On this episode, we discuss two topics that are top of mind. First, is the Coronavirus and how it’s impacting the bourbon industry. Then we take a look at the hype and hysteria that surrounds Blanton’s. We dive into the recent news of Blanton’s Gold making its way to the US and if we think $120 SRP is a deal you should jump on. You will hear a new voice for a few minutes and that is Aaron Goldfarb. You may have seen his work on various publications around the web. He wasn’t able to stay on due to some technical difficulties, but we hope to have him on again soon.
- Barrel Shortage: https://www.thedailybeast.com/is-there-a-bourbon-barrel-shortage-on-the-horizon
- This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about taxes.
- What are distilleries doing for coronavirus?
- History of Blanton’s.
- How did Blanton’s become so popular?
- Will limiting the purchases of allocated items work?
- Why don’t distilleries use technology to manage this problem?
- Blanton’s Gold coming to the US. Is it because of tariffs?
- Are they taking away from the European allocation?
- How can you make more product with only one warehouse?
- Will quality suffer with increased production?
- What other companies have a similar strategy to Blanton’s?
- What do you think of the price point?
- Will Straight from the Barrel ever come to the U.S.?
- Thanks to Blake from bourbonr.com, Jordan from BreakingBourbon.com , Brian from sippncorn.com, and Aaron Goldfarb for joining.
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So if you think back in the 1980s it was a bleak period for bourbon.
Thanks, thanks, Ryan.
Is poppin bottles they don’t their shit what’s going on around here? I’m listening really. I thought it was a good timing.
This is Episode 245 of bourbon pursuit. I’m one of your hosts Kenny. We’ve got a lot of news to cover. So let’s hit it. Cova 19 are the corona virus is hitting everyone extremely hard. Now, I’m not sure why people are stocking up on toilet paper like they don’t plan on leaving the bathroom anytime soon. But I’m sure most of us have enough bourbon to get us through this time. At this point, every major distillery has shut down tours. So if you had plans to visit the bourbon trail, please make sure you do your research before coming to see what is and what is not open. likely it’s going to be nothing because even at this time, all bars and restaurants in the city of Louisville are admitted to shut down in person patrons. And in more coronavirus news. We’ve talked about this before about one of the benefits of having a state run liquor is that the product is always sold at SRP. Well, who could have predicted this but Pennsylvania one of those states where all spirits are government sanctioned and controlled have closed
All liquor stores in the state in definitely on Tuesday this past week. This also includes all online orders. So that means the entire state of Pennsylvania has literally zero access to bourbon. I guess after all this time we call them bourbon bunkers for a reason.
In a shocking vote, a bill is passed by the House licensing and occupations committee that allows Kentucky residents to get alcohol shipped to their door, but get this directly from the producer and wait for it without going through a distributor or retailer. This is a huge modernization and reform that could lead to a larger domino effect across the nation. Now this bill would require alcohol shipments meet very clearly labeled and an ID check and signature upon delivery. The producer would still have to pay the excise tax on all inbound shipments coming to Kentucky. However, retailers testified in front of the committee to express concerns about how the bill would negatively impact their businesses because people would be able to
for alcohol from their homes, and have it shipped to their door instead of going to the local retailer. In my head, I’m thinking, Well, yeah, that’s kind of the whole point, right? However, that didn’t matter. And now this amended House Bill 415 is going to the full house. We’re going to keep you updated as this progresses. Is there a barrel shortage on the horizon? Well, Lou Bryson over the Daily Beast wrote an article where he interviews everyone from Cooper’s to loggers and Miller’s themselves. The loggers fear a shortage of white oak while the Cooper’s really don’t. Wood scientists see wetter conditions now than they have in previous years. And the increased deer populations actually eating acorns, which means less trees, and at this time, there’s no plan to actually manage oak populations so it could lead to more maple and pure white oaks. However, independent Steve company says that they are coming off to rainy years where prices for logs were high, but now they see plenty of oak across 20 different states. Brown Forman cooperage says that they see more white oak now.
They have in the past 40 years, and the industry is doing better sustainability by harvesting oak at the right time to allow newer growth to form loosens up the pose talking about the coop urges only using about 2% of the hardwood industry. But he reflected upon his time spent with the logger. And he said that there is a lot of oak out there, but it’s actually impossible to mill it because there’s no Mills around and it’s hard to get it out of the forest as well. So bourbon is gonna continue to be produced, but we’ll have to see what the future entails. For the barrels themselves. You can read this story over the daily beast with the link in our show notes. Can bourbon be made in US territories like Puerto Rico and Guam? Well, Josh Peters over at the whiskey jug took this question to the TTB regulations division to see if it actually still would be legally called bourbon. Sure enough, they confirmed it that bourbon whiskey can be produced in Puerto Rico and Guam with reference to 27 CFR five dot 11 where the USA is defined
As the United States, the several states and territories and the District of Columbia, and the term state includes a territory and the District of Columbia, and the term territory means the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. So there you have it.
Booker’s bourbon batch 2020 dash one also known as Granny’s batch will be released at 63.2% ABV or 126.4 proof. It is named after the sixth generation master distiller Booker knows mom, Margaret beam note. Although she never worked in the bourbon business herself, she certainly played an important role in keeping the bourbon family tradition alive, carrying the legacy on from the fifth to the sixth generation. She was very close with her oldest son Booker, who was instrumental in getting him his first job at the distillery where he would eventually go to become the master distiller. This bourbon is be released at six years, four months and 21 days in age. It would be available sometime around this month for around $90 for real
is setting aside six barrels to be chosen for and exclusively sold to the four roses mellow moments members. mellow moments is a special club organized by four roses that allows members of the general public to be a part of special gatherings, tastings. And you can stay up to date on for roses news. Plus get some cool trinkets sent in the mail every once in a while. new members can apply at select times during the year when the window opens, and the window to join when that membership does open is only for a handful of minutes so you better at quick. You can see their website for more details at mellow moments club.com. Now some pursuit series news episodes 22 and 23 are now available on sale box comm so if you’re looking to get some killer bourbon shipped to your door during this time, head on over there and get stocked up. Episode 23 I’m super excited about because it’s our oldest release ever at 15 years old.
Now today’s show, we talk about two things
Things that are top of mind. First, it’s that Corona virus, we had to talk about it. But we decided to change topics up a little bit because you’ve been hearing all about it on the news. So we got to kind of break away from it. And what are the bourbon is out there that can be just as argumentative. It’s got to be bland. So we take the whole entire episode and talk about it. We take a look at the hype and the hysteria that surrounds it. we dive into the recent news of Blanton’s gold making its way to the US and it do we think of $120 SRP, there’s a deal that you should be jumping on. You’re also going to hear a new voice for a few minutes when we start this. And that’s Aaron Goldfarb. Now, you may have seen his work on various publications around the web, but due to some technical difficulties, he wasn’t able to stay on for the entire podcast, but we hope to have him on again once in the future. All right, it’s show time. Here’s Joe from barrel bourbon. And then you’ve got Fred minich, with above the char, and remember, Go wash your hands.
Hey everyone, Joe here again.
I know I talk a lot about blending here. But we also have a national single barrel program, ask you a local retailer or bourbon club about selecting your own private barrel. Find out more at barrel bourbon calm.
I’m Fred MiniK. And this is above the char, death and taxes. So those are the two things that we are guaranteed in life to have to do taxes. April 15 comes around and every year I’m like son of beep, beep beep, had a night not remember to put all this together. And every year from a business perspective, I tell myself, I’m going to do a better job of keeping my books. And I never do. I never do I just focus on what I do. And then toward the end of the year, I rush and do all my books and well, I’m a procrastinator, if you will when it comes to the accounting side of my world. I need to get better at it. I will. But you know what, at least I don’t have to pay 60 to 80%
Have taxes on everything that I do. And that, my friends is what Kentucky distillers have to pay about 60% of every bottle of bourbon that you buy, if you tally up all of the 60% of that goes to taxes. What’s interesting about this is that Kentucky bourbon gets taxed six to six different times off the still in the barrel in the case in the bottom, and then the consumers pay a sales tax and in Kentucky, they have to pay a wholesale tax as well. So you have all these different taxes that they have to pay, that leads to leads to basically more more and more money that has to go to the government just for them to produce whiskey. Now, here’s what’s messed really, really messed up is that the distillers don’t mind paying the taxes necessarily. They actually look at it as like hey, you know what?
