Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Case For Better American Blends.

On Saturday I wrote about the difference between American blended whiskey and blended whiskey as it is produced in Scotland, Ireland, Canada and most other places where whiskey is made. I recently wrote about this in WHISKY Magazine (Issue No. 87) as well.

I keep thinking that American producers should look seriously into all-whiskey blends, mixing straight whiskey with light whiskey, for example.

The idea is to create an American whiskey product with a lighter taste that's also a good value relative to straight whiskey, one that provides a better drinking experience than current American blended whiskeys which are typically 4/5 vodka.

But please, producers, don't promote it as a type. Create an attractive brand identity and promote that. People buy brands, not types.

Jack Daniel's and Early Times (both Brown-Forman products) have proved that consumers are perfectly happy with "whiskey" as the type. "Kentucky whisky" and "Tennessee whiskey" are terms that appear nowhere in the Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits. Legally, they're both just "whiskey."

Similarly, Seagram's Seven (a Diageo product) doesn't seem to suffer from the term "blended whiskey" that must appear on its label. To most people, Seagram's Seven is whiskey, period, despite the fact that it is 3/4 vodka.

The only type of whiskey that requires a modifier is blended whiskey. Maybe that's wrong. Maybe blended whiskey that is 100% whiskey (no NGS) deserves to just be "whiskey," without a modifier.

Why not?

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