Brandy has a long and global history – over 25 countries produce their own version - and Cognac perfected that history. But the US has a history with brandy dating back 300 years and now California wants to take the lead in making American brandy viable once again as a brown spirit. Can it be done?
“The view of California Brandy is one of complete ignorance. Brandy is either in the well at the bar, or in the kitchen for cooking,” says Doug Frost, Master Sommelier, and Master of Wine, one of only five people in the world to hold the dual titles. Frost and 30 mixologists, writers, and distillers, including Paul Pacult, author of five books on American spirits and publisher of F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal, and Ernest J. Gallo, Managing Director of E&J Gallo’s Spirits Business Unit, (and this author) all came together at the California Brandy Summit. In 2016 the super premium brandy category advanced 16% in the US. But can the brown spirit from the Golden State carve out any viable niche despite its 300-year history?