MGP of Indiana
MGP of Indiana (Midwest Grain Products of Indiana) is a distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana producing spirits for private label sale. These are sold under about 50 different brand names by various bottling companies but none under its own name. Some of these are misleadingly marketed as small batch brands by artisanal "craft" microdistilleries. The facility's master distiller is Greg Metze, and its largest customer is the London-based multinational beverage giant Diageo.
The distillery was founded in 1847 and purchased by Seagram in 1933. While under their ownership, the distillery was called the Jos. E. Seagram Lawrenceburg Plant. When Seagram went out of business, its assets were acquired by other companies, and the Lawrenceburg distillery became the property of Pernod Ricard.
On April 19, 2006, Pernod Ricard announced plans to close the distillery, but instead sold it in 2007 to CL Financial, a holding company based in Trinidad and Tobago, which renamed it "Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana" (LDI). CL Financial later collapsed and required government intervention, although the facility continued to operate through the company crisis.
MGP of Indiana does not have any brands of its own at present. It sells its output to various bottlers. One primary product of MGP Indiana is a straight rye whiskey with a 95% rye mash bill, which is bottled under various brand names, including Angel's Envy, Bulleit Rye, Filibuster, George Dickel Rye, High West, James E. Pepper, Redemption, Smooth Ambler, and Templeton Rye. It also produces straight Bourbon whiskey, which is sold under various brand names, such as the Cougar Bourbon brand sold in Australia. These straight whiskeys are also used as the straight whiskey components in Seagram's Seven Crown, a blended whiskey now produced by Diageo. The distillery also produces neutral spirits used in the production of Seagram-branded gin and vodka, now owned by Pernod Ricard.
Altogether, MGP is the source of beverage spirits sold under about 50 different brand names, although these are often sold misleadingly by their bottlers as distinctive products with minimal disclosure of the actual source of the spirits. Some industry experts have commented negatively about the practice, such as the whiskey writer Charles Cowdery who has decried such bottlers as "Potemkin distilleries". As one example, in a class action settlement announced in 2015 about the marketing of the Templeton Rye brand which was actually produced using MGP spirits, Templeton was required add the words "distilled in Indiana" to its label and remove claims of using a "Prohibition Era Recipe" and "small batch" production. The settlement also offered refunds to customers who had bought Templeton Rye since 2006.
Some brands modify the facility's products somewhat before bottling and selling them. George Dickel Rye, introduced in 2012, is mashed, distilled and aged in Indiana at MGP, and then trucked to the Diageo bottling plant in Plainfield, Illinois for filtering and bottling. Angel's Envy finishes its spirits in old rum casks before bottling.
- Smith, Ellis (March 25, 2014). "Chattanooga Whiskey distillery opening delayed until 2015". Chattanooga Times Free-Press.
- Charles A. Cowdery, MGP Adds Six New Whiskey Recipes to Lawrenceburg Distillery's Portfolio, The Chuck Cowdery Blog, April 3, 2013.
- "Company Overview of Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana, LLC". Businessweek. Bloomberg. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- Felten, Eric (July 28, 2014). "Your 'Craft' Rye Whiskey Is Probably From a Factory Distillery in Indiana". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
- "MGP Expanding Whiskey and Bourbon Offerings with Addition of New Mash Bills". April 2, 2013. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
- Charles A. Cowdery, George Dickel Gives a Different Taste to LDI Rye, The Chuck Cowdery Blog, October 26, 2012.
- Federal Writers' Project (1941). Indiana: A Guide to the Hoosier State. USA: The Department of Public Relations of Indiana State Teachers College. p. 364.
- MGP Ingredients Inc. to Purchase Lawrenceburg, Indiana Distillery Assets, company press release, Oct. 21, 2011.
- Noel, Josh (July 14, 2015). "Templeton Rye reaches lawsuit settlement, will pay refunds". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
- Larry Olmstead, A Brand New Rye Whiskey That Will Turn Heads, Forbes, 25 October 2012.
- Kevin Gray, George Dickel Rye Whisky Review, October 19, 2012.