This is not necessarily a bad thing. All that money a lot of that money gets earmarked to go to roads and schools of Kentucky. So like in Anderson County, you drive through there, and you see the nice roads and schools. Those were basically built by wild turkey and for roses, which puts a lot of money into that government infrastructure. Also Kentucky bourbon, the taxes are specifically earmarked for education. I think a couple years ago, when when things started, you know riling up with the teachers here, it became public that bourbon pumped $30 million into the education system. So I’ve always said like, if you want to, if you want to improve the Kentucky education system, buy more Kentucky bourbon. In fact, when you buy Kentucky bourbon no matter where you are, you are actually helping the roads, the schools, the children, the teachers, you’re helping our entire state. So thank you
Because we have pretty nice roads out in the rural areas because people buy a lot of bourbon. But here’s another fun fact, it wasn’t until 2011 that the distillers were even allowed to write off their, the fact that they were paying these taxes, they would have to wait too until they bottled it and put it in the market before they could write off the expense of the the out of alarm tax that they were facing. So American whiskey has all these weird, awkward tax laws, that every time I start complaining about having to do taxes or do my books, I kind of look at myself in the mirror and say, Well, at least I’m not a distiller. So remember that this year, as you’re going to put your taxes together, however you do it. At least you’re not having to do 60 to 80% on the taxes and you get to write everything off when it’s time to write it off. And that’s this week’s above
The char Hey, if you have an idea for above the char hit me up on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, until next week, cheers
Welcome back to another episode of bourbon pursuit the official podcast of bourbon Kinney and Fred here tonight people’s champ isn’t able to make it because of Corona virus things that are happening. So we’ll go ahead and, you know, we’ll send our best wishes to Ryan, he doesn’t have a Corona virus. I don’t want to make that make that clear. The way I said that probably sounded like really dire. No, he’s actually trying to do some things for his for his job and set up daycare because we’ve got a lot of things happening where schools can be shut down for the next few weeks here in Kentucky. So he’s got to make sure that he’s taking care of his employees tonight. So we’re gonna miss Ryan tonight, but we will go on without him. So before we kind of introduce everybody here, I kind of want to talk to Fred Are you are you Doomsday prepared? You guys got enough bourbon and toilet paper to get you through for the next month? Well, you know,
Like today was you know, I wasn’t supposed to be on today because I’m supposed to be in San Francisco for the competition but last minute
you know we had a scare ourselves and my wife she’s the on the committee for like getting the Louisville VA hospital prepared for the coronavirus. So we’ve been getting prepared I think for the last three months in fact, we we thought there’s a tornado coming. Yeah, there might be a tornado coming. So we had a little tornado drill with a family. We all went down to the basement and I was really proud. We brought chips and toilet paper and you know, the baby had something to play with. So we got this. You Baby could play with toilet paper too. Well, he went he went down there and he went straight for the bourbon. I’m like, this is my kid.
It’s in the DNA. Yeah. Alright, so let’s go ahead. Let’s go around the horn real quick. And but first before we hit some of our regulars, I want to introduce somebody that’s new to the podcast and we have a special
And tonight so Aaron Goldfarb, who you will have probably seen from a lot of articles out there online. So Aaron, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me even though I don’t know how to use a computer apparently so
it’s okay. Well let it slide this time. We’ll we’ll do some tech support next time when you do calling a pinch hitter here. Absolutely. So just kind of give everybody a quick recap or kind of summary of like, who you are, where you write and everything like that. Yeah, I’m a, you know, accidentally fell into becoming a blues writer. I write a lot of whiskey articles, but I write cocktail articles, beer articles and food articles for places like Esquire punch, fine pair whiskey advocate, bourbon, plus my favorite place to write.
I’ve written a few books to hacking whiskey, most notably for your audience. Gather around cocktails was my most recent book and
just learned that my kid has been
next two weeks off school. So I think this is the end of my writing career for a while, at least.
We’re all trying to set up some sort of daycares at home or, I don’t know, maybe we should just like go out and like, buy the like 5000 piece puzzles off of Amazon and be like, here you go. This is your next two weeks. Exactly.
Alright, so, Blake, how you doing tonight? Doing well? Yeah, always good to be back. Just straight into my intro. I feel like we’re kind of changing things up. So, you know, do I give the regular Hey, I’m Blake from bourbon or do I just talk about coronavirus or, I mean, you can talk about what’s happened in your area. I mean, it’s ya know, our craziness happening. No, it’s well, I had the flu last week. So I feel like I was out and wasn’t the corona virus was just the flu. So we’re not we’re not born. Yeah, yeah, I got tested. I got tested. I tested positive for the flu. So I decided, I guess I didn’t test negative for Corona. But there’s been no cases in Florida that I’m aware of. But no, it’s just it’s crazy. I mean,
The TPC, that’s a huge thing in this area. And so they actually announced today that they’re suspending all all fans from the tournament. And you know, this golf tournament will bring in over 100,000 people to come and watch it. So it was pretty disappointing. You know, I was supposed to be
I was supposed to be going out to a tournament with my son tomorrow. So that’s a little disappointing. And it’s spring break for us. And as you can see, my daughter’s like in the background. So they’re talking about extending spring break here as well.
But yeah, yeah, this should be interesting. I don’t know. I’m, I’m one who, I just think you’ve got like a 1% chance of actually hitting and being devastated. So I’m like, I’ll just be unprepared and 99% of the time, I’d be correct. So it’s just that 1% gets me But no, so
lost interest for the longest episode we’re about to get into.
You’re right on point there. So So Jordan, what’s happening? You’re part of the world. Well, the Quran hasn’t been declared so Western Eastern pa right. There’s a bunch of cases nothing in Pittsburgh. So Pittsburgh’s I wouldn’t say naive, but like right around today was the first time a little bit of unease and unsettledness kind of kicked in. Right? And now that the NHL canceled the penguins, right, people are super upset. But I’m sure we’ll be seeing cases pop up super soon. I don’t really even know if they’re testing or if they have test kits here in Pittsburgh yet so I’m sure there’s cases that we don’t know about. So I don’t know. Thankfully, it’s a state run liquor system. So there’s tons of tons of bottles still on the shelves. I think people want to buy that one. But it’s there slowly. And Brian in our part of the world Yeah, you’re part of the world. Thanks for having me again, Brian with sipping corn Find me a bourbon justice calm. And I my only effect so far is tonight. Instead of doing this, I was going to be
Drinking an Evan Williams 23 year old old fish Gen 15 in the in the 101 12 year Evan Williams with a client and client had travel restrictions and wasn’t supposed to go anywhere and so got my thing cancelled so now it’s personal because it kept me from ever. But other than that, it’s it’s hasn’t really affected me. I’ve got my daughter home from Dayton. They kick them out early. They won’t be going back
to just I’ve got my bourbon Splott I’ll be alright. And at one point for Aaron Aaron, I have to tell you this before I forget I tried to do from hacking whiskey the the bacon infused bourbon. It was probably the biggest flop that I have ever created in my life. I will need to talk offline. I need to know the secret because theoretically, everything about that I should just love and I ruined both urban and bacon doing. That’s funny. I always tell people it sounds harder to do.
Fat washing that it is and it’s almost impossible to screw up. But I guess
I’ve actually had a very similar experience, Brian, so I have a few minutes. You don’t you want to slowly render the bacon made the mistake of like, crispy and I think just the brightness came through so that’s what I yeah, yeah. Can’t get black. Yeah, absolutely no Okay, good bacon pursuit come and say,
Hey, I’d go for I’d listen to that it sounds delicious peppercorn all over. So Fred, you’ve been kind of close to this, because I know at least with the corona stuff, you’ve been actually reaching out for distilleries kind of give us the latest on what’s been happening with what the Steelers are doing for preparing for this? Well, I mean, you ask them personally, a lot of them will say it’s all bullshit. And then when it comes to like a corporate message, they’ll come out and say,
well, we’re closing visitations starting
Monday so beam has closed visitations for you know Maker’s Mark and the other properties. Starting on Monday,
brown Forman announced the closures of their Kentucky facilities for visitations on Sunday. And jack daniels on Monday. New rep has made similar announcements I have not heard yet back from heaven Hill. I’ve reached out to them a couple times. I’ve not heard back from them yet. Interestingly, places like the smaller distillers seem to be the ones that are kind of like, you know what, we’re still doing tours like NB Rolen
in Western Kentucky was very proud to say that, you know what, we’re still doing this. And, you know, so a lot of them have these kinds of plans in place, or for the visitor side, and they’re all continuing production. I think production is like I think that’s one of the
The hardest questions answers like what if one of the workers gets test test positive? what’s what’s the protocol? They’re like? I mean, I really don’t know what the manufacturing protocol is for when you have a pandemic and someone tests positive for something that gets out into the market. You know, do you have a recall? I mean,
I mean, those are the kinds of questions that they have to be taking. But at the same time, the Kentucky distillers association is meeting with the governor’s office who has been meeting with the vice president. So I mean, we’re like three degrees away from, you know, the highest office in the land here, when it comes to what can affect the Kentucky distilleries. So I’m not a I’m not an expert. And I’m not going to claim to be but from what I understand is that this is all basically through respiratory and oral is kind of how it gets transferred really easily. So unless people were like spitting in the mash tubs, I’m not too sure exactly. Even that it’s probably because he’s in a hallway. Yeah, and so I’m not too sure. Honestly, if even if
worker does, you know, come in and it actually is affected. I think the only thing that it might actually affect is just the production. Probably just send everybody home do shut down production for X amount of days, come back, do a deep clean, you know, go back, go back to work. Yeah, but there is this whole thing where you have to
the government’s issue, like, where people had it, what would what they touched where they went, you know, I was, you know, I was somewhere and got it in and someone was there the day after me and I got an email about it. And, you know, that was kind of one of the personal scare for me, but, you know, I don’t know, like, if somebody works in a factory, you know, does the government then require the that factory to issue a statement to its consumers, and I just don’t know it. There’s not really a precedent for any of this.
It’s very, very scary. And I think it’s more so right as much as they might want to keep many
fracturing right there just one part of the manufacturing puzzle. So if a farmer who distills the grains and drops them off, right not to sales, I’m sorry for the farmer harvests the grains and drops them off for the trucking company, he drops them off, or they can’t drop them off because they have the colonel virus. Got any random ash, you’re not doing much, right? Same with barrel, stuff like that. So I think it goes the whole or friends point, maybe you don’t have to notify consumers, but then you got to notify your whole manufacturing chain, right. And maybe folks then don’t want to drop off supplies because they’re afraid that they’re going to catch it for their employees. So I think it’s just not as simple as you know, the virus doesn’t survive much longer. You know, once it’s out of somebody’s system in the air wasn’t just something for more than a few hours. So consumers should be safe, but it’s more How does it impact everyone they interact with up and down the whole supply chain? Yeah, I think probably the biggest issue that’s really is facing right now is the tourism aspect, which has been really it’s been what the industry has been hanging his hat on, you know, with the with the rise of these like, the trade wars, you know,
This was the one thing that everyone said, Well, we still got like, domestic growth and we got tourism. And so you know, this is you take out the more than 2 million people coming here to visit Kentucky distilleries. I mean, my god there, there are talks in town about impacting the derby. I mean, I can’t even imagine not having the derby. Brian, can you? I mean, I just can’t I can’t, I can’t envision it. Now. I heard that today, too. They’re talking about maybe postponing and it’s, you know, they’re still looking at it. No decisions made yet but that’s, it’s just crazy talk. I mean, let’s face it, Churchill. I mean, there’ll be like, I just bet from home. Oh,
yeah. Where’s that from all right, no, fancy sign up for twin spires club and they’ll give you you know, $50 free or whatever, and they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.
The other the other component of this, that
should be getting Blake excited, actually because a sale box is that this is going to be one of the moments where we see an enormous increase of shipments and people don’t want to get out of their house. So they’re not going to go to a liquor store. What are they gonna do? They’re gonna buy, like, going to visit seal box calm or wherever. And
go Fred. Yeah.
It’s 40 like 40
but uh, you know, that’s that’s what’s going to happen. Is there going to get deliveries? I mean, we’re all right. We’re getting deliveries from, from Whole Foods and Kroger right now. So it’s crazy. Yeah, I think there was somebody had actually talked about on our discord chat a little bit earlier through Patreon. And they were saying, Well, what happens if Corona gets spread into Amazon into these delivery services? And it was like, yeah, it’s
It’s a true concern. The other part of this is thank god they’re heavily automated, right? There’s robots that basically pack those boxes for everybody. But when someone sneezes on a robot,
are they ended to? Whatever this was all just a way for the robots to take control, actually run a virus. I’m with you on that. Now. I mean, everyone’s talking about walking dead. But what if this is really Terminator about to happen?
They planted the seed.
conspiracies, Fred. What?
Surprise now pushing back in conspiracies speaking of vodka conspiracy, Jordan was today’s email like a backhanded compliment to
Tito’s yesterday What are we taught Hey, hold on. Let’s let’s set the stage here because I have no idea what
newsletter right for whiskey Wednesday, I went out and it was a PSA on how to make your own hand sanitizer. So he did give Tito’s the nod and the fact that they are
aggressively letting consumers know whenever they tweet or interact with them on social media that no you cannot use Tito’s for hand sanitizer because it’s not 60% alcohol right so we did harm we do give them credit on that one right but I mean, let’s be real if you’re going to use hand sanitizer and you must use bourbon we prefer you drink it, but at least use 120 proof bourbon to do something right. But there’s a comment in there too. Tito’s about like, well, at least they’re clearing some of the facts up and
crafted you know, made in Texas kinda
just made sure wasn’t reading into it. But once again vodka fails. I mean, you look at it it’s like everyone’s like starting to champion it for something that it can make me be valuable for and again even do handsome.
That’s that’s a perfect way to end this. I don’t really talk about coronavirus anymore, do you? Oh, yeah. No, no, no, that was much hysteria. Yeah, that was a nine. All right, good. So let’s move on to the kind of the meat of the show here. Let’s Shall we
Wait for Blake to open his bottle here because we can all hear it all that loud.
He had the mute control to hear it immediately. It’s like gay. There we go. I’ll mute him. Alright, perfect.
before the show started, you know, Aaron, you would think 42 times into this he would have figured it out.
But this is this is just like it’s everything about get sanctioned. Yeah, it’s it’s either that his Wi Fi dies. I mean, it’s, it keeps going. So, Alright, so let’s kind of get into the meat of the show. Because the one thing that we’ve all kind of seen is just the hysteria that is surrounded Blanton’s. And to kind of just give a little bit of background and context there is a great article that was posted by Chuck Cowdery back in 2013. And he gave a history of bland so I’m just gonna go ahead and just take like a minute or two just to read this just so everybody kind of gets up to speed on it because I know we’ve had people requests
Like, Hey, why don’t you do an episode on the history of blends? Come to find out. There’s probably not a whole lot that we could do a whole episode about. So this is gonna be it right here. So if you think back in the 1980s it was a bleak period for bourbon. thankthank Ryan
is poppin bottles they don’t. They’re shit what’s going on around here? I’m listening Really? I thought it was a good timing. See, Aaron? This is what I’m talking about. Nobody, nobody’s learned the proper or how to pour their PR, or I’ve got my mute button. I’ll use camera but I pre poured everything and sure your next go. I’ve already popped a bottle or two on the show. So I think we’re good. All right. I think everybody’s got their bottle pops out of the way. Alright, so in the 90 or sorry, in the 80s. sales were down. inventories were high profits were under intense pressure and whiskey assets were changing hands. Most large producers were no longer independent. Instead they were part of conglomerates and with a portfolio of a household names back then.
Back then F Ross Johnson was the powerful CEO of Nabisco. Nabisco had a subsidiary called standard brands that included fleshman distilling. 30 Falk was the CEO of Fleischmanns and Bob Brandt and this guest Moran discuss my I’m gonna screw that up was the president. In 1983, Johnson decided to sell standard brands to Grand Metropolitan. A few years later, green Metro Metropolitan merged with Guinness to form biagio. Green Metropolitan already had a thriving drinks business that included JMP scotch and Smirnoff vodka, assuming they would be replaced after the sale folk and burnt Miranda’s kiss. I know that’s bad, resigned and started to start their own company. fulke was previously an executive with schenley. So he approached Muslim reckless, whose conglomerate own schenley about selling some assets Falk and Baranski has originally tried to acquire old charter, but reckless always needed money, so he agreed to sell ancient age bourbon brand and the distillery that produced
It then it was called the Albert B Blanton distillery. Today’s Buffalo Trace folk and Baranski is called the new company h International. As the name suggests, they believe Bourbons future was outside of the US. One of the first moves was to enlist the master distiller at the time Elmer T. Lee with the creation of Blanton’s single barrel bourbon to appeal to the Japanese market, but with multiple extensions in Japan and the US in 1991, fulke and Burns has sold 22 and a half percent interest in Asia international to Japan’s to current shoes a with the right of first refusal to purchase the remaining shares in 1992, Fulk and Burns has sold their shares to Tucker for $20 million to car immediately sold the distillery to Sazerac but retain the corporate entity and brand trademark. Today Sazerac still owns Buffalo Trace and Buffalo Trace still produces all the whiskey for agent age, Blanton’s and other age international products and brands using Nashville number two, which is also being used for Bourbons like Rock Hill farms as well.
Well, Chris Phalke commented on the article, and he said that that was his father ferdie had passed away from cancer in 2000. But Blanton’s was the original super premium brand. And he said he can remember watching him draw the packaging idea on a napkin back in 1983. So follow all of that. Very. So. Yeah, I’d like to add, I’d like to add to that, because this is something that gets really lost in the history of that brand. And I would argue we could have a whole show on the history of it.
But in the 90s, basically, when the Albert Blanton was was head of the distillery he used to,
he used to take people out, and he used to pick barrels for him. And then he would actually put that into the Kentucky retail market, effectively making it like a single barrel asset, but they weren’t really calling him single barrels back then. And so people you know, Sazerac were always you to use
It in their marketing that it was the first commercially available single barrel that often got pushback by people. But indeed, it was, but that brand had a huge impact on the world. You know, in my book bourbon I wrote about like how important it was for Japan and how it kind of opened that market up. Another thing that Blanton’s did that was really important is it pissed off Maker’s Mark and it started making fun of Maker’s Mark and advertisements for the saying like, Oh, you have to talk about your wax because your whiskey isn’t any good. So they kind of like you know, played with Maker’s Mark in their own game and they went back and fourth. And so they had like this state, but blends created this statewide tasting competition, in which they selected tasers and Lexington and Louisville to to have a taste up between makers and blends. Blanton’s one Lexington and makers one Louisville so plans is a really really important brand.
