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Recently, I became aware that Scotch distilleries sometimes put out discount product at stores like Lidl and Aldi without an age statement, so they can turn product faster at a cheaper price.

And in the past few weeks I got my hands on a Ben Bracken Speyside from Lidl, and found it to be a shockingly good Scotch at it's price point (about 30 dollars Canadian, as opposed to around 75 - 80 for our typical entry level Scotches).

My question is - are there similar Scotches available in North America (and more specifically Canada, but I don't want to be too specific)? Is this type of thing done over the pond, or are we pretty much limited to entry-level Scotch?

  • Coming from the wine and beer industry (I am) it is very common for wineries and breweries to produce 2nd labels, custom bottling, overruns relabeled and sold to Trader Joe's, Costco or wherever at all levels of the industry. Costco has had a top notch Champagne for years. We don't know who made it but it very good and at a great price. I'm sure the same goes on in the Whisky industry. – farmersteve Mar 7 at 18:49
  • I didn't want to be specific to Ontario in the question, but unfortunately as far as liquor is concerned we're confined to the LCBO, a government run organization. So I wonder if this ever happens within the confines of actual alcohol stores. I may have to look up some younger, cheaper Scotches and give them a try. – Canadian Coder Mar 7 at 18:58
  • I hear stories about the LCBO even here in the USA so good luck with that! – farmersteve Mar 8 at 15:23
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It's not that Scottish distilleries 'put out discount product at stores like Lidl and Aldi', but stores like Lidl and Aldi buy whisky from the producers to sell as own-brand products. It's a standard way of selling whisky, and has been around longer than the current distillery brand model.

Most non-distillery/major blender whiskies you find in a supermarket will probably be an own-brand. The ones I know of in the US are Trader Joe's own-branded stuff and Kirkland at Costco – I've not heard of any Canadian specific brands, especially thanks to the monopoly rules getting in the way.

It's difficult to find out who bottles the whiskies, but it's usually a larger whisky maker in Scotland who has casks from a wide range of distilleries, and can fulfil the large orders that they'd ask for. Common culprits are Whyte & Mackay and Grant's (through QSI, their bulk bottling wing), as well as smaller folks like Angus Dundee and Burn Stewart.

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