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tdelling
07-27-2003, 17:09
So I was surfing around the web a bit today, and ran across
the NABCA website (National Alcohol Beverage Control Association).
Apparently, they're a trade association for all of the sate-run
liquor stores in "control states". They collect all kinds of
sales data, and they sell it! What a great side-line! Not only
do they sell alcohol, but then they turn around and sell their
sales numbers!

Anyhow they put samples of the various reports up on the web, for free
in PDF form. Their "Spirits Summary" lists all their sales in
June 2002, broken down by category (i.e. whiskies), sub-category
("straight bourbon!") and then specific bottling. There's also a
"top 50" of individual bottles across all categories.

It answers all kinds of questions!
Popularity of Wild Turkey 80 proof vs. 101? vs. Rare Breed?
Jim Beam White vs. Jack Daniels Black?
etc.


The numbers are only for the control states, not the whole country.
There are "year to date" sales figures, and monthlies.

Go to http://www.nabca.org/Reports.html and
have a look!


Tim Dellinger


(Oh, the answers to the questions above (cases per year):

Wild Turkey Breakdown:
WT 80 : 25,679
WT 101 : 98,256
WT RB : 5,466
WT RR : 1,906

and the flagship best-sellers:
JD : 761,165
JB : 751,149 )

OneCubeOnly
07-27-2003, 18:05
At the risk of sounding completely condescending and holier-than-thou, I really have to say one thing:

There's no accounting for taste.

Actually, I think the Straightbourbonians have a reason to celebrate here, because if it weren't for the proverbial "riff-raff", we wouldn't have our "honey barrels"!
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

Cheers guys!
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

ratcheer
07-27-2003, 18:21
Actually, I think the Straightbourbonians have a reason to celebrate here, because if it weren't for the proverbial "riff-raff", we wouldn't have our "honey barrels"!



That is an astute observation.

And you are exactly right about "There is no accounting for taste." Most people just want the greatest quantity at the cheapest price (although, that doesn't explain the huge popularity of Jack Daniels Black Label, which is fairly expensive).

Tim

kitzg
07-28-2003, 12:59
As a marketing person I believe JD Black is another example of oustanding marketing. The "down in the holler" image and suggestion almost of scarcity was brilliant from a "how to sell this stuff" standpoint.

Also, we need to keep in mind that most people still drink the stuff in Coke. If anything it is rather surprising that people are willing to spend so much for something to pour in their Coke. Yet that is likely explained by the "lean" years when most inexpensive product on the market was pretty much rot gut or at least very rough.

JD black is much smoother than (I am told) many of the products that were bottom shelf in the 1960s and 1970s when Jack became so popular.

Ed Foote is a former Master Distiller who we've had the pleasure of spending some time with. Ed says there were a lot of times when people had the image that American whiskey was something you downed, pounded your chest, coughed loudly, felt burn all the way down, and then declared "that's good stuff." JD Black is a product that early on with charcoal mellowing left that image in the dust.

tdelling
07-29-2003, 11:00
>If anything it is rather surprising that people are willing to spend
>so much for something to pour in their Coke.

Oh, I think they've picked their price point perfectly.

(I'm not a marketing person, but...)
There's a precept in marketing that deals with the popularity of
the middle-priced product. People want something that's not too
expensive and not too cheap. I think JD fills that slot perfectly.
It's not as expensive as the top shelf stuff, and it's more expensive
than the bottom shelf. Couple that with very strong brand name,
and you've got a winner. If they lowered the price, it wouldn't sell
as well.

Tim Dellinger

tdelling
07-29-2003, 11:06
>Ed says there were a lot of times when people had the image that American
>whiskey was something you downed, pounded your chest, coughed loudly, felt burn
>all the way down, and then declared "that's good stuff."

I would argue that this is still true!

Heck, some absurd percentage of StraightBourbonians drinks Stagg straight from
the bottle... now THAT'S "feelin the burn all the way down".

Tim Dellinger

CL
07-29-2003, 19:43
I would argue that this is still true!



I agree. Most bourbon (er, whiskey) Neanderthals that I meet think of bourbon only as a way to get drunk quick while showing how tough they are at the same time.



Heck, some absurd percentage of StraightBourbonians drinks Stagg straight from the bottle... now THAT'S "feelin the burn all the way down".



That "absurd" percentage is a majority! Dude, small sips = no burn = perfect bourbon satisfaction = Nirvana. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

tdelling
07-30-2003, 11:01
>That "absurd" percentage is a majority! Dude, small sips = no burn = perfect
>bourbon satisfaction = Nirvana.

Well, every tongue is different. When it comes to hot-n-spicy food (buffalo
wings, thai food, indian food, etc...), I'm a Grade A Wuss. My tongue just
can't take it. Perhaps my tongue is overly sensitive to things that cause
pain and discomfort.

Tim

tdelling
07-30-2003, 11:21
>I agree. Most bourbon (er, whiskey) Neanderthals that I meet think of bourbon
>only as a way to get drunk quick while showing how tough they are at the same
>time.

I wonder how many people who buy top end bourbons can actually appreciate
them. I've got a theory that the majority of the buyers of any top end
product don't truly appreciate that product. I've heard over and over
again stories of the best-sounding, most beautiful Stienway pianos just
sitting around so that Junior can play chopsticks... five hunderd dollar
hybrid bicycles bought by yuppies who use them once a twice a year for
half-mile trips... golf clubs, computers, firearms... people want to
buy quality (or what they percieve as quality), but they really don't
have the ability to distinguish quality craftsmanship from poorly-designed
mass-produced shiny stuff.

Do you think that the average buyer of top-end bourbon would be able to
pick out the whiskey he just bought in a blind taste testing vs. a
similar mid-to-low shelf bourbon? Say... Jim Beam white vs. diluted Bookers?
How many Pappy drinkers could pick it out vs. Old Rip 10YO, if the
Pappy was diluted down to similar proof?

I certainly think that bourbon consumers are becoming more educated and
knowledgable, but I wonder how much of a minority the educated consumer is.

Tim Dellinger

cowdery
07-30-2003, 11:45
The true appreciation of anything -- fine whiskey, fine art, fine machines -- takes work and most people are lazy. It's not that they can't appreciate them, but they don't because they aren't willing to do the work. That's the answer in a nutshell.

cowdery
07-30-2003, 11:48
It's possible to properly appreciate Stagg straight if you take very small sips, because saliva dilutes it. I really advocate taking it with a little water, though. Anything at that proof will quickly deaden the senses.

kitzg
07-30-2003, 12:12
Oh, I think they've picked their price point perfectly.





Just to be clear, I was not suggesting that the Jim Beam price point was wrong. I agree it is correct.

I was suggesting that, as others have written, many people could not pick one whiskey from another in a blind-taste-test and particularly if tasted mixed heavily with Coke.

And, thanks, Tim, for passing along the link to the data.

boone
07-30-2003, 12:15
The majority of folks who buy bourbon are not the connoisseur's that post on this forum...

Then you have your so called "know it all's" who don't know crap just shooting thier mouth off...Kinda makes me want to http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/puke.gif When they tell me they like this bourbon and they don't like that one and I know for a fact it's the same stuff in the bottle...Good Grief...

Then ya have your "newbies" who want to learn about bourbon and the bourbon industry...They are the one's who need the most attention...If they want to learn the knowledge is here...just for the askin...

Last year, I thought about having a contest...Just for us...at the bourbon festival...To find the "True Connouisseur"...Maybe, the grand prize would be a "Trophy Shirt'...of some kind, along with a bottle of---you guessed it---Evan Williams, and a Heaven Hill tee?...Any taker's?...Any suggestions?...


Bettye Jo

tdelling
07-30-2003, 16:24
>I was suggesting that, as others have written, many people could not pick one
>whiskey from another in a blind-taste-test and particularly if tasted mixed
>heavily with Coke.

Now *THAT* is a great idea for a taste-test challenge. Jack and Coke vs.
Beam and Coke. Who can spot the Tennesse whiskey?

Tim Dellinger

Gillman
07-30-2003, 16:28
Tim, I think most people could tell. Jack Daniel's has a distinctive taste, a "perfumy" taste that people like whether in mixed drinks, highballs or taken straight or neat. Rarely do big sellers rely solely on salesmanship: Jack (as well as many of the other brands in the top 100) retains, and grows, its share on a solid base of quality - and price in relation thereto..

Gary

OneCubeOnly
07-30-2003, 16:45
Tim, what you've just described is the equivalent of the ancient adage 'casting pearls before swine', which is many cases is right on the money!

As much as I hate to say it, the average American consumer acts like a lemming. Just look at the absolute ATROCITIES in bad taste that Americans embrace:

1. Beer--of all the tasteless, characterless styles to choose as our favorite, we've decided on American light lager. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/puke.gif
2. Spirits--the best selling, most popular American whiskies are Jim Beam White and Jack Daniels. Once again-- http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/puke.gif

I could rant on about other products, but you get the idea.

And like you've already touched on, most people don't know the difference between quality and bottom shelf. Like I said before, for those of us who DO appreciate the good stuff, we can't have our "honey barrels" without the mediocre ones that go into the poor-quality stuff, so let Billy Joe Jim Bob get sloshed on his Keystone Light and JD, that's fine by me!

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/soapbox.gif

kitzg
07-31-2003, 07:58
For many of the spirits brands growth on the Business Week chart has come from new product introduction and line extensions. For example, Smirnoff grew by starting the trend with flavored vodka, Badcardi also grew by introducing flavors, Hennessy is growing by making cognac trendy with celebs. and hip-hoppers.

Business Week credits "A global push and marketing campaign to appeal to women and younger drinkers...." with growing the JD brand. (Business Week, Aug. 4, '03, page. 78)

tdelling
07-31-2003, 08:47
>For many of the spirits brands growth on the Business Week chart has come from
>new product introduction and line extensions.

I agree with your post saying that the Business Week list is garbage.
(It's available on the web for those with the patience to register a
username and then search for it.) They have Microsoft as the #2 Global
Brand... and the Microsoft name is synonymous with "buggy, insecure software
that crashes".

>Business Week credits "A global push and marketing campaign to appeal to
>women and younger drinkers...." with growing the JD brand.

Could someone enlighten me on this one? I haven't seen JD advertizing
Martha Stewart Living, Woman's Day, Modern Bride, People, or Cosmopolitan.
The only JD ads I see are for "Gentleman Jack". How are they applealing
to women? Do billboard ads with hot chicks count?

(I will confess that I haven't been browsing Spin, Rolling Stone, etc.
lately... perhaps there's an ad campaign that I'm missing.)

Tim Dellinger

WEG3
07-31-2003, 18:55
I for one will step forward and say No I cann't tell you all the flavors that some here have said they taste and if it came down to which brand is which ,, again I would be very hard pressed to tell you .... BUT , what I can tell you is if I LIKE a bottling or not , ..I find it most help full that those that post here the tasting notes of a bottling If they like some of the same bottlings I have tried and like then they are , for me any way ,a good starting point to add or not addd that bottling to the list of "TO GET'S" . I also feel that the time or place has alot to do with how a pour tastes , I know that some times I like a little spice for my drink ,,, at other times I like the smooth sweet velvet feel of ORVW, but this is just my opinion ,..your drink may be different . If you have the ablity to tell the differances between bottlings than maybe you have missed your calling to put this gift to use for the betterment of all bourbon lovers . I am just happy to like what I like be it top shelf or rot gut and greatful to those that can tell the differance ..... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif
Thank You
Bill G .