciting innovations are now being made" in the United States.

U.S. sales for super-premium whiskeys shot up 94 percent within a decade — from $741 million in 2003 to $1.44 billion in 2012, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, a Washington lobbying group. Sales for the entire whiskey category grew 47 percent, from $4.3 billion in 2003 to $6.3 billion in 2012, according to the group. The category includes bourbon, Scotch, and Irish, Canadian and Tennessee whiskey.

Comments
FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

TALLAHASSEE ó The parent company of Florida utility giant Florida Power & Light announced Monday that it will buy the largest electricity producer in Northwest Florida, Gulf Power, in a $6.4 billion deal.Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy Inc. said in a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
One of Ybor Cityís most historic blocks about to see construction of four-story boutique hotel

One of Ybor Cityís most historic blocks about to see construction of four-story boutique hotel

TAMPA ó Developers are poised to launch construction this week on one of Ybor Cityís biggest new projects in years ó a four-story, $50 million boutique hotel being created by a Chicago company that seeks out neighborhoods rich in color and character....
Updated: 3 hours ago
Shoppers begin Publix boycott as chain continues supporting Adam Putnam for governor

Shoppers begin Publix boycott as chain continues supporting Adam Putnam for governor

Publix has been Floridaís favorite grocery chain for decades ó but some shoppers are turning their backs on the store after learning it donated more than half a million dollars to gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam. A handful of state advocacy group...
Updated: 6 hours ago
GasBuddy predicts plunge in summer travel, blames gas prices

GasBuddy predicts plunge in summer travel, blames gas prices

At least one gas price tracker expects rising fuel prices to sharply curtail summer travel. "For all those that have said summer travel will be unaffected by high gas prices, we offer thousands of respondents who have strongly indicated thatís not tr...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Barack and Michelle Obama are becoming television and film producers for Netflix

Barack and Michelle Obama are becoming television and film producers for Netflix

Netflix announced a production deal Monday with Barack and Michelle Obama that will see the former first couple create a wide range of content for the streaming service.The deal, talks for which had first been reported in March, will encompass a wide...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Starbucks: You donít have to buy coffee to sit in our cafes or use our restrooms

Starbucks: You donít have to buy coffee to sit in our cafes or use our restrooms

Starbucks is now allowing people to use its restrooms and sit in its cafes and patios even if they do not buy anything.The coffee giant on Saturday announced its new policy, which says that customers, including those who did not make a purchase, can ...
Published: 05/21/18

Hernando Business Digest for May 25

Business digestBrieflyHOSPITAL UPGRADES SURGICAL SYSTEM: Oak Hill Hospital recently acquired the latest da Vinci Xi Surgical System, which has broader capabilities than prior generations of the system. The new system is designed with the goal of furt...
Published: 05/21/18
Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

One day in April, I returned from a camping trip - a quick 24 out of the city - and ran a load of laundry. Whatís more telling is what I didnít do.I didnít hose down a muddy tent, I didnít soak a shoddily cleaned pot, and I categorically did not empt...
Published: 05/19/18
Romano: Save your money, sports betting wonít be in Florida anytime soon

Romano: Save your money, sports betting wonít be in Florida anytime soon

It is the middle of the day and the beginning of the off-season at Tampa Bay Downs. That means the action is limited to simulcast wagering, and that means the televisions outnumber the bettors.The parimutuel industry is long past its heyday in Americ...
Published: 05/19/18
Son of Crabby Billís founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

Son of Crabby Billís founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

SOUTH PASADENA ó Like his father, who founded the Crabby Billís seafood restaurant chain, John Loder Sr. had a larger-than-life personality. That was one reason he dived into the real estate business, becoming a well-known, if at times controversial ...
Published: 05/18/18
Updated: 05/21/18