Your ‘Craft’ Whiskey Is Probably From a Factory Distillery in Indiana

The Daily Beast:

Templeton Rye, by contrast, has built its successful brand on being a product of Templeton, Iowa. They tell an elaborate story about how their recipe was used by the owner’s family to make illicit whiskey in Iowa during Prohibition, and how that rye had become Al Capone’s favorite hooch. They publish a description of their “Production Process” so detailed it lists the temperature (124 degrees) at which the “rye grain is added to the mash tank.” They brag that they focus their “complete attention on executing each step of the distillation process.” And yet, for all this detail, the official “Production Process” somehow fails to mention that Templeton doesn’t actually do the distilling.


Another challenge actual craft distillers face is that the armies of new rye drinkers have come to expect whiskey with a particular flavor—that is, the taste of MGP [the giant industrial distillery] rye. “If you’ve tried Dickel rye, Redemption, and Templeton, you’d think that’s how rye whiskey should taste,” says Clay Risen, author of American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye. MGP’s whiskies are marketed under so many different labels that they “have colored perceptions” of what rye should be.

Sigh. I do like Redemption Rye. But if it’s made in a giant factory and sold by the truckload, it’s probably way overpriced.

Update: So, in some cases, and maybe in a lot of cases, it’s not quite accurate to say the whiskey is made in this giant factory. In some cases, the maker will cook/mash/brew up the raw ingredients themselves and ship that to this place to be distilled. Distillation is a highly-regulated and capital-heavy process that many makers just can’t afford, or haven’t had the time or money to set up for themselves. Then, they get the distilled product back and put it in their own barrels for aging and/or blending. So, it’s not entirely a sham. Not always. Just sometimes.

I suppose this is similar to how many wineries operate. If they grow their own grapes, they might use the facilities of a larger winery to process/ferment their grapes, and then put the result into barrels and age them at their own warehouse, or maybe at someone else’s warehouse. Or maybe they own a winery but not a vineyard, so they buy their grapes from independent farmers and do the rest themselves. Or maybe they buy anonymous wine made at an anonymous winery, blend it or oak it, and slap their own label on it. And every mix and combination thereof.

Also, Lightning Is Not Proper Punctuation!

David Anthony at the AVClub trolls the internet:

It’s hard to think of a song as ineffective as “You Shook Me All Night Long.” It’s an ode to a particularly talented sexual conquest of Johnson’s, but not a single word in the song expresses that. Not only does Johnson open the song by comparing a woman to a car (a metaphor so weak it deserves to be put on cinder blocks), but then goes right ahead and says, “She’s the best damn woman that I ever seen.” He plays coy in the shittiest way possible, only to drop the facade less than a line later. It’s lazy in all the worst ways, never fully committing to its premise, and never rising above mediocrity when it at least tries.

“It’s an ode to a particularly talented sexual conquest of Johnson’s, but not a single word in the song expresses that.” – WTF does that even mean? The entire song is about how “talented” the woman was.


Saw Mr. Beck Hansen last night, at the Red Hat ™ Amphitheater in loverly downtown Raleighville.

Because they got rid of the first three sections of seats in order to make a ‘pit’ area (so thousands of people could stand shoulder to shoulder in a 90-degree Raleigh July evening), I bought a seated ticket – right in back of the sound guy, as it turns out. At least I’d get the best possible sound!? I surely hope I didn’t, because it mostly sounded like crap. The only songs that sounded good were the mellower things from his current album. Everything else – all the loud, rappy, sing-along songs – that was a mushy mess. So, though I couldn’t really tell if they were any good, the band did seem to be having a good time. And from my vantage point, Beck himself was a very mobile and active indistinct black and white blob.

Beck is the bright-blue smudge on the far left. The big building in the middle is the county jail. Atmosphere.

The beers were $8, but they were 24oz, so not really expensive. The bros were there in force. I left my assigned seat early and wandered the place seeking better views – they were all better than sitting in back of the sound guy. The venue sits right next to – and because it’s a bowl, right below – the train tracks, and trains always go by during shows. Last night, three Amtracks passed by. I wonder if the people on the train are able to hear the concerts.

Song selection was good; he easily filled the 90 minutes with his hits and the better of his non-hits. There are about a dozen songs I would’ve also liked to hear, but Raleigh’s noise ordinances mean all shows there have to be done by 10:00 – there was only so much time.

A band called “Ghost of a Sabre-toothed Tiger” opened. They do the same kind of retro-psychedelic rock that Tame Impala does, so I dug them. And they actually sounded better than Beck did. They ended with a rockin version of Syd Barrett’s “Long Gone”, which was very cool. Turns out, though I didn’t know it at the time, that their singer is Sean Lennon: son of John and Yoko. I reckon that gives them a better claim on the sound than the Aussies in Tame Impala. And that’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to a Beatle.

Don’t Let Your Meat Loaf

I usually make meat loaf once every two weeks.

  • Meat loaf mix from the store (beef, pork, veal ground together)
  • An egg
  • Bread crumbs
  • Some finely-diced garlic, onion & bell pepper, gently-sauteed to soften (since they otherwise won’t have time to cook in some of the variations below)
  • A good squirt of Sriracha
  • Salt, pepper, etc..

Squish it all up. And now you have pink slime.

Given a bowl of this squishy mess, I usually make one of the following:

  1. The classic: a big ol’ loaf
  2. Mini loaves cooked in a muffin pan. They’re a handy serving size!
  3. Micro loaves cooked in a mini-muffin pan. They’re like little oddly-shaped meatballs.
  4. Meatballs (hand-roll, fry, bake). Takes the most work, but frying them makes increases the yummy.

Wifey likes the smaller ones because they’re easier to take to work – pop a handful of meatballs into a baggie and then you can eat them with your fingers! And, the little ones cook quicker. But it takes a lot of work to clean a muffin pan after meatloaf grease has caramelized all over it.

But, the best thing to do with meatloaf mush is to shape it into patties and then grill it. And put Pepper Jack cheese on it. It’s sublime.