The return of bourbon and this Return of the the introduction of the gold. Blanton’s is like For God’s sake, it’s about time. You know, it’s about I want to want to get to that, because that’s a that’s a big part of today’s show. But what I want to do is I kind of want to just trace this back about two years. And I want anybody that has a theory on why the hell did Blanton’s just skyrocket in popularity? I know that we’ve seen it on some TV shows and everything like that, but was there was there something that happened that I missed that all of a sudden this round bottle the horse on top just just went crazy? I have a theory. So I want to jump in, but I guess I will. So I think it’s and I wish I had notes because I talked to Chris Comstock about this the other day about
There’s supply the supplies, not
the supplies, basically, I think it’s like five x of what it was a few years ago, is what they’re producing now. So it’s not nearly as bad as people think. But in my opinion, what started to happen was a lot of these distributors in the store started seeing what was happening with Pappy and you know, the antique collection. And so they started allocating on the distribution side. So then instead of stores just like yeah, or whenever you want, they’d say, Oh, we can only give you two bottles. Well, then the stores start telling the customers Hey, look, I’m only getting two bottles of this. It’s at that price point that makes it you know, the high end the bottles cool, it’s it’s, it tastes good. And so then as you know, that started building, you go into a store and see two bottles, you grab them and then there’s an empty shelf. So then the I think the hype just started building and scarcity sells. So now every time people see it on the
shelf, it’s like, oh, I’ve got to grab as many bottles as I can find or as I can get, because who knows when I’ll see it again.
And that all seems to be happening happening over the last two to three years. I tell the story of that blanes was actually the first barrel pick I ever did for bourbon er, and that was back in 2015. And I remember the the retailer marked it up to I think it was $64. And I lost, you know, so many people saying that they’re not going to work with a retailer that was trying to gouge like, I bought five cases, I had a few friends buy a bunch of cases. And now if I got a Blaine’s barrel, you know, it’ll be gone in a day and you could probably sell for 100 bucks a bottle or something crazy like that. But I still think it’s all kind of like a an artificial demand or artificial shortage created by that middle tier. But that’s just my opinion. I think it also has to do with the fact that right, so around that time, and don’t get me wrong. We’ve been fans of Blanton’s I think back in 2014 we caught
Call it out on the site that we weren’t sure why people were overlooking up. But then is Buffalo Trace in general, right? So all their Bourbons started becoming more known to folks people started realizing Oh, pet Van Winkle comes from Buffalo Trace. Oh BTC What’s that? Okay. And then Elmer got really big, right? And then others started getting big. So especially if they wanted a single barrel, right, they go in Hey, can I get an armor? Oh, you can’t get an armor. But look at this cool bottle. You get this little horse top or his little wax on little bags, and I’m just finding the box. Why don’t you go for that instead? Right? And it was just one of the it’s just one of those things where people just want the next thing right so all right, so I can’t get any other Buffalo Trace product. What else you got? You got plans, you can get that pretty easy. I’ll take one of those. Right and then people start doing a little research, especially if people are really into bourbon. They realize that there’s Blanton’s gold, there’s plans straight from the barrel, which used to be again, easy to find. So two years ago, it was what around two years ago I think master mouth stop shipping right and a lot of store shop stopped shipping from over in Europe. And it was just that snowball effect, right? There’s no rhyme or reason to a lot of stuff. It’s just people like to hoard people like to know what’s cool.
Blanton’s cannon right? Everyone, I’m sure has friends who asks, What should I buy in the store used to be really simple to say, Oh, just pick up a bottle of blends. It’s great bourbon, reasonably priced. Just go for it. Right. I still say that. And then I catch myself going, except you’re not gonna be able to find anymore, which stinks. But I think a lot of it is just that snowball effect that took place with consumers, especially around Buffalo Trace products. You brought up something very important. Jordan, as you brought up, Elmer T. Lee, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot since Kenny posed the question to us before the show about why did planes take off and I remember specifically after Elmer died, you could not find a martini you could not find it. And the one bottle that everybody recommended after that, because it was accessible was Blanton’s, you know, it was a Rock Hill farms. It was always Blanton’s was the was the bourbon that people recommended after Elmer T. Lee passed away. There couldn’t be a more fitting bourbon to recommend since that was the
One that he brought, you know, he brought to life. And, you know, Elmer kinda gets forgotten. You know, Elmer doesn’t get talked about as much as you know, some of the other deceased distillers like Booker know and Parker beam. And it’s a real shame because he was a Titan of a distiller and I think that he would be, you know, smiling quite happily to know that his stuff was being It was very difficult to get he wouldn’t be very happy with the price gouging. But I do believe that that is when it all started was in the in the quest to find Elmer. They got Blanton’s and liked it. Fred, I kind of remember a little there was a at least a couple year time period where to me it was the opposite of that. People wanted Blanton’s and and Elmer was aged couple of years more than Blanton’s and I couldn’t figure out why people wanted Blanton’s instead of Elmer. I mean they’re
is a time period where it over took Elmer. And I don’t know anything about the production. I don’t know anything about what’s being withheld. But it it to Blake’s point, it sure looks that way. So there’s another thing that’s sort of happening right now. And that is Buffalo Trace and heaven Hill are implementing new systems where you can only purchase allocated items that haven’t healed sometimes it’s once a month. And in the case of Blanton’s at Buffalo Trace, they’re now doing this once every three months of actually scanning your driver’s license and turning people away. And this is because if anybody is unaware, the line that has been growing for Blanton’s at the distillery has just gotten chaotic. I’m talking like two to 300 people that are waiting at six o’clock in the morning to get a bottle of regular Blanton’s at the distillery. And so, you know, Aaron, kinda want to pose this question to you and get you get you involved here. Do you think this new system has a chance to actually succeed and work
Well, I was gonna
Aaron, you’re cutting out, buddy. I think we lost him. Yeah, he and Blake or Sharon schleifer.
Want to bring them on camera? Yeah.
Yeah. Try to try to drop and come back on and come back if you can like maybe plug in or something. I’m not too sure. We’ll, we’ll get you. We’ll get you in here.
All right, so so we’ll take that in a different direction. So, Blake, do you think that has an actual chance to succeed with this particular kind of system? So what’s the actual system again, sorry, I was typing whatever you know.
Loud they’re only allowed how many bottles like one a month or something? It’s this is what happens when like the teacher calls in you and you weren’t paying attention.
Helen has placed they’ve had an in place for like two years they haven’t held where they scan your license when you buy. Like buffalo grease implemented the same
Yeah, I mean you know you think about will it did that for a while and then they had their their do not sell to lists and everything, it’ll, it’ll definitely slow things down but I don’t know. I mean, I think that’s good because
ultimately you want some bottles at the distillery whenever people come and visit you. I had this experience a few weeks ago and we’re up there and a friend of mines like, man, none of these, you know, these distilleries have any bottles like I thought it’d be able to get something cool. You know, heaven Hill, at least had. I remember what we got. I think that William heaven hill there. So at least there was something but that’s the hard part is you don’t want just the locals to come grab everything that is available. Turn around and throw it up on Craigslist or wherever people are selling these days. We don’t do that in Kentucky man. Yeah, it’s never happened. Right? Yeah. But you know, so you kind of want to spread it out a little bit. So I think that’ll help. Um, but you know, it’s
Like anything else, people are going to do what they want to do, they’re going to send their sister they’re going to send their cousin they’re going to send, if they really want it that bad, but overall, hopefully it kind of spreads the allocation a little bit further. And I’ll say, since I’m not located in Kentucky, right, I, at least from heaven Hill standpoint, I actually appreciate that they do that now, because it seems more often than not, whenever I go down to Heaven, Hell, and I always stop by when I’m in town, these tend to have a few bottles, right? That’s, I think, based on the fact that they’re helping to limit people from buying them. So from that standpoint, I think it’s fantastic, right, especially being somebody who’s visiting Kentucky and wanting to go I make sure to stop by the distilleries and buy stuff, but now they have stuff to buy, which I’m super appreciative. Yeah, and that’s actually part of the reason this was actually implemented was Freddy Johnson was on the stage with Fred at legend series recently, and he talked exactly about this that this is all because of just trying to counteract the flipping game. And if you can limit of what people can get, then you can do that. And plus, they want to
Word people that are traveling from all around the country to go and visit the distillery and they want to get something unique while they’re there. And this is an opportunity to actually make that happen. It’s you know, they could release a lot more bottles to
we’ll get to that option. Yeah. It’s a difficult it’s difficult, you know, I look at it, I look at it from the perspective of like, every time, you know, they, they, the distillers, like, wish for something and then they get it. And then like, five years later, they’re like, Oh, shit. Yeah, like net. Like, I remember when they were lobbying for this. They were like, begging to have special bottles. They were begging to have this attention and this FaceTime with the consumers. And now you hear them and they’re like, crap, what are we going to do? You know, like now they’re facing some of the same problems at their retailer partners have so a lot more headaches for them for sure.
him personally, you know, three months is, I think a little bit generous. I would have rather seen a year. Because if there’s two to 300 people lining up to do this, and they’re bringing their brothers, their sisters, their cousins or aunts and their uncles to get a bottle of Blanton’s. Like, let’s just nip this, like it’s Blanton’s after all right, like it is it’s good whiskey. But let’s let’s try to let’s try to curb this because I don’t see a reason why people should be going this nuts over and if they have a bottle of bourbon. And I think I remember seeing a lot of comments when people announced that this system is getting put in place. They’re like, Oh, like why are you gonna hurt your you know, your biggest consumers and your cheerleaders and I’m like, they make a lot of different whiskey. There’s a lot of different bourbon out there on the market. Like don’t pin yourself into just like that one bottle. You know like that Nashville makes a lot of different stuff, right? So like you don’t you don’t need to be pigeon holing yourself and it just one particular kind of whiskey for everything.
