UPDATE: Goodwood Receives a “Cease and Desist” Letter
Breweries’ getting into the distilled spirits business is not uncommon especially given today’s boom in brown spirits, specifically Bourbon. The transition or line extension into spirits comes with a learning curve that the folks at Goodwood Brewing Co. just got schooled in. Goodwood Brewing received a ‘Cease and Desist’ letter from Sazerac Brands asking them to remove any and all statements that mention a collapsed barrel warehouse.
DistilleryTrail spoke with Goodwood Brewing Company CEO Ted Mitzlaff today and he said that after receiving the letter, “Goodwood replied to Sazerac immediately and has removed any references from our website and social media channels that refer to any warehouse collapse and has apologized for an innocent mistake. Unfortunately, we are legally forbidden to explain where our bourbon was produced. What we can say is that it is a 12 year old Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey made with a mash bill of 74% Corn, 18% Rye, 8% Malted Barley and the product is pure Kentucky.” Mitzlaff added, “The reviews have been tremendous on our unique expression.”
Here’s what the letter states.
Re: False & Misleading Statements re: Barton 1792 Bourbon
As you likely know, Sazerac meticulously tracks the location and disposition of every single barrel in its rick houses. Sazerac is thus able to account for every barrel that survived the partial collapse of Warehouse 30, and determined that all surviving barrels are either still at the facility or have been moved to other facilities where their locations have been verified. Thus, the claim to have acquired either barrels or liquid from the Warehouse 30 collapse cannot be true.
The claim that your product is sourced from Barton 1792 thus constitutes false advertising as well as infringement of the registered BARTON and 1792 trademarks, in violation of federal and state law.
This is something Sazerac cannot permit. Accordingly, Sazerac hereby insists that you:
1) Immediately and permanently discontinue all claims, whether express or implied, that your bourbon was sourced from Warehouse 30 or the Barton 1792 facility;
2) Promptly issue a public clarification identifying the correct source for your product;
3) Provide us with a detailed accounting of where and how you purchased the bourbon used for your product.
Sazerac would like to resolve this matter amicably, but we consider this a matter of urgency. Accordingly, we request a written response from you or your attorneys no later than February 14, 2019, confirming your compliance with the items above. If we have not heard from you by, we must assume that you will not respect Sazerac’s rights in this matter and will advise my client accordingly.
Hopefully, this is the end of the story but, we’ll keep you posted if there are any new developments.
We all know it takes a long time to let a bourbon mature until its just right. Some distillers age bourbon based on a set number of months or years while others age to taste. In the case of Barrel Warehouse No. 30 on the grounds of the Barton 1792 Distillery the magic number was 12 years. That may not have been the original plan but when the barrel warehouse holding the precious aging juice collapsed and fell to the ground, the gig was up. Fortunately for everyone involved, no one was injured. The first half collapsed on June 22, 2018 and not long after that, the second half met its fate. The good news is some of this juice is starting to hit the market.
Goodwood Brewing Company in Louisville, Kentucky was looking to expand their liquid offerings to get into the distilled spirits business when this 12 year old Barton 1792 bourbon fell into their laps. The brewery originally founded in 1988 changed its name from Bluegrass Brewing Company to Goodwood Brewing Co. a few years back and added the tagline “Touched by Wood. Brewed with Limestone Water.” They specialize in beers that have been touched by wood; whether in reclaimed oak casks once used to house bourbon, red wine, tequila, rum and brandy or seasoned on oak, hemp, poplar or ash. Clearly, being in the heart of bourbon country the distilling business had rubbed off on them and they were destined to mingle their liquids with wood.
“Bourbon has always been an integral part of the Goodwood product line with our barrel aged program” noted Goodwood Brewing Co. CEO Ted Mitzlaff. “We are located in the heart of bourbon Country and understand the tremendous impact barrel finishing has on creating superior taste profiles. We are extremely excited to launch our first of many spirit expressions and believe the consumer will enjoy our Stout Bourbon as much as we do.”
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Goodwood purchased 10 barrels of 12 year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey from Barton to blend with barrels that once housed their stout beer. Part of Ted’s education during this process was learning what the Angels Share really means. Here’s how Goodwood’s Master Brewer Joel Halbleib described it. “It was wonderful to start out with such an awesome product. I didn’t know what to expect and we decided to leave just a little bit more bourbon barrel stout in the barrel then we would normally, not knowing how much flavor it would pick up. I went out with the guys to the distillery and we emptied the barrels and Ted experienced a little shock and awe when I was like, well, a third of the barrels are empty after 12 years.” Welcome to the world of aged spirits. Sometimes, those Angels are quite thirsty.
The original barrels Goodwood uses to make their American Stout are used bourbon barrels. They fill the barrels with their beer and let it age for about two and half months. From there, they dump the beer out of the barrels and sell it at retail or in their brewery. Normally, those barrels are then sold to a furniture maker or to a cooperage broker. In this case, the barrels got a third chance of life as they were filled with the 12 year old bourbon. They left between 1/4 to 1/2 gallon of stout in each barrel to make sure the barrels were wet and the beer flavors were represented and then added the bourbon. The bourbon was then aged for another two and a half months until it was ready for bottling.
Goodwood says the stout beer-barrel aging lends malt sweetness and a cocoa character to the robust whiskey tones of vanilla and sweet caramel. The finished Goodwood Stout Barrel Finished Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is bottled at 90° proof (45% ABV) and sold in 750ml bottles with a suggested retail price of $110.
Goodwood beers are available in Kentucky, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, West Virginia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Georgia, Ohio, Texas, Kansas. This first limited edition Goodwood Spirits is available now in their brewery taproom and in select retail stores and exclusive accounts throughout the Louisville and Lexington markets and will enter the rest of Kentucky in the near future.
Goodwood Stout Barrel Finished Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey