I wish all the major spirit companies would do this: Instead of being contacted by a million different PR agencies, I sat down with a Beam Global employee and she took me through some of the new product launches for Beam's brands over the next half a year.
Beam has partnered with Thatcher's Organic Liqueurs so we may be seeing those around more. They're pretty low in alcohol level so I think they'll be more for home consumers than for bartenders. Of the ones I tried I think the apple-ginger one has the most potential.
Jim Beam is releasing the "Devil's Cut" in July/August. A play on the angel's share (the alcohol that evaporates through the barrel), the devil's cut is the bourbon that is trapped absorbed in the wood when the barrel is emptied. Apparently they've developed a way to get some of this whisky out. (Chuck Cowdery gets the info here.) They add a touch of this devil's cut to six-year-old Beam (with the same mash bill as their four-year-old) and release this product at 45% ABV.
I sampled the Devil's Cut and found it to be light bodied like regular Beam, but definitely a lot more woody. Not so much caramelized vanilla, but raw wood.
Knob Creek Single Barrel is just regular old Knob Creek but unblended and sold at 60% ABV instead of the usual 50%. The one I tried tasted like Knob Creek, at higher proof.
Courvoisier Cognac is coming out with a Rose' - a blend of cognac and wine. Sounds to me like it's a Pineau des Charentes but I don't know enough about it yet. Courvoisier continues to release new products - last year saw the launch of a 12-year and a 21-year bottlings. Finally cognacs are getting creative.
Sauza is launching a 100% agave tequila called Sauza Blue for $11.99 and $13.99 $18.99 (the product was just released at this price- must have changed since speaking with me), in time for Cinco de Mayo. Sauza is usually a mixto, whereas their other lines - Tres Generaciones and Hornitos are 100% agave.
I think this is a pretty significant event, because:
- While 100% agave tequilas are growing even in the bad economy, the cheaper mixto tequilas are actually selling less. It seems Sauza is acting on this.
- We're currently in an agave glut, but the price of agave must be super low to offer this for twelve bucks. Will it be sustainable?
- 100% agave tequila must be bottled in Mexico, whereas mixto tequilas are usually trucked to the US and bottled there. Because Sauza is the #2 selling tequila their production is so big that they added an additional bottling line in Mexico to handle the bottling volume of this product.
So between Cuervo launching the 100% agave Tradicional Silver in the US ($24) and this 100% agave Sauza, things are moving in the right direction.