Back in my magazine days, I would fly to Sussex, Wisconsin, usually 10 times a year to oversee the printing of Men’s Health, where I served as Managing Editor.

It was also the place where I got my start writing about spirits. In 2014, my brother and his friends planned a football stadium trip through the Midwest. As the stars aligned, I was finishing up a press run in Wisconsin when the crew was driving from Soldier field in Chicago to Green Bay where my Jets were playing the Packers at Lambeau Field. Naturally, I came along to catch the game.

My brother, Brian, and his childhood buddies, Jason and Rich, were all in the car. Rich lives in Edmonton, Canada, and brought a little something special from up North: a bottle of Alberta Premium. While this flagship whisky was nothing flashy or expensive, it proved to be a a fine example of a true Canadian at a reasonable price, that until now has been impossible to find outside of Canada. We drank the hell out of that bottle while we spent the afternoon in the lot experiencing the outrageous pregame scene, and had a fine time making new friends and perhaps a few enemies as we cheered for our team at the game.

Photo courtesy of Alberta Premium

What's In The Bottle?

On the heels of a Cask Strength release last year, Alberta Premium’s core product, an 80 proof 100% rye, is finally available in the States. Ridiculously smooth and drinkable, this mellow, vanilla and spice-laden rye from Calgary is undoubtedly worth a try at $25.

A great day at Lambeau Field, fueled by Alberta Premium.

Truth be told, I enjoyed that easy-drinking Canadian rye a little more than I’m proud to admit, and while the Jets predictably lost the game (they were up 21-3 in the first quarter), nobody cared too much. Sharing a fine whiskey with my brother and friends while tailgating at an iconic stadium made for the kind of day that I will never forget. The parts I remember, anyway. But I was psyched to learn that everyone in the States finally has a chance to try Alberta Premium, so pick up a bottle and have yourself an incredible day.

Spirits writers, marketers and designers are among the most influential forces in the spirits industry. Their opinions, ideas and creative talents inform and influence consumer perceptions and buying decisions. The John Barleycorn Society was started by a group of spirits journalists seeking to honor excellence in all facets of the industry. The journalists spent several years creating a comprehensive competition that became the John Barleycorn Awards. An elite team of authoritative and influential spirits journalists was selected to administer the flagship component of the Awards, a blind tasting competition destined to become the preeminent arbitrator of spirits taste, quality and character.