Pot still life Credit: ASW Distillery
Pot still life
Credit: ASW Distillery

Blending in: Craft whiskey makers tap the big guys

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Small is beautiful, right? Yes, but. At The Whiskey Wash, blender Nick Scarff notes that despite the recent boom, craft distilleries still only account for about 3% of the U.S. spirits market. To compete for what’s left after Sazerac and other titans take their cut, many craft whiskey makers get to market faster by blending and finishing aged distillate from big suppliers.

Blend haters may recoil, but brands going that route keep winning awards, Scarff says. “This is a prime example of how the narrative surrounding whiskey-making has become so convoluted that even some whiskey ‘experts’ don’t realize the overlap in techniques between the big guys and craft distilleries, who both blend for consistency.”

the narrative surrounding whiskey-making has become so convoluted that even some whiskey ‘experts’ don’t realize the overlap in techniques between the big guys and craft distilleries, who both blend for consistency.”

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