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See The Process: Bulleit Bourbon Barrel Aged Noble Denim Jeans


Noble Denim recently collaborated with Bulleit Bourbon for one very unique experiment. It started with handcrafted raw denim jeans aged in handcrafted oak bourbon barrels that previously held handcrafted Kentucky bourbon.

While this was just an experiment and this batch won’t be available to the public, they could possibly be released in the future. In the meantime, denim from Noble and bourbon from Bulleit do make great Christmas gifts and you can take pride in purchasing goods produced on American soil. The video highlights the process the jeans underwent, and it’s very cool to see just how hands-on the process is for such an everyday product like quality denim jeans.

Comments Off on See The Process: Bulleit Bourbon Barrel Aged Noble Denim Jeans 12.01.2014 |

Zane Lamprey’s CHUG Premieres Tonight on the National Geographic Channel

Beverage News

National Geographic CHUG

A lot has happened with Zane Lamprey since he first graced the cover of Mutineer when we interviewed him in early 2009. We interviewed him again just several short months ago and it seems like quite a bit has happened even since then. Most notably is that his new show, CHUG, will premier tonight on National Geographic.

Zane has always had a great show, whether it was Three Sheets or Drinking Made Easy, and he alway had a great following. But he also had a hard time finding a permanent home for his show, and that’s probably because it’s hard to convince a conference room full of suits that it’s a good idea for them to endorse a show about someone drinking his way around the world. One way or another, he convinced National Geographic and his new show CHUG, the product of a successful Kickstarter campaign, debuts tonight. The premise of the show is simple: Zane will arrive to unique destinations around the world by train to explore the local drinking culture. Sounds like a winning combination to me.

If that wasn’t enough, Zane also has a Kickstarter running right now for his new project: The Drinking Jacket. See the full post »

Comments Off on Zane Lamprey’s CHUG Premieres Tonight on the National Geographic Channel 11.24.2014 |

American Express Unveils New Centurion Lounge at San Francisco International Airport

Beverage News

American Express Centurion Lounge SFO

San Francisco International Airport joins the ranks alongside Dallas-Fort Worth and Las Vegas as calling home to an American Express Centurion Lounge. With no expense spared, AMEX has teamed up with the best for food, cocktails, and wine. For food, there is Chef Christopher Kostow, chef of Napa Valley’s Three Michelin Starred The Restaurant at Meadowood. For cocktails, they’ve got Jim Meehan of New York City’s Please Don’t Tell. And for wine, they have Food & Wine’s Anthony Giglio. Together, they’ve put together an incredible menu that will help free away the stress from even the worst travel days.

Chef Kostow’s food focuses on Napa Valley-style cuisine, with an emphasis on seasonality. I’ve had the opportunity to sample the food and it is a far cry from the food one would typically find in an airport; even in an airport lounge. In short, the food was great, especially the slow roasted pork shoulder in apple lees vinegar. The kitchen is also a real kitchen, visible to patrons in the dining room, which is a bit unusual for what you’d find in an airport, but transparency was important for Chef Kostow. The full food menu can be seen here. See the full post »

Comments Off on American Express Unveils New Centurion Lounge at San Francisco International Airport 11.14.2014 |

Speaking with Rob Dietrich, Head Distiller of Stranahan’s Whiskey and Combat Veteran


Rob Dietrich

With Veteran’s Day right around the corner, we couldn’t think of a better time to reach out to some of the military veterans now serving in the beverage industry and take a look back at where they’ve been and where they’re at now. We connected with Rob Dietrich, Head Distiller of Stranahan’s Whiskey and former member of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division to talk about his service and how he found his entry into the whiskey scene.

What compelled you to join the military?
In the late eighties/early nineties, I was in the Denver punk scene and not really going anywhere in a positive direction. I looked into the military as a way to get a good direction, good education, discipline and some solid adventure to start the rest of my life with.

What branch did you serve with and what did you do?
I served in the U.S. Army, 10th Mountain Division, 10th T.A.D. (Target Acquisition Detachment). We specialized in locating primary enemy locations through radar or forward observation and taking out those locations. We were primarily snow and mountaineering trained as Quick Reactionary Forces (QRF) and I served two combat tours in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1992-1994 during the infamous Black Hawk Down incident, and one tour in Haiti as security forces in 1994 during the Haitian political uprising.

