Weekend Happy Hour, Ep. 4


If the first full week after Memorial Day was as rough on you as it was on me, you probably need a drink. Fortunately it’s Friday, which means it’s time for Episode 4 of our Happy Hour series. Grab a beverage, put your feet up, and settle into the weekend.

American Whiskey gets Ranked and Files:

American Single Malt is a relatively new term, but it’s a spirit variety that showcases the versatility and talent of American distillers. The folks at Eater took on the enviable task of tasting many of the premier American Single Malt producers, and produced a ranked list. Topping the charts is Balcones Distilling, a craft distillery out of Waco, Texas, but another notable contender on the list was Hillrock Distillery, which we’ve covered previously, here. Some of these distilleries are only producing American Single Malt, but others have more robust portfolios.

When one thinks about “investing in whisk(e)y,” the mind probably goes to procuring a rare bottle of Pappy 23 or an obscure bottling of Bruichladdich. That’s all about to change though, thanks to this week’s announcement that ETF Managers Group (a hedge fund out of New Jersey) filed paperwork with the SEC to offer an Exchange-Traded Fund tracking the performance of the whiskey and bourbon industries. The ETF will focus exclusively on the American whiskey market, and will start trading as soon as the SEC approves the fund. Is it securities fraud to only buy whiskey from distilleries you have a stake in?

June is Apparently the Most Wonderful Time of the Year:

Our Twitter handle (which everyone should of course follow) has been banging the Negroni Week drum pretty hard this past week, but it turns out June is apparently the month for days dedicated to drinks of all sorts. June 11th marks the eighth-annual World Gin Day, and June 19th is apparently National Martini Day (although no one seems to know that particular day’s provenance). For our readers living in gin’s birthplace, England, British gin giants Gordon’s and Tanqueray are holding master classes for beginners and experts alike in London’s Green Man Pub from 14-16 June. For any of our readers across the pond, we heartily encourage spending the ten-pounds-fifty to drink a little Dutch Courage and celebrate our personal favorite clear spirit.

In Beer News:

Dutch brewing conglomerate Heineken International is sinking a lot of money into Southeast Asia. In 2015 the company built a $60 million brewery in Myanmar, and also operates holdings throughout the region at large. Recently, Heineken signed a joint venture with Asia Brewery, to bring the Heineken and Tiger brands to the Philippines, and the brewing giant is telegraphing a likely pivot to Vietnam as well. CNBC tells us more on beer as an economic lever here.

Additionally, Vice Media’s food channel, Munchies, recently published a great piece on Britain’s Draconian tax laws, and how they’re crushing the country’s iconic pubs and independent microbreweries. Craft brewing in the United Kingdom is a tiny market segment, thanks in part to a harsh tax penalty that financially punishes any brewery producing over 5,000 hectoliters of beer annually. As author Steve Hindy makes clear in the article – something’s got to change, and fast.

Big News for San Francisco:

I’ll be honest that this is a shameless plug – Kevin Diedrich taught me everything I know as a barman. That said, he’s arguably one of the country’s best bartenders, so I don’t feel too bad about plugging his new business. Kevin is poised to open Pacific Cocktail Haven on SF’s Sutter Street, which will showcase Diedrich’s eclectic tastes, excellent palette, and flawless skills. Any of our readers serious about drinking in the Golden Gate City need to put this on their list as soon as possible.



Alex Hecht is editor of the Molotov Cocktail channel.