Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Edition Reader Poll: Best American Whiskey Company


The election is upon us, and that means a big decision for everyone: If you could only drink whiskey from one of the major American whiskey companies for the rest of your life, which would it be?

Here are the rules. You must pick one of the companies below. All of the other companies will cease production and there will be no whiskey available from them. Make your choice in the comments. Please mark your ballot carefully to avoid election night discrepancies.

Below are your choices with a sampling of what you get with each vote (if you want to know all of the brands made by each distillery, check out my Complete List of American Whiskey Distilleries and Brands).

  • Beam Global (including Maker's Mark): You get the full Beam line, including Jim Beam, Knob Creek, Booker's, Old Overholt Rye, Maker's Mark, Old Grand-Dad...and Red Stagg too!
  • Brown Forman (including Jack Daniel's and Woodford Reserve). You get Old Forester, Early Times, Jack and Woodford (including all those Master's Collection bottlings).
  • Diageo: Diageo owns the George Dickel distillery and the Bulleit label, so that's what you'll get.
  • Four Roses: Single barrel, small batch and limited editions, but no rye for you.
  • Heaven Hill: Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, Old Fitzgerald, Rittenhouse Rye, Bernheim Wheat, Mellow Corn and Parker's Heritage Collection among others.
  • Sazerac Co./Buffalo Trace (including Barton, Bowman, Van Winkle and Age International products): Lots of stuff here; you get the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, the Van Winkle bourbons, Very Old Barton, Weller, Sazerac Rye, Blanton's, Elmer T. Lee, E.H. Taylor, all those single oak bottlings, etc., etc.
  • Wild Turkey: You get Wild Turkey bourbon and rye plus the Russell's Reserve bourbon and rye.


Footnotes for the whiskey geeks:

1. Van Winkle is an independent company and not all of their whiskey is made at Buffalo Trace, but I'm making the call to include them with Sazerac (which doesn't mean it will be any easier to get a bottle, by the way).

2. Current releases of Rittenhouse Rye are still made at Brown Forman but it's a Heaven Hill product and is now being made at Heaven Hill again so it goes with Heaven Hill.

3. If Diageo wins, Four Roses will stay open for the sole purpose of making the bourbon for Bulleit.

4. LDI isn't a choice because they don't market anything of their own, but if you love LDI rye, you can still get it in Bulleit and Dickel ryes if you pick Diageo.

5. Assume no independent bottlings will be available other than those produced by the companies listed above, so don't assume you will still get plenty of Heaven Hill from Willett's or other independent bottlers.

6. Be sure to let me know if you're from Ohio so I can make sure your vote counts more than everyone else's.


The polls are open!

33 comments:

SteveBM said...

It's tough to have to give up Four Roses but outside of that the choice is easy for me - Sazerac/BT. Just way too much great whiskey and variety to consider dumping them for another producer.

Anonymous said...

Four Roses all the way!

Lazer said...

This is the easiest decision I've ever had to make... I'm going with Wild Heaven Roses of course.

I'm from New York so my vote doesn't matter I might as well vote for laphroaig.

Louis said...

Is it wrong that I'm totally fine with it being Sazerac/BT? I don't know that I'd she'd a tear

Keith said...

Sazerac/BT for me. I'll miss my Four Roses, but I need a little variety.

Walker said...

I love me some Four Roses, but I can't live without a good, aged rye like Saz 18 or VWFRR so my vote goes to Buffalo Trace.

Archaeology Carl said...

Sazerac/BT! Great bourbons, ryes, and some wheaters. Nice variety, with some interesting experiments along the way.

-J. said...

I think I would miss my favorite more than I would miss the variety... So I'll vote Four Roses.

Ben said...

Sazarac/Buffalo Trace without a doubt. They have everything from ryes to wheaters and the best selection of older juice.

tanstaafl2 said...

Based on what is already in my liquor cabinet I would join what appears to be the early majority. Sazerac/BT wins in a landslide.

ilium55 said...

BT/Saz -- so much variety, and they offer a good range of quality products at different price points.

Jeff said...

Heaven Hill.

They have great whiskey at reasonable price points all along the spectrum. Can you beat EWB for $12? EC12 & EWSB for $25ish? PHC for $80? Saz/BT may have more variety at the high end, but I can't get any of that now, let alone if it was the only distillery out there.

Ryan Murphy said...

Definitely Saz/BT, although I would very much miss FR.

Jack Gregory said...

BT/Saz for me also. FR will be missed but there are a lot of great options from BT.

Anonymous said...

Sazerac/BT

Macdeffe said...

BT/saz, but It's evil to exclude Four Roses and WT from me

Steffen

Anonymous said...

Four Roses please!

Jason Pyle said...

Man it's close for me between FR and SAZ/BT, but make my candidate SAZ/BT.

Cheers!

Ryan said...

Buffalo Trace is an obvious choice and I wouldn't be sad if that were the one to stay... but I'm going to be crazy and pick Jim Beam. Booker's, Baker's, and Knob Creek are some fine drinking on the cheap (relatively), and readily available. Beam Black is like the Heinz ketchup of bourbon, and Maker's Mark is reliable.

AC said...

For me, close between Heaven Hill and Saz/BT, but I'm going with Saz/BT. I want to see the end result of the single oak project!

(from Ohio - count me 3 times)

Anonymous said...

While I'll be quite sad to not get Rittenhouse anymore...the clear choice for me is BT. That way I get Sazerac, Saz 18, BT, Blanton's....I'm good with that!

Humchan2k

sku said...

Early voting has been heavy, but let's not judge the result by the early returns. The polls will remain open at least through Tuesday and with no line!

Anonymous said...

I'm from New Jersey, so I'll be sending in 12 votes via email for Heavan Hill (Evan Williams BIB!)

Justin said...

"If you could only drink whiskey from one......." If I can correctly assume that one can safely replace "drink" with "buy", then I am going to have to be a Beam man. Close edge to Heaven Hill. I love BT, but if I am on the hook to pay for everything, then BT falls short due to tight supplies and overly inflated prices for their most prized whiskies.

David D said...

With the variety of Buffalo Trace, that's the no-brainer decision. I'm assuming this also includes 1792 Ridgemont?

Anonymous said...

Heaven Hill! Can't live without my EC 12 and EWSB!

AaronWF said...

Finally I can vote for something positively instead of the lesser of two evils!!! Woo-hoo!!

Four Roses, without hesitation. Ok, maybe the slightest hesitation in favor of Heaven Hill.

More labels does not mean more variety. I think there's more variety in Four Roses juice than BT/Saz. And Jim Rutledge wants to make rye! It's a-coming!

Gary said...

Saz/BT for me. And since I live close to Chicago, my deceased father votes for FR, grandparents for Saz/BT

Young Blacksmith said...

Four Roses.

Between the different mashbills and flavor profiles they can fill all my wants and desires.

Heaven Hill would be a close second though.

Buffalo Blech? What?!?

sam k said...

The Buffalo Trace loyalists are sooo predictable. Heaven Hill in a landslide! Rye and wheat mashbill bourbons; rye, wheat, and corn whiskeys...all of them affordably priced. What's not to love?

Keep that Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond 6 year old flowing boys!

Jeremiah said...

Buffalo Trace, even if you take out the Van Winkle....too much goodness there. Like many others here, it's a tough call between BT and FR, but someone has to win.

Happyhour24x7

Anonymous said...

Brown Forman - The Old Forester Birthday Bourbons have been just what I love year after year. Delicious, well priced and usually available.

David Stewart

sku said...

Polls are now closed (except for those folks who are still in line in Florida). Results coming soon.