The internet is a content pig and, like the animal itself, not particular about what it eats. Its taste for news runs more to the now-defunct News of the World than CNN. To be blunt, most of what passes for news on the internet is garbage.
This past weekend, especially if you favor talk about whiskey, you heard about Chicken Cock Whiskey, probably for the first time. This is not Fighting Cock Bourbon, a fine Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey made by Heaven Hill. Chicken Cock is a brand new flavored whiskey product from serial distilled spirits entrepreneur Matti Antilla (Cabana Cachaca), whose business (Abb Partners, LLC) appears to be based in Florida although Chicken Cock has a Charleston, South Carolina address, perhaps because the University of South Carolina's sports mascot is the gamecock.
Chicken Cock comes in an aluminum bottle, in three flavors: Cinnamon, Southern Spiced, and Root Beer.
For readers who prefer whiskey-flavored whiskey, you might want to know that 'flavored whiskey' was a moribund classification until recently. Because whiskey is hot right now every trendy, new youth-oriented spirits product wants to be called 'whiskey.' According to the regs, 'flavored whiskey' is whiskey to which natural flavors have been added. Invariably, the whiskey part just barely meets the minimum requirements for use of that term.
Flavored whiskey can be bottled as low as 30% ABV (60° proof) but Chicken Cock is 43% ABV (86° proof).
On Friday, it was reported that on June 10, a truck carrying 10,000 bottles of Chicken Cock on their way to a Texas distributor was stolen from a truck stop in Florence. No reports of this robbery appeared in the media until after Antilla dropped his press release, publicizing the theft and offering a $10,000 reward for the return of his whiskey.
Most outlets just re-printed the press release or paraphrased it, questioning nothing. No one, for instance, seems to have looked at a map. Charleston to Florence is a funny way to get to Texas.
Some of our friends did good work. Davin de Kergommeaux explored the brand's legitimate history, which Antilla has been clever enough to appropriate. He researched the term 'chicken cock,' a regional synonym for 'rooster,' and also found a Canadian connection. Fred Minnick talked to Antilla and determined that, although Antilla's press release says the truck was coming from his Charleston "distillery," Chicken Cock is a non-distiller producer. Minnick also called the Florence County sheriff, but they haven't returned his calls.
Stories like this often disappear. What catches the content-hungry eye is the vaguely salacious name, the sensational crime, and the plea to the public for help. The resolution, when it comes, probably will only be reported if Antilla publicizes it. That is what the news business has become.
Realistically, the loss to Antilla is about $60,000, less whatever he can recover from insurance; or $10,000 if he gets the shipment back and pays the reward, but he got a million dollars worth of publicity. That, boys and girls, is how it's done.