You drink? Yeah, I was at a store one time and a guy was asking the clerk for it he’s like you guys got any Blanton’s as a total wine and and so everyone having plantains and I was like hey man like actually they’ve got a Hancock single barrel pick that they’ve done and it was like I think seven years old or something
the exact same mash bill you know, maybe it wasn’t in warehouse H or whatever it is, but pretty much the exact same thing is like I don’t want that crap. I’m like, Okay, nevermind. No, I mean why bother? No, you bring up a really good point though Brian right? The whole point the whole reason they had the horse in the first place right and way back when wanted spelled lens which is cool, but to entice people to keep buying it. So then you do find people who actually you know, for multitude of reasons right and I’m not judging whatsoever who once they find something and they do want to collect it just for that purpose. I realized you can buy the stopper from Buffalo Trace itself right? But they actually didn’t want to start collecting the bottles just to get the topper so not only do they like up and other like corn
I need to get all the rest of them. Right. So now their demand is well, I just don’t need one or two. Now I got to find all I got to the letters, I got to fill it out. Exactly. Right. So it’s it’s, they’ve kind of created a little bit of a headache in that sense for themselves. If there was no letters on the bottle, that would definitely eliminate a little bit of that from some well, and a lot of people in the comments have said that the dump date being on every bottle, you know, how many posts have you seen, you know, oh, my kid was born or you know, oh, I’m looking for this dump date. Yeah, work on whatever they want. Yeah, whatever it is, they they want that data on there. I mean, it’s it’s marketing genius is what it is. It’s a product of success. You know, I think Fred alluded to this a little bit of they worked really hard to make these things popular and, you know, get special releases out of the distillery. And then I don’t want to say it backfire, but I think it caused them more headaches, and they probably they were thinking it would but it’s a product of success. So at the end of the day, I don’t think they mind it.
No no no one thing that none of these companies are doing is they’re not utilizing technology you know and Kenny I’d like to get your your thoughts on this because you’re the tech guy but How hard would it be for them to like create like an order and hold or some some kind of system for online to connect with a point of sale where someone could plan their trip and then come pick up a bottle I just I just feel like there’s so many opportunities to alleviate these problems that they never seem to explore they they’re stuck in these inundated antiquated stand in line look at an ID kind of crap. I think it’s just simple ecommerce is that a lot of and I think we’ve touched on a lot of times, even just retailers and everybody else in general, like this type of market is is behind the curve of what we see in every other type of industry. And so if they don’t take the initiative to try to figure out like, how do we get our hands in the how do we get our product into the hands of consumers faster, easier, and less friction and make them
A happy consumer. If you don’t take that into account, then they’re not gonna do anything about it. You know, the other thing is, is that if you look at what the SAS rack is building with blends and Buffalo Trace and everything, like, they don’t really, I mean, they’re gonna sell out no matter what. So do they need to go through all that extra effort to invest in an e commerce platform to invest in something where like, I don’t know whether they have their own online, put your email in a database and come and pick your bottle up on this date kind of thing? I don’t know if they really need to. So it kind of like I said, there’s there’s, it’s a double edged sword from there. And you do actually so Fred, I mean, that’s a great point that you make both Kenny and Fred but you do see some distilleries doing that, right. So look at new ref. Look at angels MD with their main club, right? They both do that when they have special releases come out, you can pre buy and they give you a 30 days to pick them up or X number of days to pick up. I think that’s it’s great. And it’s also great for again, if somebody is out in town to be like, Alright, I got a month to go pick this up. I’ll plant quickly.
trip around this or something like that, right? And it drives people there. And then I’m sure once they’re there, they’re like, Well, shit, I’m here by some other stuff, whether it’s from that distillery or local store around there, whatever. But it’s just great for the local economy in general. And I wish more distilleries did that. He was envies absolutely crushing their special bottles. People make events out of that. And I have never talked to one unhappy person out of there. I mean, I hear I hear so many unhappy people coming out of heaven Hill, there’s so many people, unhappy people coming out of out of SAS, right. Really no one from being but I don’t think anyone’s necessarily going there for special releases. But the key distilleries that have special releases of all them angels envy is crushing it by far that program that they have people love it. Yep. And plus, it’s an easy way for you to kind of like allocate these things online. And not only that is you basically sell it before anybody actually picks it up. So it’s, it’s, it’s instead of like putting it out there and hoping people come like, it’s all online if you make it easy and frictionless
Then you’re gonna have a much better way to you don’t have that kind of like cash flow in that pipeline coming into man. What if they did like bourbon futures where you could like, you know, buy like a case of Blanton’s five years from now. So technically that’s kind of what Bardstown bourbon company is doing. So they their barrel pick now is you pay $1,000 deposit to get it, and then which I guess not technically futures, but then you let it age as long as you want. And essentially you just pay the same price for whatever the standard bottling is whether you let it go to 10 years or you let it go six months.
Yeah, yeah, I’m familiar with that. It’s just not it’s not proven, but like Blanton not nearly as exciting to Yeah, I mean, that it is it is a concept for sure. But like, I mean, imagine like if you could, if you could buy a futures, Pappy 23 right now when your child is born,
or something like that. You do it in a heartbeat. Yeah. Now, right now I would nobody would want to track that accountant. Somebody put in the or Aaron put in the chats about basically that’s how Bordeaux works and yeah, you know the it’s not like a Pappy 23 where you’re waiting 23 years but there is some time there and it is interesting to see how that whole market works and I mean, it’s pretty crazy. We may get there one day, the ghosts Yes, that’s the one thing that we don’t that we don’t have that the wine world has is like these really high level business people call negotiators who basically broker every single thing. And I think that’s why angels envy so successful with that program as West Henderson is kind of like a hybrid, you know, in this world. He’s such a business forward leaning mind and you know, it has his dad’s DNA. Anyway. All right, I want to shift topic a little bit because this is still gonna be Blanton’s, but the biggest news
That happened last week or was it two weeks ago whatever it was was the idea and the announcement of Blanton’s gold coming to the US
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The biggest news that happened last week or was it two weeks ago, whatever it was, was the idea and the announcement of Blanton’s gold coming to the US. And for anybody that has been a bottle chaser or you’ve been into bourbon for a little bit. We’ve all known that. Blanton’s gold and Blanton straight from the barrel are something that we gravitate towards because you like oh, it’s higher proof and, and now we’re all like oh, and it’s got a shiny gold horse. So of course I want all these. As Ryan said earlier, I want the I want the ski with all the gold letters on it now. So the there’s a few questions that arise with this and the first one. I’m going to
Come to his tariffs, because one thing that we’ve seen is that tariffs are being it’s being catastrophic to the whiskey industry in regards of just it’s both sides of the coin here. Now, there is the idea that people are saying, Okay, well, if we are going to have to pay tariffs, then let’s go ahead and hold more whiskey back that we know that we can sell to our existing consumer base here in the US. Do you all think that this is a reaction to that? Or do you think this was planned out a little bit further in advance? And they said, You know what, we’re going to just do this because we’re, let’s go ahead and make some more headlines. I’ll go first, right. I think 100% has to do with tariffs, right? I think they are looking in real time and how to react. I think they saw a business opportunity. And they’re going for it right. They don’t want to have products sitting there, or they don’t want to overcharge consumers,
to needlessly sell to no one in Europe, if no one’s gonna be paying that price.
They saw Hey, Blanton’s is hot, let’s make it happen. And 100% that played into it, whether there’s a little pre work behind the scenes going into it potentially. But don’t get me wrong, that current tariff situation 100% played into this. I also want to mention that in the press release, they also said that this is going to be an SRP of $120 for this particular bottle too. So don’t forget that.
I like to say that at the top of Buffalo Trace is probably the single smartest person in the entire spirits industry, Mark Brown. That man had this plan probably five years ago and had a rollout leading up to it. And this year is probably going to be like, like some additional Weller products, maybe a single barrel or something like that. I mean, you’re going to start seeing like Buffalo Trace, kind of like, take their super premiums and dice them up into more limited edition releases. And it’s it’s all about getting another skew getting another press release at another company.
