The WBSE Barrel Report
Featuring the latest news and updates in the world of whisk(e)y! Brought to you by Bourbon Nerds
In This Issue:
Four Roses Labor Dispute
Four Roses 130th
Compass Box Spaniard
Wyoming Whiskey – Edrington Deal
Review of the Week
Four Roses 130th Limited Edition Small Batch
In happier news, Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch for 2018 will be released starting this week. In honor of the 130th anniversary of the brand, Master Distiller Brent Elliott has worked up quite a nice blend of barrels for this release. The batch consists of four of the ten different recipes Four Roses offer: 13yr OBSF, 10yr OBSV, 14yr OESV, and 16yr OESK, each of which provide different herbs, fruits, and spices to the equation to make a complex and interesting release. MSRP will likely be in the $120 to $130 range and of course, availability will be limited. Best of luck tracking one down!
Four Roses Workers on Strike
As of Friday, Sep 7th around 3PM,over 50 union workers at Four Rose Distillery and Bottling Facilities stepped out on strike. Contract negotiations started in June, but an agreement could not be reached by the July 31 deadline. Extensions were made and finally workers continued on without a contract until beginning the strike.
The primary point of the dispute centers around the new “right-to-work” laws which the state passed in 2017. This allows workers in union jobs to opt into or out of paying dues to be a part of the union. Given the nature of the new contract from Kirin (owner of Four Roses) which reduces certain benefits for newer employees, the local union chapter sees this as a means to reduce its membership and therefore negotiating power.
The strike is currently ongoing and is set to continue through KY bourbon festival this week / weekend (Wednesday – Sunday) with currently no resolution in sight as the facilities remain shut down until a contract can be agreed upon.
After previous one off releases, Compass Box is reintroducing the Spaniard, but this time as a permanent release. Formally known as “The Story of the Spaniard” the release will vary from year to year depending on available stocks, but the core will focus on Spanish wine cask aged malts. This particular release features Spanish Red Wine, ex-Spanish Sherry, and virgin French oak casks. It will be available later this year in the US for around $65, and is already available at limited retailers in Britain.
Edrington forms Strategic Partnership with Wyoming Whiskey
Parent company of The Macallan and Highland Park, Edrington has purchased a minority stake in Wyoming Whiskey. This will allow the brand to extend the range of their portfolio across much more of the country. The young wheated whiskey producer is excited as noted by their Tweet earlier this week here.