Do you have any memorable beverage related experience during your service?
I have a few that aren’t entirely appropriate to relate here, however I would say most of my beverage-related experiences in the military were memorable. One story in particular is when I was on leave in Mombasa, Kenya during my tour in Somalia. We had all our combat pay saved up and were spending it like kings, and had some catching up to do on the drinking front as we were not allowed to drink in Somalia for obvious reasons.

We had been drinking for most of the day and were waiting for the shuttle bus to take us to a rock quarry nightclub in downtown Mombasa. When the bus arrived, we were well into our cups and the sun was just setting and it was a beautiful night; a warm breeze and mischief in the air as we were happily primed up with Tusker Kenyan Beer and Jose Cuervo Tequila. There was a luggage rack on top of the bus and I bribed the driver to let us climb up and sit on the top of the bus. However, before we climbed up, I adamantly convinced the entire bus of German, Japanese and Dutch tourists to climb up with us. I think we scared the bejezus out of some them, drunk, crazy soldiers that we were, and the rest were having the time of their lives. We careened through the streets of Mombasa, a whole roof-top pile of us, getting swatted by palm leaves, whooping it up and loving every minute of it. That was a great beginning of quite an adventurous evening! The end of that night was us bribing a taxi driver to drive as fast as his car could go through a military check-point and losing the one pursuer. Priorities and fun are a different variety when you are surviving in a combat zone…

Did you always have an interest in fermentation, distillation, and whiskey while you served?
I certainly was interested in the whiskey aspect, but fermentation and distillation were as of yet not on my radar. We did attempt to make wine out of Koolaid packets from our MRE’s in Somalia, with horrible results. I had much to learn in the area of fermentation!

As you prepared to transition out of the military, did you plan to get into the whiskey business?
I actually got into the music business when I got out of the Army, living in a bus and working shows all over the country, before settling back in Denver for a decade-long career that netted me some great memories and some memorable tours with the likes of James Brown and Lone Star, which was probably a good segue into the spirits beverage industry. I learned how to manage crews and manage large-scale production, which has helped immensely in my career in whiskey production.

How did you end up at Stranahan’s, and what has it been like working your way up to Head Distiller?
I met the original Head Distiller over a mutual love of music and vintage motorcycles. I was fascinated by the distillation and whiskey-making process, and at the time was working on a diesel motorcycle that could run on vegetable oil. We started working on a bike that ran on the spent whiskey heads and created a great friendship. I became one of the first night distillers in 2006 and spent my nights making and barreling whiskey, while wrenching on my motorcycle in front of the still. I worked my way up to the barrel house manager and did a lot of the maintenance on equipment and systems around the facility before working my way up to the Head Distiller position and managing all aspects of whiskey production from grain to bottle.

Who have been influential in your career as a distiller?
There are many, but I would say Jesse Graber is definitely my hero when it comes to pure Colorado guts and determination. I most certainly would not have a job if it wasn’t for him and his tenacity for making the finest quality Colorado whiskey. I’m also a big fan of Rob Masters and Todd Leopold, both Head Distillers in the Denver area. They have been great friends and great teachers in their own right.

Any advice for service members preparing to transition out of the military that may be looking for a job in the beverage industry?
Study what you love, and leave no stone unturned. Buy every book on the subject you can, ask questions, visit forums and buy products that interest you. Challenge your palate and practice, practice, practice. Legally, of course.

Marc Mondavi is Napa Valley’s Very Own Witch


The Divining Rod Wine

Napa Valley has their very own witch, but he’s not dressing up as one for Halloween. He’s a water witch and it’s something that he celebrates every day. A water witch is someone who uses a rudimentary tool like brass rods or a Y-shaped twig to help them detect natural energies for whatever they may be searching for, and in this water witch’s case, water. Water witching goes by many other names, though “dowsing” and “divining” are most common.

