A couple of decades ago, few could have predicted just how much the whiskey industry would grow. But even if you could have, there was not much to be done to meet the increase in demand in the short term. Whiskey isn’t a product you can crank off an assembly line; it requires years of aging and trial-and-error to craft well (and even not-so-well). Likewise, long-term demand needs to become reliable enough in order to invest in the changes required for those as well. Michter’s, one of the mainstays in the American whiskey world, is one of the brands that’s recently been faced with inventory constraints, resulting in some big adjustments made over at the Kentucky distillery this year. However, amidst all the changes, it’s still able to satiate fans with the return of a popular expression: its 10 Year Rye.
Due to its shorter aging requirements, rye whiskey tends to be a lot younger than its corn-based counterparts, such as bourbon. However, with the influx in popularity of straight rye, distilleries have been trying to see just how far the oak barrels will stretch. Most recently available last summer, Michter’s single-barrel 10 Year Rye is one of its most limited expressions and serves as a nod to the style that had its heyday pre-Prohibition. Bottled at 92.8-proof, this version of the whiskey features a profile of vanilla, toffee, toasted almonds, cinnamon, crushed pepper, and orange.
As for the adjustments made to meet demand in the long term, Michter’s has recently transitioned its distillery in Shively, KY to a 24/7 operation while investing in new bottling equipment and adding six 18,000-gallon fermenters to increase capacity. The last thing we want to see is a relatively small distillery sacrifice quality for the sake of supply growth, but Michter’s seems committed to the same standards they’ve become legends for since rising from the ashes back in the ‘90s.
Michter’s single-barrel 10 Year Rye Whiskey is currently available from select retailers for a suggested retail price of $200, but expect prices to be much higher.