LDI & MGPI
I taught an American whiskey class a couple months back and all of the young people asked about LDI. It was like they had heard rumors that Santa wasn’t real, but the didn’t want to believe the hurtful whispers.
“Tell us, Mr, Whiskey Man, is it true that there are whiskies out there that don’t have their own distillery?”
Rather than take the Woodward & Bernstein approach to LDI, how about we tell the story from the creator mother point of view?
“Gather ’round young people and let me tell you of the mother distillery, it is in Indiana and since way back in 1933, it was run by the mythical people of the north (Canadians/Seagram’s), it made whiskey for all the little boys and girls but then the north people traded (sold for parts) the mother distillery to the fancy people from across the sea (French/ Pernod Ricard) and they made whiskey until they lost their way and neglected the mother distillery and it almost died until a magic angel (MGPI) breathed life into it again once restoring whiskey for all the land”
Does that make sense? There is a company called Midwest Grain Products and Ingredients or MGPI that owns one of America’s biggest distilleries called Lawrenceburg Distillers of Indiana or LDI. MGPI is a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ if you want to get in the alcohol futures game. LDI likely makes over 100 american whiskies, parts for scores of Canadian whiskies and more industrial grain alcohol than you’d need to clean every aircraft carrier engine in the US Navy and leftovers to get every kid in the PAC 10 drunk.
Why am I not railing against this?
Because I don’t give a fuck.
Blending is an art all by itself and if you buy celebrity vodka brands (often also made at LDI) then you have worse problems than ethical purity for distilling. Many people buy old stocks of aged whiskey from LDI, blend it to perfection, and create a brand. Many more just buy, bottle and say “fuck it.” Your opinion of the bourbon/rye/american whiskey is all that matters. Ask Sku to tell you where things come from, he has a great blog explaing who makes EVERY American whiskey.
The last note on this is when you read a bottle, understand that “produced by” does not mean “distilled by.” If it’s important to you, or if some asshole is talkin’ ’bout his ol’ pappy’s secret 95% rye mash bill to can always ask, “where was this distilled?”