Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sometimes you're sold a story and get a free bottle of whiskey

Recently, Chuck Cowdery posted the results of his attempt to answer the question,  "Where is the Bulleit Distilling Company?" His post concludes:
There is no shame in being a non-distiller producer and if the actual producer won't let you reveal their identity, that's understandable too.

The shame is in not being honest about it.
I agree, although shame is weak currency in this industry.

I'm not sure I altogether agree with the implication of the last of a series of questions Chuck poses earlier in his post:
Do you like to do business with companies that mislead you? Are you suspicious when a company won't even tell you where their products are made? Does that make you feel appreciated and respected as a customer?
To the proposal that Bulleit's evasiveness means they don't appreciate and respect their customers, I'd answer: Can we distinguish between Bulleit's target customers and whiskey enthusiasts? To their target customers, Bulleit gives, not only a good whiskey at a good price (and whenever you see those words, stock up now!), but a whole sub-creation they can become part of. Frontier whiskey! Augustus! Olde-tyme recipe! Family tradition! Soft-spoken and avuncular founder, coming to a bar near you!

And the target customers reply, "Cool!" They get a drink at a good price, and a story thrown in for free -- or the other way around, if you prefer. Bulleit makes a nice profit, Diageo toasts its success with their customary goblets of puppy blood, and everyone's happy.

Whiskey enthusiasts? Well, they aren't happy, exactly, but they do get something to complain about, and a puzzle to work on, which has its own satisfactions.

UPDATE: This post originally started with a quotation from an interview with Tom Bulleit. The interviewer has since amended the text of that interview, revising the words that made the quotation relevant here.

No comments:

Post a Comment