Sunday, October 23, 2016

Old Grand-Dad Discontinues 1.75 L Size



Old Grand-Dad Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is no longer available in the 1.75 L size. Discontinuing the 1.75 L is another strategy for stretching limited supplies of whiskey. Like Maker's Mark, a brand that briefly discontinued its 1.75 L a few years ago, Old Grand-Dad is a Beam Suntory product.

The goal is to keep a brand that is under supply pressure on the shelf, because available whiskey will go further in the smaller sizes. It is also possible that Old Grand-Dad, being a relatively small brand, was not selling enough in the jumbo size to justify its continued distribution. Most likely the decision was due to multiple factors.

Some people worry that the discontinuation of a size means the brand itself is in jeopardy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The brand is doing very well, despite a minimal marketing spend. That doesn't mean there won't be more changes. The brand's high proof expression, Old Grand-Dad 114, probably will be discontinued next year, Beam sources say.

Like Maker's Mark, Old Grand-Dad uses a different recipe from Jim Beam and other company brands such as Knob Creek, Booker's, Baker's, and Old Crow. Old Grand-Dad contains twice as much rye as Jim Beam (about 30%). Basil Hayden is the only other brand that uses Old Grand-Dad liquid and it too is growing.

A venerable old brand that originated in the 19th century, Old Grand-Dad is a good whiskey that is often not on the radar of many young bourbon drinkers. Especially with the growing popularity of straight rye, high rye bourbons such as Old Grand-Dad offer a unique taste profile. Bulleit and Four Roses are other examples of high rye bourbon.

NOTE: Information about Old Grand-Dad 114 was added on Monday, 10/24.

18 comments:

Sam Komlenic said...

Interesting. Here in Pennsylvania Old Grand-Dad Bonded 1.75s disappeared first, about six months ago, followed by regular OGD. I thought it was due to delisting of those sizes by the PLCB. Never thought about the distiller discontinuing the package itself.

Jim Laminack said...

Might be a 3rd possible reason Chuck. Typically the 1.75L carries the lowest profit margins. If supplies are tight why not make more money? The risk though is losing loyal customer with the perpetual 1.75L in his liquor cabinet.

Anonymous said...

Well, crap. The ABC in my state just started carrying OGD114 and it quickly became one of my favorites. So long Grand Dad, I hardly knew ya'.

Josh said...

There is yet another possible reason why they need to stretch that even further... Bulleit. With the Four Roses contract over it has to come from somewhere and based on taste alone I'd say it's coming from Jim Beam these days.

About 2 months back I was at a bar with some friends and one of my buddies ordered a round at the bar and brought back some tumblers. I tasted mine and the first thing I thought was Jim Beam, specifically OGD. It had that JB character, but a bit more bite and when I asked him what it was he said "Bulleit". After the bar I went home and opened a brand new bottle of Bulleit I had been given as a gift and tried it next to current OGD 80 & BiB. They were so similar I can't help but think that's, at least partially, what's in Bulleit now.

I've reached out to Diageo and they aren't saying who's supplying it now, but based on what I'm smelling and tasting it seems like it could be OGD.

Prashanth Gopal said...

Oh Gosh! The rumors about the discontinuation of OGD 114 have been floating around for quite some time, but this is the first I am hearing of it being said by Beam sources. Sad day indeed Chuck. Has anybody else confirmed this independently yet? I do hope that it does not end up being true, but with all the changes in the Bourbon world these last few years, I guess I really should not be surprised though... Oh well... (Sigh).

Chuck Cowdery said...

You may consider this official.

Prashanth Gopal said...

Thanks for the quick confirmation Chuck. I picked up a lone bottle of OGD 114 sitting on a dusty bottom shelf earlier this week at a local liquor store and was planning on cracking it open over the weekend. Now, I will most likely delay that reward and set it aside for a special occasion instead...

Jamie Ficor said...

OGD 114, Are you @#%!&* kidding me?!? Ergh, can't something good that is well priced just remain on the shelf?........so since it sounds like you are pretty confident in your knowledge of this decision, do you have any thoughts on the why?

Chuck Cowdery said...

Same as the reasons for discontinuing the 1.75 L. They have more demand than the available stocks can support so they are trying to consolidate and deploy the resources they have for maximum profitability and brand value.

Sam Komlenic said...

I've been thinking about this from another angle over the last few days, and I'm not coming up with any good answers. We've been in this whiskey boom for more than a few years now, and we keep hearing that the distillers have been ramping up production for some time.

In fact, recently I've been reading that the industry is finally catching up to the demand on four-year bourbon and that things should normalize sooner than later.

If that's the case, Beam should have been increasing the supply of the new make for the Grand-Dad variants for at least a few years now and should actually be catching up.

Why then would they be discontinuing packages and labels and using the shortage as an excuse? If they really wanted to continue them, they should be on the down side of the availability curve at this point.

Or am I missing something here?

Chuck Cowdery said...

Simple economics, Sam. If demand growth continues to outpace supply growth, there is no catching up.

Sam Komlenic said...

You know, I almost can't fathom what the pressure must be on the market right now if that's the case. I guess it's interesting to watch; I've never seen anything like this in 40 years of drinking.

Dickens is still ringing in my ears...

Unknown said...

Local store is running a special on OGD 114 for $21 this week. I'll stock up. Very sad news about the discontinuation. I wonder why Beam didn't just boost the price $10 more? Or maybe they'll reintroduce it as OGD 114 "Barrel Select" & charge $40 a pop. That's a familiar strategy.

Burly said...

About a month ago, the two liquor stores in Berkeley and El Cerrito where I buy bonded OGD stopped carrying both pints and half pints. They said these sizes had been discontinued. I was heart-broken.

Unknown said...

Pappy won't ever catch up Chuck so does that mean they may go bye bye one day too

John Luksic said...

But Pappy won't ever ever catch up with the crazy demand now so does that mean we worry about PVW & BTAC as well?

Anonymous said...

Who told you Maker's Mark discontinued the 1.75 L bottling? I buy it all the time. By discontinued you may mean that your local distributor stopped carrying it. Around hear liter bottles have all but disappeared. So you have a choice of 750 ml or 1.75 L. This is all the distributors' doing since it forces you to pay more with each purchase or make more frequent purchases. Oh, and those 750 ml bottles cost as much as the liter bottles once did. Combine this with the foodies going all agog over bourbons and one begins to see why Marker' Mark now cost more than good blended scotch.

Chuck Cowdery said...

As the post says, the Maker's Mark situation was temporary.