They they own a lot of the conversation market, they own a lot of the store they own almost all the skews that all the retailers want. And if they every time they add one, they’ve got another one. So they have another reason to have a meeting with a retailer they have another meeting to have a meeting. Another reason to have a meeting with a an on premise person plans goal, in my opinion, is probably just one of the actually well they’re foolproof last year was the beginning of the rollout of seeing the kind of evolution of what Buffalo Trace is planning to do with their premium product. They’re dicing them up gradually raising those price raising the prices up a little bit more and making them even more valuable. Yeah, and I don’t know that’s a it’s looking at it from a marketing standpoint. Genius. Yeah.
I don’t know there’s there’s a lot better
Values out there in my book and I just I I try to resist so much of the hype and I I like the ancient age products probably better than than their other mash bill and and other than some Weller 12 or the the B tech, William LaRue Weller the ancient age math is my favorite Mossville.
But the marketing just it rubs me the wrong way. I get it. And I wish Aaron was able to stay on because he could speak very highly to this with his experience at Esquire and some of the other more industry facing publications. I’m just telling you, man, you could just throw you could you could dangle any Weller Blanton’s, even Buffalo Trace, you know outside of a Manhattan window and you’ll have like 50 bro dudes chasing it down. It’s the stuff is crazy. And it’s genius. And congratulations to them for doing it. It’s absolute genius.
But there’s so much for roses and wild turkey out there that that in other brands that are so much better and so much more of a value, I just don’t get it personally. So so then that then that then that that’s not really a knock on them. That’s basically that’s our job to say, hey guys can’t get this, you know, try this and i and i think Jordan does a great job of that. I think Blake does a great job of that. Kenny, you really just drink it all. So
Equal Opportunity drinker. That’s right.
And so Fred, I kind of want to like take a counter argument to kind of what you said a little bit, because there was something that came up in the chat by Dave Preston. And he had mentioned that, you know, he thinks that this has to do with like, increased stock that’s resulting from ramped up production. However, I kind of look at it and think like, well, maybe they’re just taking and to take Jordan’s side of this. Maybe they’re taking away from the European allocation now and just shifting to the United States, because we’ve all been
on tours here, right. And we all know we’ve been in the Blanton’s bottling Hall, every day you’re in there. They were bottling plants, and they’re doing it around the clock every single day. And it doesn’t seem that they can keep up with the demand. So where is all this extra inventory coming from? If you don’t think it’s just like taking away from European allocation and from tariffs, if, like how to keep pumping out more product. So again, this is my opinion, this is all been planned. These are not knee jerk business people. These are very smart strategic, especially when it comes to marketing, and they happen to have great whiskey. And I just think this was a part of it. Did they change their European allocation? Hey, maybe they did, but I think this product was always planned. Maybe Maybe it got bumped up a little bit for for anticipation of more terrorists or continued tariffs. But I think this has always been in, in creation. And I think we’re going to see a lot more
from, from that distillery with new products coming out of their heavyweight prop brands like Weller and Blanton’s, and, you know, I don’t think we’ll see anything added to the Buffalo Trace antique collection. But I think you’ll start seeing more limited releases. I got to push back just a little bit on that too, though, Fred. So I think, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s super smart if they were planning this for a few years, right. But I think I would categorize them just as smart for being a very smart businessman. If they read the current situation. They read the current landscape, the current tariffs and said, Alright, how can we capitalize this? Right? How can we turn this around and make it so that it works in our favor? Right, I’d say that’d be a just a smart individual and just a smart move. So while it may be planned, right, I got to give them I hope I’d give them credit for reading the current landscape and saying, what can we do to make this work in our favor? And hey, maybe both are Right, exactly. You know, so like, what I know is I’m not running a billion dollars.
I’m sitting here. So I am, this isn’t
Confirm, but it was basically like kind of backdoor confirmed of Buffalo Trace production. So they were producing about 12,000 barrels a year in 95 by 2010, that was around 100,000 barrels. And by 2018, it was 250,000 barrels.
So may not be exact, but gives you an idea of the ramp up. They’ve been doing over the last, you know, two decades. So when you talk about they may not have had to steal from the European allocation. That’s where I think there is more barrels that are going around now whether or not it’s just a you know if it’s really because of tariffs or is just because, you know, take advantage of the US market a little more. I think it could be a little bit of both, maybe it turned out to be good timing. But at the end of the day, I think they love the new press releases, they love the new brand extensions. You know, what was it
is it benchmark that’s getting the next redo You know, we’ve seen them do it with well are now the 17
to benchmark and I think well, you know, they’ve kind of evolved the H Taylor brand to have a new release every year. I think we’ll just like Fred said, we’ll just keep seeing new bit several new releases each year because they want to be able to go back to the retailer, the distributor, the customer and everybody likes something that shiny and new. I got they need to scrub that turd of benchmark that bottles.
They had some some hang up with that. I know they were
were going through with it. I forget what it was. But apparently that got delayed a little bit. But you know, I think we’ll the each Taylor one’s about to drop the marriage or whatever it is.
I’m sure we haven’t seen the last new label for Weller and
yeah, I mean, ultimately, I don’t think the Blanton’s gold is going to be a big allocation. So it’ll be gone or impossible to find but
Here we are talking about it. So it worked from their perspective, I’m sure because it’ll be sold out before it even touches a retail shelf. Yeah, but let’s make let’s let’s also like take a look at what everyone else is doing here. We’re seeing brown Forman do something similar with old forester. We we’ve seen heaven Hill, do some things just like this with the Elijah Craig rye. So every company right now is coming out with these extensions that have a continued conversation. And really, we’re, we’re in that spot, because we’re all out there looking for it. You know, as soon as something comes out, you know, how many people are wedded, you know, calling up the retailers to get the bottle. And that’s where we’re at right now. This is the, the distillers are gaming, the hunt, they’re there, they’re tracking the consumers, you know, they don’t have to spend a lot of money on marketing, how they could be watching this podcast right now. And studying the chat just to know that you know, from
Every one of you that are on the chat, there’s 100, and a market they want to target. So that’s where we are right now. And I think the key point to that too, right? And I think underlying what you’re saying, Fred, is people want new, right? So all these brand new extensions, everything else, right? People are on the quote unquote hunt for bourbon. But it’s kind of turned to the, to the I’m gonna use the car model, right analogy. People just want what’s the newest thing for 2019 I realized this was hot in 2018. But it also existed what’s brand new this year? What’s coming out? So it’s like this weird game this weird game theory where distilleries now pigeonhole themselves to they need a new product, right? Either a new product or just a brand extension something every single year or multiple times a year to keep consumers interested in their in their brand, which you’ve never seen in years past before, right? So it’s like whole new territory for everyone. And those that are doing that right are going to be left in the dust a little bit.
So, there’s one thing that I kind of want to circle back on that that Blake had mentioned earlier and it was talking about the ramping up production because we just got done picking two barrels of Buffalo Trace and Susanna has a fantastic tour guide there. And they just got they just got done doing their their shutdown for renovations and now they’re doing 1200 barrels per day. Right. So lots of production However, when we think about Blanton’s What does Blanton’s do? It comes from one warehouse, right? warehouse, ah, as Chris and Matt kusik said on the chat earlier, did they get a renovation? like are they getting bigger? No, it’s holding the same amount of barrels that it’s always held. So like there’s still this like this question that says Like, how are you able to keep pumping out more product to be able to do that? And I’ll throw a question to you all as well as, as this becomes more popular. Will we see quality suffer because remember, this is a non h data product.
Right. So nothing saying that they have to put something that’s a 468 year, whatever it is on it. Well, do you think quality could suffer in the long term? So just to point out the why it’s not age data, we do get that dump date, right. So we will at least be able to see if it starts getting younger and younger. When you don’t know. You know, you know,
I can put you down here, Jordan.
Let me know if you want to dump date. I’ll put it up in a box and send it to you.
I don’t want that. Hey, so I’m probably gonna be the outlier here. But I’ve never been one who’s really been that frantic over Blanton’s. It’s never scored that highly for me. And it’s always done poorly and blind tastings. I think one year at San Francisco, I didn’t even metal it. I don’t remember what year that was or I’d tell you but it’s not been something that has always gravitated toward my palate. So I can’t
I can’t see the quality going down. I think if you like Blanton’s that that that style is going to be there. I personally am buying Buffalo Trace, regular every day of the week over blends. Mexico said something kind of funny to say like, does it have to actually be at the warehouse? He should just be finished in warehouse age because maybe they just like roll it through the middle of it. And they’re like, hey, it was a warehouse age for like 20 seconds. So what mean that you know, that warehouse,
it probably holds what it’s probably not a 20,000 barrel warehouse, but it’s probably,
you know, 10 or 15 minutes a big warehouse. So, I’m guessing you know, before a lot of those barrels, were going to Buffalo Trace or wherever it was. And now there may just say, all right, every barrel that’s in here is gonna be a bland bottle now, but on the quality, you know, I don’t see the quality really dropping.
I doubt it’ll really mess
With the age, you know, it’ll stick around that six year age range for a long time. And I don’t I don’t see them really changing that up. Because at the end of the day, I think it would hurt them more for people to have bad plans than it would for them to, you know, sell a little more.
