“Rye, once a niche drink, has become a mixology star. But because its rise came so quickly and unexpectedly, distillers have been dealing with a Rye shortage that has them struggling to meet demand,” reports Shanken News Daily. “We didn’t see this coming,” says Jim Beam master distiller Fred Noe. “It’s going to take us a couple of years to catch up.”
Wild Turkey’s longtime master distiller Jimmy Russell agrees: “We’re completely out for the next two years.”
Whiskey’s aging process makes it difficult to rally for increased demand (most American whiskies sit in wood for at least four years). So while distilleries have ramped up production of Rye, most is still aging in warehouses.
The shortage is particularly tough for smaller-production labels, like Heaven Hill Distilleries’ Rittenhouse 100. Rittenhouse 100 virtually disappeared from the bar scene in some cities in 2010 after it became mixologists’ go-to rye for Manhattans.
Bars lucky enough to find some of the harder-to-procure labels have been known to stockpile what they can.
How are you surviving the rye shortage? Do you have a secret hiding spot — a bookshelf that pivots with one push to reveal a rye bunker? Have you buried a bottle in the backyard? Without divulging too many specifics, let us know how you’re weathering this dry spell.