Thursday, July 29, 2010

White Whiskey And The Tyranny Of The New.

I was at an event last night, pitching bourbon woo. Also there was my friend Meg Bell from Koval Distillery. They make unaged grain spirits -- white whiskey -- although Koval doesn't use that term.

This wasn't exactly a straight whiskey crowd, yet people seemed to know the term "white whiskey" and what it meant. How is that possible? People barely know what whiskey is but they already know what white whiskey is?

(I was already thinking about white whiskey yesterday because of Kevin Erskine's post about Death's Door.)

I guess it's the Tyranny Of The New. White whiskey isn't even new, it's just a new name for something that has been around forever, something people stopped drinking more than a century ago when better tasting distilled spirits became cheap and widely available.

White whiskey and its micro-distillery kin, very young whiskey, are not so new that they haven't already generated some pushback, as Steve Ury demonstrates here.


Unknown said...

The thing about the term "white whiskey" is that it communicates everything you need to know right away.

It's marketing gold.

Porter vs. pilsner? Bourbon vs. Tennessee Whiskey? The words themselves mean nothing.

Oh, and don't forget the definition of "new":

something I've never seen before

Tim Dellinger

Anonymous said...

A couple of notes on Koval from the meet:

1) Actually Meg was using the term "white whiskey" to describe their products

2) OTOH, Hum listed the Koval Wheat Whiskey as "Wheat Vodka" on the recipe (and in the drink mixing presentation) for the Chimopolitian (a variation of the Cosmo made with all Chicago liquors) so I guess the concept of a white whiskey still has a way to go before people think "It's clear, it's vodka"

Tom Helt

Chuck Cowdery said...

My mistake. I should have said Koval doesn't label its products "white whiskey."