The saying goes, “Beer before liquor, you get sicker; liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.” While the order in which you should consume alcohol may matter, the order in which you make it doesn’t. Back in 2021, Molson Coors launched the Coors Whiskey Co. with the inaugural Five Trail Whiskey, a blend of Colorado single malt, 4-year Kentucky four-grain bourbon, 13-year Kentucky straight bourbon, and Indiana wheated bourbon. And now it’s unveiled the follow-up expression: Barmen 1873 Bourbon.
While its newest label isn’t quite as complicated in its genetic makeup, it’s certainly just as anticipated. In order to be considered bourbon, the new spirit must follow a set of legally-binding criteria, not the least of which is barrel conditions and mashbill (it must be comprised of at least 51% corn). Guided by the palate of hall-of-fame Master Taster Peggy Noe Stevens (and cousin of Jim Beam’s Booker and Fred Noe), Barmen 1873 boasts tasting notes of caramel, vanilla, peach, raisin, apple, coffee, dark chocolate, and mint, giving way to a finish filled with ginger and baking spices. Named after both the German town that founder Adolph Coors was from and the year the Coors Brewing Company was founded (making this year the Colorado-based icon’s 150th anniversary), Barmen 1873 is bottled at 46% ABV, is proofed with Kentucky water, and will be available in 13 states across the country.
According to Coors, 30% of Coors Banquet drinkers also consume whiskey, and so it hopes to pair Banquet and Barmen 1873 together (when marketing the two at least). Brewing and distilling may be vastly different crafts, but as long as you have the resources — and know where to acquire them — you can make a quality product. That’s not to say that Barmen 1873 will be an undisputed hit. It may not have the unique blend of Five Trail, but that might also be in its favor. Blending whiskeys can yield a good product, but it also increases the risk factor.
Coors has never claimed to be a premium beer and purists would scoff that you would even have to make that distinction in the first place. Likewise, its inaugural bourbon offers a similar relative price point, with a suggested retail value somewhere between $40 and $43 (by comparison, Five Trail is typically sold for around $60). Look for Barmen 1873 when it debuts on April 3.