Thursday, June 13, 2013
Some 'Right Now' Solutions to the NDP Whiskey Problem
When brands are created using bulk whiskey from a major distiller but the producer tries to convince you he's a craft distiller, that hurts real craft distillers. It also hurts consumers, who pay for something they aren't getting. Last month, we proposed certification as one possible solution.
No such certification program exists now, of course, so that's somewhere in the future. Here are some easy steps craft distillers can take right now to protect consumers and themselves, and separate the makers from the fakers.
First, create a very simple statement, one that a Potemkin distillery can't make. If craft distillers can informally agree on a standard wording, all the better. Then put it on everything, certainly on your product labels, web site, Facebook page, etc.
Here's what Balcones uses: "100% of Balcones whisky is mashed, fermented and distilled at our distillery. We never resell whisky from other distilleries or source aged whisky barrels for blending under the Balcones label. This is authentic craft whisky. It has not been chill-filtered, colored or otherwise unnecessarily tampered with to ensure that its full aroma and flavor are preserved. As a result, you may notice a slight haze or sediment in the bottle - signs of the rich oils and esters that we have not removed so that your whisky can be enjoyed at its best."
The last two sentences are probably superfluous, but the rest is right on target.
Second, start putting 'distilled by' on your label. Stick your DSP number in there too. Although it's usually not required, it's something the feds regulate so if someone falsifies a 'distilled by' statement, they could lose their license.
Third, whatever you do, keep it simple and keep it standardized. Do it exactly the same way every time. Then publicize it. Send every whiskey blogger the press release. Encourage your distiller friends to do it too. Everyone can tell consumers that all you have to do when you see a new 'craft' product is look for that statement. If you can't find it you should be very, very suspicious.
Who knows, that might be all it takes.