Marc Mondavi, third generation winemaker, has been dowsing for water since he was a teenager. He was turned on to the practice by the father of his girlfriend at the time and his interest grew from there. Having the energy to be able to dowse isn’t uncommon, Marc says, but very few have enough of it to be successful at it as he has been.

His talents have recently gained national attention as California faced record droughts and his skills were sought after by vineyard owners and other farmers who needed new wells for access to water for irrigation. He’ll walk the property holding an L-shaped brass rod in each hand parallel to the ground after “telling them” to find water. When the rods cross, he’s found water, or one edge of an underground stream or spring, at least. He’ll then continue to walk until he finds the other side. Next he’ll determine how deep the water is located and the volume of the flow. He accomplishes this by once again asking the rods a series of questions, like “how deep is the water,” followed by him listing off depths in 100 foot increments. When he says the right depth, the rods, once again, cross. See the full post »

Comments Off on Marc Mondavi is Napa Valley’s Very Own Witch 10.31.2014 |

Naming Contest Begins for La Crema Winery’s Crowd-Sourced Wine


Russian River Valley

On August 11th La Crema Winery launched the Virtual Vintner experience creating their very first crowd-sourced wine. Participants have had their say in all steps of the winemaking process thus far, from the varietal to the barrel type, by submitting their choices online. The winemaking journey also offers a variety of interactive features, including educational videos and tips from winemaker Elizabeth Grant-Douglas herself.

Now that the experience is reaching its last few stages, it’s time to create a distinct and eye-catching name for the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Visit vv.lacrema.com today to enter your submission in the Naming Contest for their very first crowd-sourced wine.

Comments Off on Naming Contest Begins for La Crema Winery’s Crowd-Sourced Wine 10.31.2014 |

Fireball Whisky Dispels Internet Rumors

Beverage News

Fireball Whisky

Fireball Whisky is feeling some heat after some North American product found its way to Europe. While perfectly safe to drink, the North American Fireball wasn’t in compliance with local laws in Europe where a slightly different recipe is needed. The culprit? Propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is “generally recognized as safe (GRAS)” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration up to 50 grams per KG, with Fireball containing less than 1/8th of the amount allowed by US FDA regulations. Propylene glycol is used in many different products, including products we consume like soft drinks, sweeteners, some foods and alcoholic beverages.

While there isn’t an issue in North America, there was in Finland, Sweden and Norway who have asked Sazerac, the parent company of Fireball, to recall those specific batches, which will be replaced within three weeks.

The damage, however, has been done with articles like “Fireball Whiskey Recalled In Europe For Containing Too Much Of A Chemical Used In Antifreeze” spiraling like wildfire across social media, prompting Sazerac to quickly work to dispel them. “All Fireball formulas are absolutely safe to drink and the use of PG in Fireball creates no health risk whatsoever,” said a company representative. “There is no recall in North America. Fireball fans can continue to enjoy their favorite product as they always have.” College students everywhere were certainly worried about potential health risks but were quickly put at ease after assurances by the company.

And this breaking news just in … Fireball contains dihydrogen monoxide! We’re also following up on leads that Fireboall contains ethanol, a biofuel additive to gasoline. Pandemonium ensues.

Comments Off on Fireball Whisky Dispels Internet Rumors 10.29.2014 |

Firestone Walker Announces 18th Anniversary Ale Blend


Firestone Walker XVIII Anniversary

A highlight for many beer enthusiasts each year is the release of Firestone Walker Brewing Co.’s anniversary ale. The beer, which was first created to commemorate their 10th anniversary, brings together over a dozen Central Coast vintners to blend a beer that, this year, consists of over 227 oak barrels and nine different beers.

“These winemakers are practicing experts in the art of blending, so it makes perfect sense to seek their counsel,” Firestone Walker’s brewmaster Matt Brynildson said. “It’s like bringing in the ninjas.”

The winemakers are paired off and given the gamut of barrel aged component beers that can be used for the blend, which are then presented to the group, blind tested, and voted on. The beer with the most votes becomes that year’s anniversary ale. The blend chosen to create Firestone Walker XVIII was created by Russell From and Philip Muzzy of Herman Story Wines. See the full post »

1 comment 10.27.2014 |

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