That’s not what’s really pushing the business for them. I agree with you, but I bet you we could look at it even 2013 or 2014 Blanton’s and taste it blind with a current Blanton’s and you’re going to have a better blends in 2013 or 2014.
I don’t sound like a challenge. So is this in your head though? I mean, we’ve been told by my head Yeah, we can say it about this kind of stuff forever, right? We’d be like, Oh, well, the new stuff can’t compete with the old stuff. But I’m not even saying old stuff. I’m saying you know, not not too terribly long ago. Yeah. Well, it’s like seven years ago now I guess. Yeah, but Blake, you got some of those bourbon are 2015
There we go.
We can do a blind sample on that we don’t the sample, you just send a bottle each of
you got it. No, it’s bottle time. Yeah. Yeah. No, but I mean, I don’t know, it’s hard to say. Because I’ve heard from some of the, like, the older plans from the 90s. and stuff, were actually like, 1012 year old barrels that that were being bottled. But so that’s a completely different bourbon than like, the six year but who knows it? It’d be a fun experiment. Yeah. So I that’s that’s a really good question to kind of, you know, go into the towards we get to the end of this because, you know, Jordan, I kind of lean on you here because it within a breaking bourbon article recently. You all talked about Blanton’s gold and sort of like what it meant. And, you know, you kind of talked about, you know, the hype and hysteria of you know, basically like chasing after the shiny new red ball. And then ultimately just being disappointed the other day because you’re not going to get your hands on it right. And so you put at the end of the
Article like people are curious about what’s new. But that excitement can be quickly overtaken with resentment. It’s unknown how sustainable this practice will be for the company. However, there’s other plenty of non bourbon companies that find great success with this strategy. I was kind of curious, like, you know, what are the kind of companies like have a had a strategy like this? And, you know, in Do you think that this is always going to work with bourbon even in the future? Yes, I think right, two part question here. So I think it’s true, right? We also that we often post these press releases or I’ll post these articles will talk about and often it’s from Buffalo Trace around a new product or a limited edition, just something that people know is gonna be really hard to get. We have so many readers reach out on a daily basis saying where can I just find a bottle of Buffalo Trace, let alone any of their other products right. So we put out the blends gold press release, and instantly we started being just inundated with people just reaching out saying great, another Buffalo Trace product I’m never going to see. Right and we’re like
Let’s interesting this season you haven’t hit the shelves yet and people already pissed about that. First you look at other and I’m gonna put Blanton’s gold now in a quote unquote premium product range, right? Maybe not the Pappy Van Winkle range, but premium product range, you look at other products, right? We’ll say high end watches, high end cars, whatever, where there’s a limited amount, right and people are still fascinated by them knowing that they’re not gonna be able to get one right but they’re still super fascinated they’re not pissed at the car brand they’re not pissed at four that they’re not gonna be able to buy the new Ford GT because it’s so the price range. You know why? Because they can still go out and buy another Ford product. A lot of people that Buffalo Trace using that analogy they see hey, I can’t complain this gold But guess what? I can’t get any other Buffalo Trace product either. So what does even matter? so terrible?
fireball fireball and after Archibald screwball, thanks. I’m not sure if they want it either.
But you know, it’s one of those things where I think people are getting a little tip that Yeah, all these products keep coming out. Especially from Buffalo Trace, but you know what, we can’t get anything they put out anyways. So what’s the point? Right It’s like them get
Salt rubbed into ones and I think consumers are getting really excited about this. So we’ll we’ll see if this keeps up but with more you know as Fred pointed out more and more Buffalo Trace products are gonna be hitting the market and years to come kind of back to that you got to release something new every year and people are just going to either keep getting really pissed me there starts shutting the brand or we’ll see what happens but it’s gonna be a really interesting experiment that’s for sure. You know, Jordan he bring you brought up something like that those were the kinds of letters that we would get at whiskey advocate like nine and 10 years ago. And you know, it led to them changing a lot of things. You know, because people were so upset like you even go to straight bourbon comm 2006 to 2011 archives and you’ll read a lot of people just being angry that they can’t get stuff. You know, the one thing that is a constant and this and any kind of like any any anything that I could ever offer you as advice would be to not get from
Straight with that, don’t stop doing what you’re doing. You guys are doing a great job with that but with your with your reporting, but the anger people it just, it never ends. You start happy. You get pissed off when you become a bourbon fan and then eventually you you you accept it and you just find yourself sitting on the couch and drinking Maker’s Mark again.
It’s a cycle of being a bourbon fan. There’s no way around it. I’m loving the comments that are that are finding the Ford brands and naming each Sazerac brand for what for branded is
stag juniors the F 150. Raptor.
Exactly. So I also kind of want to just kind of touch on the price point a little bit too because $120 it’s steep. Right? That’s, that’s that’s, that’s even over a super premium of whatever that that threshold was a while ago, maybe that maybe that’s just the new premium.
Remember, the Blanton’s gold that I purchased overseas? Even after shipping, getting it back home, it equated about 70 to $80 per bottle. Right? So, I look at this and I’m thinking, Well, I think you can actually still get this cheaper in like St. Martine and some of the other islands and other areas that are around. So do you look at this as and I’ve always been a big fan of of Sazerac of what they do of not gouging or pricing out of the market, because Pappy 23, they could, they could sell $1,000 bottle to the distributor, they could do it and it will sell and it’s not a problem, but they don’t do it. Right. And I think they do it on principle and they do it because they look at the long game. However, this is like one of the first times that they’ve come out and they are pricing it essentially where secondary was when it was around.
So I’m gonna jump in and then allow others takeover but because I’ve been sitting on this comment for a while, so I reviewed Blanton’s gold back in 2015
Right, I had bought in a bottle from overseas and I think MSRP was around 8085 and total right? Don’t me wrong blends gold is actually my favorite Blanton’s bottle out of the lineup, right green regular straight from the barrel actually preferred plantains, gold, but even back then at $5 per bottle, I said, I really would pause and think about spending the money on this for just getting you know, a bottle or two a regular blends, because I think you know, the price to value in terms of taste just isn’t quite there. And now when you jack it up to over $100 I mean, folks, you know, blends if you can, if you have a choice between the two regular buttons all the way just because it’s going to be cheaper and you’re going to get close enough, right? If you can’t, I still say there’s a lot of really great Bourbons out there for under 50 bucks. That sure it’s not going to be the Blanton’s name not gonna be the bottle not gonna be the shiny gold stopper or you’re gonna get something that tastes really fantastic. Amen. So I would I would have people pause and think about that before they drop the money. Anybody else? Have a comment?
Are you just, I don’t know. I endorse Jordans comments fully. I think part of the problem is now these days, most people are probably paying close to that three figure mark for regular blends, which is, and that’s just when they can find it. So it’s kind of like, you know, you have to confront reality as reality and not how we want it to be. So, I don’t know, would I pay $135? Well, maybe I would, but
we’ve all got problems. I grab it, but Yeah, I know. But I don’t think that’s a good deal. Like I’m with Jordan like $135 for that bourbon. You throw it in a blind tasting in your blind tasting of 10 Bourbons, and it’s probably gonna come in probably that, you know, six, five to six range five, six. Yeah. So this is what this is what I want. So if someone is listening to this
Show and you’re an economist, I want you to study the price points of new releases of the past five years from craft distilleries from blue blood distillers and compare the new pricing to their old pricing and their and their traditional items. It’s all over the damn place. There’s no rhyme or reason.
I mean, I could I could find a so called craft whiskey that was aged and Abraham Lincoln’s favorite tree for 1500 dollars. Or I could get a bourbon that’s actually you know, when it came out all right, that was actually really good when it came up. I got shit on heavily for its price point peerless a three year old rye, which was actually really good. was $99 and people lost their shit. And then, you know, and then Elijah Craig Wright comes out. It’s 30 bucks, and an old forester right comes out and it’s 23 and it’s like, it’s all over the place. I don’t I don’t know how they’re pricing this stuff.
Are they just throwing darts? I mean, how are they figuring this shit out? I think it’s all about what you know what categories they want to be, and they want to have certain ones for every occasion, you know, a lot of them are getting smart and they say, all right, we see some openings in the daily drinker categories. Let’s put some more 20 you know, 20 $25 bottles out there and really take advantage of the people who are tired of seeing every bottle that’s, you know, $100 or more in blank Is it the big guys being able to do that? You know? Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s it’s much harder for I’m not saying that the smaller guys can’t because you look at somebody like a Chattanooga who’s been able to you keep the price. pretty reasonable. You their two products are $35 and $45. Around that range. But overall, yeah, I mean, old forester and the big guys really have
a huge advantage here and kind of I think there’s Jordan’s point about
Buffalo Trace, I’m surprised they haven’t come out with a new product line. And maybe that’s what the benchmark, the idea of benchmark was, was to have that, that lower priced, hopefully readily available product that’s out there. Whenever people say, Well, I can’t get blends, but at least benchmark still here. So you know, they want to hit every mark in the market, if they can. It used to be that they would decide what their price point was by going into the liquor store, and seeing which bottle was selling, and what they wanted to be next to. And that’s how they used to do it. And I don’t feel like they do that anymore. I just, I just think they kind of they have I think they might have too many, like MBAs in a room crowding over a table. And they don’t have really any. They’re just looking at like, Oh, hey, who’s gonna buy it? Oh, bro, dude, and Wall Street’s gonna buy it. So 120 I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know how they’re priced it. It’s crazy. there’s a there’s a comma in a spreadsheet somewhere.
