The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2018

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1 18  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2018 TASTINGS SOUTHERN GLAZER'S OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ARTISANAL GROUP SHOWS OFF ITS CURRENT COLLECTION by Meridith May W hen Southern Glazer's launched its Artisanal Group portfolio less than a decade ago, the industry leader showed it was right on target with emerging trends: As the popularity of handmade liqueurs, high-end sipping rums, small- production whiskeys, and mixable, ingredient-driven white and brown spirits continues to rise far beyond original expectations, the artisanal movement has evolved to become the benchmark for craft spirits. "Our approach this year is to include more suppliers—established brands as well as up-and-coming products," says Artisanal Group Division Manager Sara Southern. "This growth accommodates emerging brands. It's the hottest sector to be in right now." The Artisanal team is based in both Northern and Southern California, giv- ing its portfolio of small but significant brands more well-deserved attention. As the category of non-alcoholic mixers and low-ABV cocktails emerges as an important trend for 2019, the Artisanal lineup introduces some of the most impressive packaging and liquid to enter the market to date. Here's a peek behind the scenes at the Group's recent tasting event at the Vibiana in Downtown Los Angeles: Alabama-style whiskey producer Clyde May's has a new rye iteration: Years in the making, this 94-proofer uses 95% rye and 5% malted barley. According to Riedel Crystal Sales Manager Chris Hillin, the glassware manufacturer is "embracing the spirits segment" by introducing its custom barware created by mixologist Zane Harris. The 6-ounce glasses have pour lines integrated into the cut crystal. Yet another debut: The 60-proof KOVAL Cranberry Gin Liqueur exhibits a lively sweetness balanced by a touch of bitterness. Made from organic cranberries, it's also kosher. photos by Cal Bingham

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