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Vom Fass and Yahara Bay


TAPrice
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Recently, a Vom Fass store opened down the street from me. This is a German chain with stores around the globe. As I understand, the first corporate store has been open in Madison, WI, for some time. The New Orleans outlet is one of the first franchises.

The first room has lots of jars of oils and vinegars. You can sample anything and buy them in reusable bottles of various sizes. So far, so good.

Here is where it gets odd. The second room has some wine and lots of spirits. All the liquor is generic bottles, which the store hand labels. It's a bit like that grocery store in Repo Man except aimed at a different demographic. I'm pretty sure the Vom Fass clientele is more concerned about foreclosure man.

From what I could gather (the owners weren't super up to speed) some of the spirits, like Irish whiskey and Scotch, are imported. Most of them, however, are made by Yahara Bay (link).

Does anyone know anything Vom Fass? What is Yahara Bay's reputation? I'm a little dubious about one distillery being able to produce that kind of range. And the idea of drinks without a backstory seem antithetical to the current zeitgeist (you'd think a German company would be tuned in to the zeitgeist, wouldn't you?).

I'll certainly try some soon. Almost everything comes in 375 ml bottles, so the investment is minimal.

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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As a resident of Madison, WI I know a bit about the store and the distillery. As for the labels, someone in the store told me that their bottling practice is a result of regulation. They can't just fill whatever container you like and label it however they want because they have to follow strict guidelines (no surprise there).

As for Yahara Bay, their products are ok but not really worth buying. In my experience, there are better examples of pretty much every product they make. Their white rum is especially not-too-good. Their apple brandy is decent, if boring. Their aged rum doesn't have much going on. You see the pattern.

I'm actually pretty surprised Yahara Bay (named for a tiny tiny river down the street from me) is getting this kind of distribution. It's a very small operation.

nunc est bibendum...

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Website's under construction, but will go live in 2008, so that's good.

Got to cut the Germans some slack, they've been busy with the PIIGS.

Is store label liquor a German or European thing, or just idea out of step with the present?

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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There's a few Vom Fass stores in the UK, it's a franchised business and a relation of mine worked in a wine shop that took on a small Vom Fass franchise in the corner of the store.

They are trained by Vom Fass representitives on how to label each bottle and other intricacies of things are run.

With the heavy emphasis on the way things are labelled, packaged and wrapped up I'd say they are primarily aiming to look at the gift market.

I've not tried any of the licquor's myself and have only had a couple of Extra Virgin olive oil's from them which were all decent enough.

In England they are mostly found in Selfridges department stores.

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Got a call from the owner of the local shop (so odd when the virtual work and real world meet) with more info.

They have over 30 spirits, but only 6 are distilled by Yahara Bay. For the others, Yahara Bay bottles them.

The official government label is on the back, while the front is blank and labeled by each story.

They also reminded me that 200 ml bottles are an option.

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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I think Yahara Bay also distill the Death's Door products.

I haven't tried any of the Yahara Bay stuff, but have a bit of a soft spot for Death's Door, especially their White Whiskey.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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