Louisville’s new Rabbit Hole distillery has been making some major moves over the past few months. In June, it was announced that French beverage company Pernod Ricard had acquired a majority stake in the distillery, adding it to a whiskey portfolio that already includes popular brands like Jameson and The Glenlivet. Now Rabbit Hole has unveiled a complete rebranding of its core lineup that gives each whiskey a new name, and a brand-new expression has been added as well.
According to the brand, Rabbit Hole founder/distiller Kaveh Zamanian had all of this in the works well before the Pernod Ricard acquisition. “Knowing that the Rabbit Hole portfolio would continue to grow, we decided to give each of our spirits a distinctive name that evokes the ethos of Rabbit Hole,” said chief marketing officer Michael Motamedi in a prepared statement. The names certainly are distinctive, although perhaps a bit harder to remember from a branding perspective as they don’t exactly roll off of your tongue. The four-grain straight bourbon will now be called Cavehill after a Louisville cemetery where distillers have been buried; the straight rye will be called Boxergrail, “inspired by the greatest boxer and Louisvillian of all-time”; and the bourbon finished in sherry casks will be called Dareringer as a tribute to Zamanian’s wife.
“Knowing that the Rabbit Hole portfolio would continue to grow, we decided to give each of our spirits a distinctive name that evokes the ethos of Rabbit Hole.”
The newest product is called Heigold ($70), a high-rye bourbon with a mash bill of 70% corn, 25% malted rye, and 5% malted barley. Like the other products in the portfolio, this bourbon will be contract distilled while the distillery continues to produce and mature its whiskey. Heigold is aged for less than four years, non-chill filtered, and bottled at 95 proof. The whiskey was named after German immigrant Christian Heigold, a stonemason who achieved success in Louisville in the 19th century. The facade of his mansion is still standing today just east of downtown.
Pernod Ricard continues to invest in American whiskey — the company bought a majority stake in Smooth Ambler in 2016, and just last month acquired Texas distillery Firestone & Robertson. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the coming years, and how much time and energy is spent on these relative newcomers to the American whiskey scene.
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