Dario Franchitti and The Balvenie Launch 2014 Rare Craft Collection

The Balvenie 2014 Rare Craft CollectionRacing Legend to Curate Collection Showcasing American Craftspeople in Nine Cities this Fall

NEW YORK, August 2014 – The world’s most handcrafted single malt Scotch whisky, The Balvenie, in collaboration with three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and native Scotsman Dario Franchitti is celebrating some of the best examples of American craftsmanship with their 2nd Annual Rare Craft Collection. The Rare Craft Collection is a gallery-style exhibition featuring original works from some of America’s finest craftspeople which this year includes a handmade coffee table built with gears from a Chip Ganassi Team race car, specially crafted bagpipes and surfboards. Franchitti’s selections follow the highly successful 2013 Collection, which was curated by award-winning menswear designer Todd Snyder.

To help curate the Collection, Franchitti selected a first-class group of artisans to represent the hundreds of craftspeople The Balvenie has met throughout their years of dedication to handcrafted goods. “Throughout my career in motor racing, I’ve always held great admiration for the craftspeople responsible for building—by hand—the incredible cars I’ve had the great fortune to drive. Craftsmanship, in all its forms, is a huge passion of mine and when I was asked to curate the 2014 Rare Craft Collection with my friends at The Balvenie, I couldn’t wait to get started.” Dario’s collection will be presented in the following nine cities across the US:

  • Carmel, CA – August 13th – 17th
  • Los Angeles, CA – August 26th – 27th
  • Seattle, WA – September 9th – 10th
  • Austin, TX – September 16th – 17th
  • Chicago, IL – September 30th – October 1st
  • Boston, MA – October 7th – 8th
  • Washington D.C. – October 21st – 22nd
  • New York, NY – November 17th – 22nd
  • Aspen, CO – December 5th – 7th

“Dario has been a longtime friend of The Balvenie and we are thrilled to officially welcome him to the family. His spirit and excitement for carefully crafted goods shines through in his dedication to racing and his attention to precision,” stated Andrew Weir, US Senior Brand Manager for The Balvenie. “As the only single malt Scotch whisky to retain complete control over the five rare crafts that go into the production of its acclaimed single malt, The Balvenie has a kinship with artisans who still ply their craft according to traditional practices.”

Scotland native Dario Franchitti has an impressive 265 starts under his belt in IndyCar racing resulting in 31 wins, 33 poles, 119 top-five and 167 top-10 finishes. He is a three-time Indianapolis 500 Winner and a four-time Verizon IndyCar Series Champion. “When crafted well, an automobile truly is a piece of art. That fine-tuning can be applied to so many crafts, and it is The Balvenie’s appreciation and support of local crafts, craftspeople, and movements that has always impressed me,” said Franchitti.

A sample of the craftspeople to be featured in the Rare Craft Collection include:

  • Julian Halpern of Steelhead Studios in Holyoke, Massachusetts, specializes in creating custom furniture and architectural elements, demonstrating innovative ways to utilize steel by combining it with a variety of elemental materials. Steelhead Studios was founded in a former paper mill called the Canal Gallery Building. The old mills and factories that line Holyoke’s canals express the rich industrial history of the city. Working in this environment has influenced and inspired the development of Steelhead Studios.
  • J.P. Canlis of Canlis Glass in Seattle, Washington, emerged early through the art of glassblowing. Established in 1996, JP launched his own glass art business, following years of technical and conceptual development. Today, he focuses on creating one-of-a-kind hand blown or sculpted works of art from his studio with the support of his wife, Leigh, who runs their business.
  • Ubaldo Vitali, a fourth-generation silversmith in Newark, New Jersey, has gained extensive knowledge in both historic and modern metalworking techniques. He was born and raised in Italy and moved to the US in 1967. Vitali creates new works using historic techniques, restores old metalwork, and promotes the preservation of historic collections.
  • Scott Baxendal of Baxendale Guitars in Athens Georgia, began building custom guitars in 1974. Since then, he has created instruments for the world’s top musicians, restored vintage guitars for museums and private collections. His skills extend to teaching the craft of lutherie to a new a generation at his shop, Baxendale Guitar, which he opened in Athens in 2013.

RSVP to join us as we savor rare whiskies from The Balvenie distillery and raise our glasses to the men and women who continue to express their respective crafts the old way—the right way—the handcrafted way.

Visit thebalvenie.com/collection to RSVP and learn more.

About The Balvenie

The Balvenie is a unique range of single malts created by David Stewart, The Balvenie Malt Master, who celebrated his 50th year at the distillery in 2012. Each has a very individual taste, but each is rich, luxuriously smooth and underpinned by the distinctively honeyed character of The Balvenie. The Balvenie is dedicated to the five rare crafts that are used to create The Balvenie’s distinctive  taste.  It is the only distillery that still grows its own barley, uses traditional floor maltings and keeps both coppersmiths and coopers on site – making The Balvenie the most handcrafted of malts.  The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky is produced by William Grant & Sons  Ltd, an award-winning independent family-owned distiller founded by William Grant in 1886 and today run by his direct descendants.

The Balvenie core range includes The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old ($49.99), The Balvenie 14 Year old Caribbean Cask ($65.99), The Balvenie DoubleWood 17 Year Old ($149.99). The Balvenie PortWood 21 Year Old ($199.99) in   addition   to   a   variety   of   limited   release   expressions.

For  further   information visit www.thebalvenie.com.

About William Grant & Sons

William Grant & Sons, Ltd. is an independent family-owned distiller headquartered in the United Kingdom and founded by William Grant in 1887. Today, the luxury spirits company is run by the fifth generation of his family and distills some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world’s most awarded single malt Glenfiddich®, The Balvenie®   range of handcrafted single malts and the world’s third largest blended Scotch Grant’s®    along with iconic premium spirits  brands Hendrick’s®    Gin, Sailor Jerry® Rum, Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey and Milagro®  Tequila.

William Grant & Sons has been honored as “Distiller of the Year” by the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition and International Spirits Challenge ten times over the past 15 years, and most recently by Whisky Advocate in 2013.

Founded in 1964, William Grant & Sons USA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of William Grant & Sons, Ltd. and features one of the fastest growing spirits portfolios in the USA with brands including Glenfiddich, The Balvenie, Hendrick’s Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey, Milagro Tequila, Grant’s, Hudson Whiskey, Gibson’s Finest, Monkey Shoulder, Clan MacGregor, Reyka Vodka, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, Montelobos Mezcal, Lillet, Art In The Age, The Knot, and Raynal French Brandy. For more information on the company and its brands, please visit www.grantusa.com.

About Dario Franchitti

Dario Franchitti has an impressive 265 starts under his belt in IndyCar racing resulting in 31 wins, 33 poles, 119 top-five and 167 top-10 finishes. He is a three-time Indianapolis 500 Winner, four-time Verizon IndyCar Series Champion, and the winningest driver in U.S. open-wheel history from Great Britain.

Franchitti is one of only five drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 and the series title in the same season more than once. With 92 podium finishes, he is ranked fifth in the all-time list. By winning the 2012 Indianapolis 500, he became the 10th driver in history to win the race three times.