Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Big Plastic: Fleischmann's Rye

Fleischmann's Rye is sort of an odd bird. It's the only rye made by the Barton distillery, and it's mostly for sale in Wisconsin, where it's a budget offering. It used to be a straight rye, but a few years ago they dropped the "straight," so now it's just cheap rye in a big plastic bottle.

Fleischmann's Rye, 40% abv ($15 for 1.75 liters)

The nose is herbal, slightly minty and botanical with some perfume notes.  On the palate there's pine and some spice but it also gets a bit bitter. The bitterness increases into the finish has some spice as well.

This had some nice notes on the nose but the bitterness was overwhelming.

Thanks to Reid Bechtle for the sample and photo.


Anonymous said...

Is it the same company that sells yeast?

sku said...

Great question, but no. As far as I know there is no historical connection either.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand Sku, why does Wisconsin get bottom of the barrel rye but the rest of the 50 states don't deserve any? Why bother making and bottling this shining example of rotgut at all, from a business perspective?

sku said...

It has a long history in Wisconsin and presumably is popular enough there to make a profit.

Oknazevad said...

Fleischmann's yeast and Fleischmann's whiskey actually both spring from the same company, originally founded by a pair of brothers.

Native to Austria, and bakers by trade, when they came to the US (Cincinnati, specifically), they saw an opportunity to make money by selling better quality pre-packaged yeast taken from samples from back in Austria. As anyone involved in yeast in the late 1800s would likely do, they began distilling, too, with vodka, gin, and eventually whiskey, which they started making after they bought a distillery in Owensboro in 1940.

Glenmore bought the distillery and the rights to the name in 1989 (one year after they bought the Medley distillery across town) and consolidated production at Glenmore, just in time for Guinness's United Distillers (now Diageo) to buy Glenmore two years later. UDL shut down distillation in 1993, then flipped Glenmore to Barton in 1995. Barton, which was owned by Constellation, was sold to Sazerac in 2009. (Just in time for Constellation to miss the current Bourbon boom. I'm sure they regret the decision.)

Meanwhile the packaged yeast business was sold to JP Morgan's Standard Brands in 1929, which merged with Nabisco in 1981. Nabisco sold off the yeast brand to Australian company Burns Philip in 1986, which in turn sold its yeast business to Associated British Foods in 2006.

What I find funny about this stuff that is only available in one size in one state is that, if the reports are accurate and it does have a 90% rye, 10% malt mashbill, it's clearly just the flavoring whiskey used in the Fleischmann's Preferred blended whiskey that's available on just about every bottom shelf in the country. It makes it even odder that it even still exists at all.