20071221

Dickeling around with the consumer

The folks at the George Dickel distillery are either idiots or marketing visionaries.

My vote is for the latter. It's the people who have fallen for the manufactrured "shortage" of George Dickel Whisky No. 8 who are acting idiotically.

Dickel stopped production of No. 8 from 1999 to 2003 at its Tullahoma, TN, facility, thus intentionally reducing inventory. Once the normal supply-and-demand forces came into effect, Dickel wasn't able to supply enough of its tipple to consumers.

Result: Dickel recently launched an advertising campaign "apologizing" for the shortage and saying it came about because its whiskey is so popular.

That was a great way to (1.) raise consumer awareness of a whiskey that, while a good Tennessee sipping spirit, is a pale shadow of category leader Jack Daniel's, and (2.) feed the fantasy that it is so popular the supply dried up.

Wise up folks. Nothing wrong with controlling production of your own product, but the beverage writers ought to know better than to fall for the gimmick.

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4 comments:

Carmen Delmolari said...

You are right about Dickle being inferior to Jack Daniels, but at least it is drinkable.

I wonder about Jim Beam which has such an odd flavor, I don’t know how it can even be called bourbon. The funny taste extends to their single barrel premium brand that I was gifted and couldn’t figure out why I didn’t like it until I read the fine print and saw it was a Jim Beam product.

William M. Dowd said...

A couple of explanations appear to be in order:

(1.) Neither George Dickel nor Jack Daniel’s is bourbon. They start out the same way but, unlike bourbon, eventually are run through a charcoal filtration process. That changes them, and the result is known as “Tennessee whiskey,” not bourbon.

(2.) The “odd flavor” of Jim Beam is what a good mass-market bourbon tastes like. That’s why it is the largest-selling bourbon in the world.

By law, bourbon must be made of at least 51% corn (most distillers use percentages in the mid- to high-70s), which accounts for much of the sweet taste (due to the sugar content of the grain) you apparently don’t care for.

If you’re interested in sampling a wider range of bourbons, your friendly neighborhood mixologist can probably set you up with a handful of small-batch bourbons that will show you a wider, and sometimes less sweet-tasting, variety.

Carmen Delmolari said...

I will pretty much be able to drink any decent bourbon or sour mash corn liquor if it is offered. I just can’t get Jim Beam past the first taste. I’ve been able to pick it out blind because it has that peculiar flavor I just can’t get past.

I know it is a big seller, but so are many products that defy explanation for their popularity, like Wonder Bread and the various light beers.

Sippin' Sam said...

An interesting discussion to jump into. Here's my take:

I'm a Manhattan drinker, and I prefer Jim Beam for that. For straight bourbon sipping, however, I prefer one of the small-batch labels like Basil Hayden or Knob Creek or Baker's.

The thing is, they're all made by Beam.