With the frantic holiday season firmly in the rearview mirror and another new year upon us, it's time to set out on a number of new adventures. Gin has been a specialty of the K&L spirits department for the last decade, but I can safely say that no gin (even the North Shore #11, Berry Bros. No. 3, and St. George Faultline editions) has ever taken K&L by storm the way Four Pillars has. When the sales of the Rare Dry edition began eclipsing single malt stalwarts like Ardbeg Uigeadail and Lagavulin 16, we knew we were dealing with something truly special. But the best part about Four Pillars is that, in a new world of capitalistic curiosity where consumers tend to buy everything once and then check it off their list, we have clients coming back to the Rare Dry over, and over, and over, and over again. It's that good. As someone who declared brand loyalty dead in the spirits game ages ago, I'm now seeing a small crack in that fiercely independent facade. The reason people gave up on brands a decade ago was because smaller companies were outhustling them in terms of quality. They realized they could drink better by looking outside the narrow window of corporate monopoly. Now, with the consolidation of the indie market and a new genre of "craft" spirits exploiting the idea of "small batch" to holy hell, I think modern consumers are beginning to gravitate back towards those safety nets once again. Four Pillars has firmly established itself over the last year as one of the great new brands within in our spirits department and I think that foundation will help carry the company over the the next decade.
Because I believe in Four Pillars so wholeheartedly, I'll be getting on a plane later tonight bound for Sydney. I'll have a brief layover before catching a connecting flight to Melbourne, where I'll then head out to the Yarra Valley and the distillery. I'll be in Australia for the next nine days learning more about the brand, meeting with some of our direct import wine producers (like Oakridge!!), and—of course—making a new batch of Faultline gin with Stuart and the gang at Four Pillars. What's crazier than the amount of traveling I'll likely be doing this year is the amount of traveling I've already had to turn down! I guess people actually read this blog, huh?
I'll be live here the whole time and over at On the Trail as well. I'll probably do the more detailed professional work there, while using the spirits blog for quicker, more loosely-styled updates.
The open road awaits!