We recently changed our clocks back, and darkness comes earlier now. Fall seems to have vanished overnight with temps that remind me more of January than mid-November. As the seasons change, I find my imbibing practices change as well. In the spring and summer, my drink of choice is generally a crisp and refreshing dry rose’ wine. But come winter, I have become a woman who whiskies. And apparently, it is not just me. There is a so-called Whiskey Renaissance going on in this country, and it may very well be women who are leading the movement.
According to the American Craft Spirits Association, “The craft distilling industry is growing with, on average, one distillery opening per day. There are craft distilleries operating in all fifty states, employing close to 20,000 people.” And while there is no standardized definition of “craft”, it generally refers to small batch producers that are family owned and operated, like we are here at River Bend. And while it was my husband’s idea to get into the distillery business, I have found my niche as well…not as the whiskey distiller, but as the whiskey enthusiast. Back in the 1990’s, when I was in my twenties, fifteen percent of whiskey drinkers were female. I was solidly in the other eighty five percent. Today, women represent thirty seven percent of whiskey imbibers in the US, and I have joined the club.
So what has changed? Quality for one thing, and people’s tastes for another. Bourbon has stormed the whiskey stage in recent years, with its sweet streak of corn and its bold yet smooth flavor. Cocktails are being made to highlight the spirit, rather than cover it up. And a population…both male and female…who are looking to experience new and different are flocking to craft distillers who are freer to experiment than the mass producers who came before. In cocktail clubs and distilleries around the country, the whiskey Old Fashioned has become new again, and Bourbon Cold Brew just might be a thing. I, for one, am enjoying this Whiskey Renaissance, and I hope you are as well.
Until next time...Cheers!