Kirk Hammett Defends Making Metallica Whiskey After James Hetfield’s Rehab Stint

Metallica‘s Kirk Hammett has defended the band’s decision to keep making its signature “Blackened” whiskey, despite frontman and co-founder James Hetfield‘s return to rehab in the fall of 2019.

Metallica launched a brand of whiskey in late 2018 called “Blackened” named after a track from 1988 album …And Justice For All. In May, Metallica released a Batch 100 limited-edition box set of Blackened American Whiskey.

According to the band, the spirit is a blend of American bourbon, rye, and whiskey that wasn’t just barrel-aged, but also sound-aged to the group’s own music.

During an interview with the U.K.’s Daily Star, Hammett said that the whiskey is unrelated to Hetfield’s return to rehab in September last year.

“You can’t compare the two things,” he said. “James’s struggle to get dry is a completely personal matter mentally and emotionally. The fact that we produce, bottle and sell alcohol is totally independent of this.”

“It is completely up to you whether you drink or not,” Hammett added. “And I think I can sell what I want. If I were a diabetic, that wouldn’t mean that I couldn’t sell sweets.”

Hammett said he and his bandmates support Hetfield in his efforts to stay clean.

“We hold a virtual meeting once a week to keep in touch,” he said.
“James is working his way out of his situation. We can really only try to support him.”

Hetfiled’s return to rehab forced the band to postpone their tour of Australia and New Zealand.

(Photo: Carlos Rodríguez/Andes)

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