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Balcones Winston
05-21-2013, 14:14
As you can imagine I am constantly working at whiskey shows, so I have the opportunity to speak to quite a few reps from all over the industry. I try and use these times to further educate myself about different brands. Let's just say some are more educated about whiskey than others :D

"Chocolate malt... yeah they make it with cocoa nibs" - My all-time favorite

While at a show recently I was able to try some a new expression from a well-known non-producer. I asked the lady at the table, who mind you wasn't just some booth babe, if the whiskey was the same sourced distillate as the core expression. She didn't even know what the distillery I named was. She deferred to another rep, who I'm guessing was a ambassador of sorts. His answer was that "All (brand) is (brand) whiskey made at the (brand) distillery" :lol: My question is, does he truly not know, or was he trained to avoid the truth? :shocked:

smknjoe
05-21-2013, 14:53
I have had similar experiences with beer reps/distributors. One of my favorite beers is Double Dog by Flying Dog Brewery. A few years ago they came out with Raging Bitch and I couldn't wait to try it. I kept calling Spec's and going over to the store to ask them when it was going to be in stock. At first they said that it would be soon. Then, I was told it couldn't be sold in TX as beer because the alcohol content was too high (~9% but Double Dog is ~12%.) Later one of the beer reps from the distributor told me that it was illegal to sell it in TX because bitch was on the label, and another said it was because the label art was offensive. About a week later is was on the shelves and in my fridge! (and not very good)

Not too long after that they stopped carrying Double Dog and the reason that I got was because the brewery had stopped making it. I ended up emailing the brewery and got a response that they were still making and selling Double Dog, but they quit distributing it in TX because it did not move well here.

I see bs like this quite a bit in the booze industry and other industries. I guess people just like making stuff up instead of saying "I don't know."

Balcones Winston
05-21-2013, 14:55
I see bs like this quite a bit in the booze industry and other industries. I guess people just like making stuff up instead of saying "I don't know."Worst strategy possible. There's rarely a question about Balcones I can't answer, but I'm not going to make up something on the spot if I don't know. It's much less taxing on the brain to say "You'll have to ask Chip that one..." :D

camduncan
05-21-2013, 15:37
I had two examples at a recent whiskey event...
First guy represents Buffalo Trace. I mention to him that I was thinking of picking up a couple of bottles of their Cream Liquor next time I'm there. He didn't know they made it. We get talking about different BT products, and I mention several that I have at home that he doesn't have available here yet and that any time he wanted to catch up I'd be happy to share a few pours of them with him. He does a double take, steps back and basically tells me that if he can't get it, he's not tasting it because it's not fair that he (the distributor) can't get what I as a customer can :skep:
Second guy represents Elijah Craig 12 & 18yo (for some reason the HH portfolio is broken up between a number of distributors here). Knowing the 18yo has either stopped production or is in short supply, I asked how the 18yo was going and if they had lots of stock. He claimed they only had a small stock supply currently, but that they could get as much as they wanted from the distillery any time. I was on a bit more shaky ground here as I couldn't remember if the 18yo had stopped production or was in short supply, but I figured he should have known and been able to clarify it for me.

Meruck
05-21-2013, 16:38
He claimed they only had a small stock supply currently, but that they could get as much as they wanted from the distillery any time.

Well yeah, Theres no issue with the 18 year. All you have to do is place the order, and wait for the delivery....................18 or so years........duh

wadewood
05-21-2013, 17:02
I think it depends on whom the whiskey rep works for. Lots of possibilities - retailers, wholesalers, 3rd party marketing companies, 3rd party booth babe promo company, etc. I've seen those with "Brand Ambassador" along with name of spirit on a business card, but further questioning I find they really work and are paid by 3rd party company. Bottom line, if the actually distillery or distillery owner is not the one signing the paychecks, then I really don't expect them to know much about the product - on bourbon issues I usually know more. If you work for actual distillery and still say #@!$, then I assume you are lying on purpose or you are an idiot.

FYI - Winston does know his Balcones line. I texted him a question the other night about proof changes as product ages and had a response within minutes.

Balcones Winston
05-22-2013, 05:53
I think it depends on whom the whiskey rep works for. Lots of possibilities - retailers, wholesalers, 3rd party marketing companies, 3rd party booth babe promo company, etc. I've seen those with "Brand Ambassador" along with name of spirit on a business card, but further questioning I find they really work and are paid by 3rd party company. Bottom line, if the actually distillery or distillery owner is not the one signing the paychecks, then I really don't expect them to know much about the product - on bourbon issues I usually know more. If you work for actual distillery and still say #@!$, then I assume you are lying on purpose or you are an idiot.

FYI - Winston does know his Balcones line. I texted him a question the other night about proof changes as product ages and had a response within minutes.

The first comment, about the chocolate malt, was from an actual distillery employee lol. Granted, he's their west coast "ambassador" or whatever... but you'd think he'd get more training :p

This is why I spend as much time at the distillery as I can, despite the 2 hr commute

SMOWK
05-22-2013, 08:43
We appreciate your honesty Winston. Let's hope other ambassadors can see how well you're liked and it becomes contagious.

Sometimes it seems as if talking to insiders can raise more questions than answers.

squire
05-22-2013, 10:14
My rule when speaking with a rep who seems to be misinformed is to nod, smile, and change the subject to college football.

fishnbowljoe
05-22-2013, 16:52
"Oh yeah. I can get that for you."

Right. :27: :bs: