View Full Version : Greg's News from Brown-Forman
Greg Kitzmiller wrote in the Industry News forum:
Of course, industry insiders tell me WR is still coming from Louisville as they've not gotten their potstills to match the notes of the Louisville facility.
I know we have discussed the options facing BF in regard to how to introduce the pot-stilled product, whether to abandon the acclaimed Woodford Reserve product and/or brand name, etc. Each of those options has pros and cons.
However, I am at a loss to understand why they would go to all of the trouble to get the pot-still operation going, only to try to make the resulting product match the current Woodford Reserve. Am I misinterpreting the word "notes" in Greg's quote? Is there something else I'm too uninformed to grasp?
I think they are trying to match the current Woodford Reserve, in terms of tasting notes and all, because they are scared if they bottle it under the WR name and it is in fact too different people will be upset and rant/rave or switch to another product. At the same time, if they were to bottle the product under a different label, then they would have to spend the money pushing it and trying to convince their 'loyal' WR lovers to try the new product. Just my opinions, but I personally would like to see them try the new product under a new label as I don't care all that much for the present expression. It's good but I wish it just had a little extra something for that price. I think ultimately though it will be bottled under the current Woodford Reserve name, everything left unchanged.
Interesting. As far as the public is concerned, most buyers, (and even visitors to the distillery) probably think that the product they are buying is coming from Millville.
If I was a BF executive, I'd keep producing the WR in its present form from Louisville. I'd create an alternative brand for the pot still product from LG. Obviously there's a huge following of the WR product (probably 'cause of its distinctive bottle, there's not alot of good I have to say about the contents) and they would be crazy to screw that up. But from their point of view, wouldn't it be nice to expand the range and have a specialty Pot Still product. I could even see another interesting bottle design.
That's what I would like to see happen...WF remain as is, and the pot stilled bourbon introduced as a new, unique addition to the Labrot and Graham line. Just my opinion.
Does anyone know the status of the pot stilled bourbon? When the heck are they going to release it???
Can one of you gurus clear this up for me? My understanding is that the current Woodford Reserve is actually bourbon made at another distillery (ie. not in the pot-stills), but aged at Labrot & Graham. Only the current production (which hasn't aged enough yet) is truly pot-stilled bourbon.
Do I have this right!?
That's what I believe to be true as well. Unless I'm wrong as well! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
Here is my understanding:
Woodford Reserve begins life as regular Old Forester production whiskey. At some point, "honey barrels" are chosen and moved to L&G for special aging treatment. The end result is Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select.
I may be wrong, but I don't think so.
Is the Woodford Reserve on the store shelves now the pot still bourbon. I don't think it is just yet, it is still being aged awaiting bottling, right? What's still out there are the possible honey barrel's you spoke of, but they are not pot distilled right?
I think we are in for having our collective chains jerked a bit by the fine folks at BF. Let me explain . Woodford Reserve as a brand has taken off . I don't have numbers but they have a winner. L&G pot stills can only make 15 barrels a day. I don't know how many days a year they are run but I'll guess something less than 365 , If they run every week and took off Sat, & Sun thats about 260 days.( Every one else in the business has a yearly shut down, there are unforeseen things,ie the best laid plans of ........) The whole point is that's less than 50,000 bottles(750ml) a year. A lot less. Look at it any way you want to. A 1000 bottles for each of our 50 states, per year, and none for worldwide distribution. I don't think that's a lot of whiskey. They sponsor a few horse races and are the official Bourbon of Churchill Downs. That's a thousand bottles right there. Woodford Reserve should easily be a 50,000 case a year brand. They will always use Old Forester, they may begin mingling a % of pot still with it. If they go all Pot Still L&G will become their money pit. The Restaurant and gift shop are nice, I don't think the tourist trade will make up the difference.
Bang on. and thanks for doing the math. I still think they could sell a pure pot-still product and continue the killing they're making with some clever packaging and typical brand-hoodwinking. "There aught to be a law..." Just cause it says Versailles on the label, don't make it pot still bourbon from L&G. The only reason I bought my last bottle was because I was lead to believe it was from the new stills. I've since learned to be less naieve. I still think it's a great bottle design though.
Observations well taken, Bobby. Let's hope they also want to play with the boutique/enthusiast market and offer something special for us crazies! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
Bobby C is absolutely correct...when I visited the L&G distillery on May 22, their tour guide told us that they will slowly begin to blend the pot still in with the current OF "honey barrels" over time. They hope to start doing that this fall. He indicated it would not initially be more than 20%potstill. He said once this begins the "Distillers Select" logo on the bottle would disappear. He strongly emphasized that even OF "honey barrels" are now no longer "true" OF because they have been aging in the very different environment of GlennCreek/limestone walls etc. This ties in with Bobby C's numbers...they will never have enough product to keep up with the huge hit their marketing department has created so perhaps the best we can hope for is the highest percentage of potstill possible. they are in a marketing fix...what good is partial potstill? I presume...a dangerous thing to do..that they will of course make some very exclusive bottles of pure potstill and they will get the same buzz like attention of the Birthday Bourbon and be limited to those who know, or can afford or for some export and/or exclusive markets. A mix of "tour guide" info...whatever that is worth... plus my own "speculations".....
It appears to me that Bobby is correct -- they need more bourbon than could come out of L&G for WR. In addition, news in the industry is that none of the product distilled at L&G has matched their expectations. This explains why they are taking their time mingling it into the WR.
What is incorrect is that the bourbon produced at L&G just isn't old enough. It just isn't close enough to the Woodford profile. That is what I meant by "notes."
B-F corporate is very focused on brand building. I believe it is unlikely they will introduce another brand. Keep in mind, they have ONLY two bourbons -- OF & WR. They are not a "niche" firm. However, I could be wrong (in the long run) -- they might eventually feel they have built enough mystique and image to L&G that a specialty product could come out of L&G. Actually, unless the L&G stuff is really awful (and that's been a suspicion -- that it is now mingled into Early Times whiskey) the concept of building a highly select brand as a "niche" might be the best way for them to use most of the L&G product.
However, they would still have the problem that they originally advertised WR using the L&G name and pot still picture. I've thought this was slightly questionable from the beginning.
And contrary to many of you there are a great number of people who have made Woodford their favorite. My own son, included. In his case I think it is a matter of his having gotten used to it. Yet, when I introduced someone who likes Woodford to Eagle Rare SB this weekend, the ER SB blew them away. My son was impressed with the ER SB but still went back to his Woodford.
And contrary to many of you there are a great number of people who have made Woodford their favorite. My own son, included.
Right now that stands as my Dad's favorite bourbon, he has nothing but great things to say about it.
And, as I said in the live chat last Thursday, I have been considering paring down on the number of different bourbons I try to keep on hand. Woodford Reserve would not be one that I would eliminate.
I used to consider WR a good bourbon, but overpriced. But, recently, when I had it back to back with its lesser sibling, OF, I changed my mind. WR took a big step back in my mind that night. It's not bad, it's just that I think I can get so much more for alot less. I will only buy it again if it's the only selection in a bar other than JB, JD and MM (which is the way it is at a steak house I like to eat at near my house). Of course, I would graciously enjoy it if any of you all invited me over for a drink!
It's not bad, it's just that I think I can get so much more for alot less.
That is my exact opinion. It is a 'good' bourbon and I don't hate it like few others, but I can get bourbons I like a whole bunch better for less.
I've got 3/4ths of a bottle right now that, while it may be overpriced, I Really enjoy, feel free to drop by. As I have always said "Mi stash es Su stash!".
If I ever get lucky enough to take you up on your offer, I'll bring some GTS and won't leave until you declare it a five star! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
agreed... hopefully they will offer some other woodford reserve (woodford select? soemthing like that) that is 100% pot still... Part of me wonders what the pot still bourbon would taste like if they weren't trying to match the 'flavor profile' of the current WR... I believe they mentioned that as something they were going for last year at the tasting...
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