• From Forbes.com
In a far-off corner of the Jameson whiskey facility in Midleton, Ireland, sits a long-dormant warehouse. It’s an old one -- the earliest evidence of the buildings’ existence can be found on a map from 1850 -- once used to store stacks of whiskey barrels three high. But lately, this warehouse has been the site of something else: A sort of innovation lab that the company calls its Micro-Distillery, where the staid whiskey brand experiments and creates new concoctions that may never see the light of day.Go here for the full story.
Here, distiller Karen Cotter (it should be noted; a woman in one of the world’s most male-dominated professions) plays around with different recipes and distillation techniques in the hopes of stumbling onto something great -- or at least different. Innovation comes slow to the spirit world. Aged spirits such as whiskey can take years to produce, and laws and regulations that strictly define what a “Scotch” or “bourbon” is leaves precious little wiggle room with which to try new things.
And, if a company has been around for a couple of hundred years, the chances are pretty good that their customers are looking forward to their familiarity, and buying into the idea that a bottle produced in 2016 tastes strikingly similar to one produced in 1916. These facts conspire to create a conundrum: How does a spirit brand innovate without alienating?