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High West expands A Midwinter Night’s Dram

The 11th edition of A Midwinter Night’s Dram from Utah-based High West Distillery will be the largest release in the series to date.

A bottle of whiskey in nature
Act 11 of A Midwinter Night’s Dram will have increased availability internationally

A Midwinter Night’s Dram, a blend of rye whiskies finished in Port barrels from High West Distillery, is back for its 11th year. With 189,684 bottles available worldwide, it is the largest release of the limited edition whiskey to date.

“We’re in a whole new chapter of Midwinter,” said master distiller Brendan Coyle.

Last year, the brand celebrated the whiskey’s 10th anniversary with a dual release: Act 10 in the series and a commemorative bottling dubbed The Encore. Developing two whiskeys as opposed to one, Coyle said, made everyone a bit crazy, so for this year’s release, they wanted to take their time. “We’ll do some more fun riffs off it in the future. But for right now, for this year, for next year, we’re focusing on what got us here.”

A Midwinter Night’s Dram Act 11 takes High West’s Rendezvous Rye – a blend of MGP-sourced 95% rye and the distillery’s own 80% rye – and finishes it in tawny and ruby Port barrels. It is bottled at 49.3% ABV and priced at US$150.

While the increased availability will mean more bottles for everyone, Coyle notes that it also allows the brand to enter new markets in Europe and Australia.

“I wouldn’t say you’re going to see a saturation of Midwinter in the marketplace. That’s not going to happen,” he said. “You’re going to see us in more places. Definitely international, which is really exciting, but also in some more places in the US as well. We have a bigger footprint now, which is cool.”

Constellation Brands purchased High West in 2016. Coyle said that there was a desire to trim, simplify and expand the brand’s line-up, which meant discontinuing Yippee Ki-Yay – another popular limited release – rebranding its core Bourbon and changing many of the blend recipes to include High West’s own-make rye. The rye component in next year’s Campfire release, which blends rye, Bourbon and blended malt Scotch, will be entirely High West’s own for the first time. Coyle lit up when discussing these stocks, saying the more he works with them, the more loves them.

“We’re being liberal with our usage of our potstill because we finally have enough of it now and we’re bringing the diversity back to the portfolio,” Coyle said. “Before it was more like condensation – now it’s like: take a deep breath and go.”

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