2014 has been a rough year for Bourbon. First we hear that there is an impending Bourbon shortage. Then we hear that the shortage is in large part due to the fact that the vast majority of all Bourbon brands are actually made by very few distilleries and are simply fancy labels on other people’s whiskey. All this amid rumblings of American oak barrels disappearing faster than they can be made and a worldwide surge in demand has collectors hoarding their favorite bottles.

These revelations weren’t surprising to those of us who work in the industry. And most of us don’t necessarily agree with much of the overreaction to them. But it does make me eager to point something out: there are small distilleries popping up all over the USA making good Bourbon from scratch, and as the biggest producers run dry these little guys will be getting better. I’ve been a big fan of Watershed Bourbon since part-owner Dave Rigo came to New York to help introduce it to this new market. Oola’s Waitsburg Bourbon is another new-to-NYC whiskey that I’m thrilled to have in the catalog I oversee. RoughStock’s Montana Bourbon is third excellent riff on this classic. None of these brands have the big buzz yet, but they’re all excellent and the lack of hype makes them all great value buys. For now…

Dave Herman is a Certified Specialist of Spirits with close to two decades of experience in the food and beverage industry. His classes and tastings have been featured at The Institute of Culinary Education and 92nd Street Y. He has been a key contributor in bars, restaurants, retail, importers, distributors, events & worked every position from bartender to sales, & from management to ownership.

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