That’s somebody just messed up. And it’s just like, I will let it roll, which I guarantee you in blink or in the Blanton’s gold meetings, there was somebody who was saying, nope, push the price to $200. And they then you had somebody else who was like, now let’s let’s be more reasonable and do 130 you know, it’s, they know what they have. And so would it have sold out just as well at 200? I think there’s, I think, yes, but I don’t know. We’re all crazy for buying all these Bourbons anyways.
Like, you know, they’re hosting What do you think about this like 130 bucks you buy? Not what would you do? Would you recommend somebody buy it for that price? And not like, like show aside from everything, just as a consumer, would you buy $130 bottle of planes? I think it goes back into whatever people do you always you always try to get your first bottle, right, try it. That’s great. And we talked about this all the time, when you’re doing
tastings and everything like that. Get a few people together. If you find it, split it, whatever, try it, do it. However, I don’t see this as something that actually, I take that back because people are going to go crazy and they’re going to go buy it up anyway. For me personally, it’s not going to be that, you know, I, I’ve been fortunate to be in bourbon long enough like you all to know that I was able to buy this overseas for a much cheaper price a long time ago. So I’m okay with it. Is it my favorite bourbon? No.
Do I like straight from the barrel? A lot more? I do. Sorry, Jordan. I do. Like I’m a huge big
preference. No, yeah. And so and so I’m, I would say like, I would lean towards that way and I’d say you know what, save your hundred 20 bucks. Go and try and figure out like if you’ve got a relative that’s on a cruise ship after this whole Corona thing flies over and say, well in cruises, everybody don’t go on cruises. No, not right now. You know whether it’s there or whether you’re going to Netherlands or whether you’re going somewhere
And you say like, just wait out for that bottle straight from the barrel. That’s personally what I would do. Because that’s, that’s where I think, if you’re going to spend 120 bucks on a bottle, because retail even over there, that’s about what you’re gonna pay is 120 bucks a bottle and you’re gonna get, you know, at the same exact price. Like I said, for me, I think the price point is high. It really is. And I think that, you know, a lot of people even said in the chat, it’s like, you’re paying 120 bucks for a six year product.
That’s pretty expensive, right? I actually don’t think it’s high for the product. I mean, because, as pointed out in the chat, by numerous people supply and demand, the supply, the demand for this is off the charts. So my whole commentary about $120 I just kind of want rationale behind it. And you know, just that, I know the market will bear that. I’m just speaking in general from the bourbon industry. I just don’t feel like anyone really hasn’t has much of a blue book on how to price right now. But blends
is not going to have any problems selling. They mean it’s agreed there’s going to be lines you could charge what they want can be allocated. We’re going to be miserable. Well, no world will buy for roses and wild turkey and other things. Hey, hey, I had a four roses the other day that just tasted flat out off to me. It was a song. Yeah, it was a single barrel. It’s just off somebody’s private selection. Yeah, store picker, just regular. Now was a regular It was a regular one. And I tasted it the next day to make sure wasn’t my palette that day. And it just it was weird. Hey, Fred. I don’t know if you’ve been around this long enough. But did you know that you could have two barrels side by side? And they?
Very rarely I have never had an off product from for roses. Never. That was the first time Yeah, except for a actually from the 90s add Smurf products. Who was it was Elmer T. Lee who had like the spoiled batch that uh, it was 2015 Yeah. 2015
The the wet cardboard batch 14 corporal Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And don’t don’t forget Jim Rutledge is mutated dispatch. That means remedy the white whale. Absolutely. So I’m going to finish this up with one last question about blends. And this is now that we have seen Blanton’s gold Come on, it’s it’s making waves will we ever see? And we’d mentioned already straight from the barrel ever hit the US? Yes. It’s gotta be it’s gotta be a B tech. I mean, it will. I don’t know, mess with that. I don’t think they’ll mess with the antique collection. But I would say yes, yes. So I’m going to say yes. And I’m going to go back to that comment, in theory we’re talking about, they’re going to need a new product, right? Not in 2020 but 2021 2022 23, whatever. They need a new product every year or two new products of the year and straight from the barrel is an easy one to slide in there. And based on the barrel that I have in my truck, yes.
We are all headed to Norton Commons. I get it.
Yeah, I mean, I would say, especially if these tariffs stick around to just kind of add on to what Jordan was saying. Yeah, I mean, if you want to be able to, and it hurts me to say this because I’ve heard people for so long say, Alright, I love tariffs, like more bourbon in the USA. And I’m like, No, like, no, that’s that’s not how like international trade works. Like, we need commerce. Like we need all this, like, we have to grow bourbon category as a whole. However, if this is what’s gonna happen, and it’s like, Okay, well, they could, they could basically sell it here in the USA for and they would get more money out of it for the same price that they’re going to have to sell with tariffs and everything else overseas. Hell yeah, like might as well keep it here. Right. So I could definitely see the argument that we will see it here in a few years. I realize if we do have Gold’s going for 130 you realize straight from the barrel is going to be a pricey product. That’s a $200
Yeah it’s 250 Yeah, yeah, agreed. Mm hmm yeah, I was just getting everybody get one last one there huh All right. fantastic way to close out the show everybody so I want to say thank you again for coming on. I think we we hit on a lot of stuff. So as usual we didn’t do in the podcast at the very beginning. I want everybody to kind of give their outro So Brian, I’ll let you go first. Yeah, thanks for having me. I’m again late addition to it because I am coronavirus virus didn’t let me do my taste tonight was clients. Happy to be here. The only thing I want to add other than the normal find me at sipping corn calm bourbon justice calm is Obie topping would have been the number one player of the year. They wouldn’t be Kansas in the Final Four if it had happened.
That’s what I’m looking forward to I wish would have been there thanks guys. Absolutely Jordan
Jordan one of the three guys from breaking bourbon calm can find us on instagram twitter facebook at breaking bourbon and make sure to go to the website for daily basis as we do update the upcoming release calendar quite often well Blake economy yes kind of narrows down so i’ve you know, I’m taking double time for myself and for Aaron taking his outro as well so if you want to go for it I messaged him said Paul I was having computer issues I don’t know if I said internet it gets us all it gets us all But no worries. Like I know that all Yeah, I’ve said I’m just glad I’m Can you know put the heat on somebody else for once on the air.
But no, so I’m Blake from bourbon er, calm. You know, always fun to be here and I thought this was a great show a lot of good information. So hopefully we all got to sit around and enjoy and some bourbon
And, you know, talk about the craziness and avoid hearing the corona virus for a little while some enjoyed it as always guys, thanks for having me. Absolutely. And that’s kind of what I wanted to do tonight was to hopefully take everybody’s mind a little bit off of it right and talking about Blanton’s was something that I think was easy to do. There’s been a lot of news about it recently and I think over the past year, and even two years we’ve seen this just go berserk in the market and we’ve just seen a lot of people really chase after and maybe this is also one of those brands that is also helping fuel the growth of bourbon overall because it is a pretty bottle and people look at it and they get behind it. It’s it’s in TV show so you know it’s a it’s something I think took long enough that we actually dedicated a show to actually talk about it because it is a it is a force to be reckoned with and it is a catalyst with inside of this industry that does move bourbon in in a forward direction.
So for you to give an outro because I think you’ve got a few different places that you you know, you podcasts you got a magazine or something to say. Yeah. And also in this episode of the podcast, in my above the char I said I was going to San Francisco. I am not.
I am not going to do to the coronavirus that said you can find me on the podcast world just I interview musicians and drink whiskey with them. I’ve got some fun names coming up. Got David Byrne from the talking heads and cloud from Slipknot coming up. So make sure you’re tuning into that just just like you search for pursuit just search for Fred minich show and then got a magazine bourbon plus, man. next issue. We’ve got Jackie’s icon on the cover and she she reveals a lot about her life and how she saved the old forest derive from being one of those highly prized
products. So if you want to learn a little bit about the pricing strategies at Brown Forman at least Jackie’s icons a big part of that, so make sure you’re subscribing that go to bourbon plus calm and, you know, just social media, everything else just my name, Fred. Alright, Fred, appreciate it, man. And thank you all for for joining in. Thank you everybody that was in the chat as well. A lot of great comments, a lot of great questions that that came in that really helped fuel this conversation. Make sure you follow bourbon pursuit on all the social media channels Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and tick tock, definitely. We’re still there. Jordan, you you laugh people? The Tick Tock Hey, Jordan laughs Guess what? Breaking bourbon, sign up for Tick Tock.
Tick Tock for a long time. We just we just were in cognito until you know, Oh, see.
It’s it’s starting to happen. I still haven’t signed up, but I’m gonna see. It’s there. Don’t Don’t miss the train. All right. Thank you, everybody. We appreciate it. And we’ll see you all next week. Cheers. Cheers.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai