Friday, October 28, 2011

Van Winkle Watch.

The purpose here is not to tell you about the Van Winkle whiskeys. It is to tell people who already know about Van Winkle whiskeys that the fall 2011 release will be in stores before 2011 expires -- barely. Probably just after Thanksgiving. Get friendly with your whiskey monger now.

That's official, from the Van Winkles.

You should know (and this isn't from-them official) that the chronic scarcity of Van Winkle whiskey is a deliberate business strategy, not that there's anything wrong with that. By keeping supply well below demand, the company reduces its selling cost and market risk to just about zero. Nobody pressures you on price when you're on allocation, so profits are protected and predictable. They actually do increase the supply, so their profits do grow, just not by much. It's a very unconventional and conservative business model, probably suitable only for small, family-run businesses.

To reflect a bit afield, the current state of things should have us all thinking about the point at which 'reasonable profits' slips over into 'unconscionable greed.' A company like Van Winkle shows that 'get as much as you can as fast as you can' is not the only way to be successful.


Frank said...

not sure where "unconscionable greed" enters the mix though...if people are willing to pay a lot for, citing another post of yours, "spirit whiskey", let them. if they tell themselves they enjoy it and buy into the marketing, there will still be people like you out there for people like me, who like quality over quantity, to find. can't blame the corporation if some marketing guy comes up with a way to get more money out of a bottle of cheap booze.

i mean really - thin guys and girls in beer commercials who drink lots of bud light, eat wings, and go to football games? we could accuse Budweiser of being unconscionably greedy all we want, but if you're drinking 6/8/10 buds when you're out with your friends because you think you look cool, who's to blame there?

Chuck Cowdery said...

Many investors and business people have an attitude of "make as much as you can as fast as you can by any means necessary." That's how I define "unconscionable greed." Van Winkle shows that there are other ways to be successful in business, especially if you want to be successful in that business for generations. (For the Van Winkles, since 1893.)