How “Craft” Is Your Favorite Craft Distillery?

That charming backstory about your favorite artisanal whiskey isn’t always what it’s chalked up to be. According to The Daily Beast, instead of actually creating their own spirits, some new “distilleries” are purchasing casks of factory-produced booze and repackaging it as “craft.” 

In fact, large portion of today’s craft whiskey market hails from a single “massive brick complex that cranks out mega-industrial quantitates of beverage-grade alcohol” in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. The operation is run by food-ingredient corporation MGP who sells vodka, gin and varying types of whiskey to bottlers. 

Though many of the producers buying whiskey from MGP are blending and finishing to make a more distinct product, some of the marketing can be misleading. “Angel’s Envy buys Indiana rye, put it in old rum casks to soak up a little sweetness, ad then charges a hefty markup. Others, such as Redemption Rye, present their MGP whiskey as is.” Bulleit Rye and Templeton Rye both bottle whiskey produced from Lawrenceburg, even though the latter claims that its whiskey is produced with an old recipe that dates back to Prohibition and has “built its successful brand on being a product of Templeton, Iowa.”

The practice of purchasing large quantities of already-made booze and reselling is common amongst new producers who haven’t had time to craft their own spirits. In other words, it’s not exactly a new story, but the growing market for craft spirits has kept it a particularly relevant one. “New companies want to sell product as local or artisanal, and so that’s what they claim,” says Steve Ury, a food blogger who has created a comprehensive list of brands that bottle whiskey from Lawrenceburg. Moral of the story is, you can’t judge a whiskey by its label. [The Daily Beast] [Photo: Flickr/Kuba Bozanowski]