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Heaven Hill drops 12yo Elijah Craig age statement

Heaven Hill Brands has lowered the age of its 12-year-old Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon as stocks come under “increasing pressure” from soaring global demand.

Heaven Hill Small Batch will now be aged between eight and 12 years
Elijah Craig Small Batch will now be aged between eight and 12 years

The US spirits producer said stocks of the 12-year-old whiskey, which first launched in 1986, have become strained as the brand grows “significantly”.

“Therefore, after careful deliberation and with a view towards making the brand available to more, not less consumers, Heaven Hill has made the decision to bottle Elijah Craig in small batches using Bourbon that has been aged between eight to 12 years,” Heaven Hill said in a statement.

Last week, the group removed the 12-year-old age statement from Elijah Craig’s back label and commenced shipping the product as a an eight to 12-year-old Bourbon.

Heaven Hill said this will allow it to avoid selling Elijah Craig Small Batch in even more limited capacity.

“Overall, Heaven Hill does intend to retain age-stated Bourbons within the Elijah Craig brand franchise,” the group added.

The move will allow a “marked increase” in allocations of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, which will continue to carry a 12-year-old age statement, and also slowly increase availability of the recently re-released Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old Single Barrel.

First introduced in 1992, stocks of Elijah Craig 18 Year Old Single Barrel ran dry in 2012 as not enough older barrels met the distiller’s standards. However, the expression was relaunched in October last year after a three-year hiatus.

“With the second-largest inventory of Bourbon in the world and knowing that that each barrel, no matter the age, matures at different rates depending on its location, Heaven Hill is confident that through our stringent barrel selection process, we will be able to maintain the desired taste profile and quality that has made Elijah Craig Small Batch one of the most critically acclaimed Bourbons in the world,” said Heaven Hill.

“More importantly, we are dedicated to being transparent in this change and providing consumers with as much information as reasonably possible.”

It was revealed earlier this month that Heaven Hill Brands is planning a US$15.5m expansion of its Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky. Last August, the group said it would embark on a US$13.2m project to expand its ageing capacity.

In addition to Elijah Craig, Heaven Hill owns the Evan Williams, Pikesville, Rittenhouse Rye and Henry McKenna Single Barrel American whiskey brands.

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