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Summer is Hot, And Seltzer is Not?
Also RIP the to-go cocktail, and Lew Bryson made me eat my words.
Have you been feeling the heat? I certainly have.
I spent last weekend sweating my way around between Charleston watering holes. Pimm’s Cups came to the rescue, as did a near constant stream of ice water. I’m pretty sure I was downing a couple liters at each bar, only to sweat it out making my way to the next one.
I had few whiskey drinks, which is okay. Sometimes it’s good to get away, from home and from your routines.
But another reason I’m sweating is this first “official” newsletter. Getting comfortable with this format again. But there’s a lot of great reading to enjoy this week (none of it from me).
Here’s what you may have missed:
Michael Veach remembers A Separate Peace in Summer Warehouses
My favorite “travel” piece of the week: Michael Veach takes us back in time on a nostalgic visit to a Kentucky warehouse during his favorite season: summer. Nothing to be learned here, just things to be felt.
People really shouldn’t sleep on Michael’s writing. If Fred Minnick is the bourbon world’s pundit, Michael is the New Yorker columnist: fastidious and elegant, and always painting a picture with his words.
A Truly Disappointing Summer for Seltzer
A quick side note about seltzer: Boston Beer’s stock took a tumble this week as a result of flat sales for Truly. It’s part of a larger trend of people being overwhelmed by a flooded market. Execs are saying they “overestimated” the demand for seltzer.
But the problem might also be an excess of new flavors, some of which just aren’t gaining traction.
The real “drink of the summer” has and will always be the Pimm’s Cup, and whether you’re already a fan or about to have your world changed, start with this recent piece from Kara Newman.
To-Go Has Gone… But Not Everywhere
The to-go cocktail movement appears to have been a short-lived experiment, with New York and other states either cancelling the lifeline program that kept restaurants alive, or failing to renew it as it expires (in the case of North Carolina—which by the way, is somehow experiencing a liquor shortage, despite a state monopoly on sales).
But it appears it’s not all bad news. Here’s a great the state of the to-go union address, if you want to learn more. Meanwhile companies like ReserveBar are amassing funding to grow home delivery in a big way.
Only Lew Can Satisfy… On the Bourbon/Tennessee Whiskey Question
I’m once again forced to eat my words, because months after complaining of how tired I was of the “difference between bourbon and Tennessee whiskey” stories, Lew Bryson has penned a grand, sprawling, moment-in-time look at the question, as only he can.
To his credit (and my discomfort) he’s even self-aware enough to call out the headline. “So despite the cynical assumption that if a headline asks a question, the answer is always no…Yes, Tennessee whiskey is bourbon.” Read the rest for yourself.
A few quick bites if you’re so inclined:
Here’s a McSweeney’s piece whiskey lovers will love, “Hemingway Writes the Baby-Sitters Club”
Travis Gillmore wrote a charming story about a very good boy—a dog who inspects whisky casks for aromatic flaws.
Some helpful notes from Felipe Schrieberg about how to invest in whiskey without getting screwed.
Lastly, I want to leave you with some multimedia content. Youtube has some great whiskey-related videos if you know what you’re looking for and this story about a fight between Canada and Denmark over an island is exactly the kind of story I love: