View Full Version : how do you promote bourbon?
I give away a lot of bourbon and I mean a lot. There is nothing I enjoy more than entertaining people that are not sure what bourbon is all about or know very much about it. This is when I can "get on my horse" and quote some of those marvelous tasting notes that Straightbourbon.com post. And then, when the evening is over I give them minatures (50ml kind. This has always been a great success, and as of this date, I have given away more bottles than I can count and the reason I am posting this is because I got a call the other day from a friend who now enjoys bourbon thanking me for the little gift I gave him. And it doesn't get any better than that!!!
Hmmm, well let's see Marvin... More than half the week I wear various bourbon shirts, whether it be a HH, WT, BT, SB.com etc. I have many people ask me why I have so many bourbon t shirts and I explain about my 'hobby' and how much I like bourbon. Many people ask what the heck is Buffalo Trace or Barton? You've got to remember in NYC, not many people know about these brands... All of this leads to many questions and I try and answer each one as fully as I possibly can. I also made an attempt to create my 'little spot in cyberspace' to help with links for various distilleries as well as pages that contain great bourbon info and show how the bourbon making process takes fold. And while I don't give away miniatures (great idea though!) I always share my bourbon with anyone who wants to explore the range! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
That is a great idea!! This is just what I want to hear!! Promoting bourbon in you own special way!!! And, of course, we all tell them about how great straightbourbon.com is. Keep up the good work!!! Now, let's hear it from some more.
Many of my friends are aware that I've taken a serious interest in whisk(e)y over the last few months. I have a regular Sunday evening movie night at my house, and all the guests are invited to pour from the bottle of their choice. Not everyone indulges, but several have enjoyed the whisk(e)y enough to buy bottles of their own.
One of the best ways to appreciate any whisk(e)y is to share with a friend and discuss its character and nuances. You both grow from the experience, and you then bring more to the table for the next tasting.
You are too modest. One hour of sipping bourbon with you and Evelyn will make many converts.
For my part, I did two Bourbon Institutes with Chris Morris in the late winter, I taught a continuing education class on Bourbon History at Bellarmine University, and I am doing three fund raising tastings this year. I hope to do them all again next year. I enjoy them alot, but I still count as the highlight of my year the time in Cincy with John, Linda, Marvin, Evelyn, Howie, Chris, and all of the others that show up for the weekend bourbon blast.
The idea of giving away minis is great! I've never done that, but will probably start.
Ways that we have promoted bourbon over the years include:
1) As the thread says, "showing our stash." When folks come to visit, they are often surprised that American whiskey is not limited to JB white and JD black. If nothing else, curiosity regarding trying something they perceive as exotic is a very good hook. Just a couple of weeks ago, one of my students came over for dinner. She is Canadian, and had only tried Canadian whiskies. She was pleasantly surprised by Barton 90 with some crushed ice and a splash of water.
2) At bars, compliment or complain (as appropriate) regarding bourbon selection. In a bar with few selections, we usually order the less common one. Eg, there is a Chinese restaurant here which offers Old Grand Dad 86 in addition to JB, JD and WT. Since OGD 86 is a less common offering locally, I may choose it over WT even though that might not be my true preference at the time.
3) Discuss bourbon making as art when the opportunity comes up. More people than I ever suspected are fascinated by the process - even as my limited knowledge allows it to be explained! If we are at home, we'll use our photos and books as visual aids.
4) Giving bourbon as a holiday, birthday or housewarming present.
5) More recently, telling folks I'm going to the Bourbon Festival. "What's that?" they ask. The perfect opener to talking bourbon.
I do a lot of tastings at my retail location, but my highlight is doing private tastings at home. Nothing like relaxing and enjoying good bourbon and good company.
I like using miniatures in guest baskets when company comes to town. Put those little bottles in with tour guides, boutique soaps, metro card, etc and folks love coming to Chez LeNell for a NY visit.
Sometimes I put info cards about bourbons in my shopping bags at the store. It's also fun working with local restaurants and bars to put on a tasting event at their location. I've also had postcards, tshirts and canvas bags made with bourbon quotes. That usually gets folks talking, too. At the store, I love to do bourbon focused holiday displays like WT around Thanksgiving, Eagle Rare and Jefferson around July 4th, etc.
Thanks for the kind words and Evelyn & I also enjoyed the week-end with John & Linda and everyone who attended. It is great that you are giving classes on bourbon because we think everyone should know about the history of bourbon and how wonderful it tastes.
That is a great idea-put the little babies in a basket along with some tasting notes and I bet you have made a friend for life!! Great idea!!!!
I have an antique china cabinet (restored by my grandfather 40 years ago) next to our dining table. It has the original wavy, imperfect glass panes in the doors .... and I keep my ten favorite bourbons in clear view there. After dinner when friends are over, I suggest someone pick out a bourbon for after dinner. I usually get a response like "I've never seen these bourbons before....tell me about them". After one drink of ORVW 10/107 or the RHF, they're hooked. And when they hear the price relative to fine wines, etc, they're on the stringer.
When going to someone else's for dinner, I bring along an EWSB for before or after dinner (it's unique and affordable). It also gets the "I've never had this before" and is such a smooth, easy to drink bourbon, is always a hit.
Randy, that's an excellent idea. I've never thought to bring bourbon in lieu of wine to a dinner gathering. Since a bottle like ORVW 10 or EWSB is in the same price range as a bottle of fair dinner wine and less likely to be entirely consumed during the evening (depending on the size of the gathering, I suppose), it doubles as a kind of leave-behind gift for the hosts. Nicely done!
While everyone else is bringing the wine to a dinner party, a nice bourbon really stands out and is often less expensive than the wine I would bring. I also enjoy watching the MM and JD drinkers' reactions when they taste a realy good bourbon. And like you said, there is (usually) some left behind for the host.
Y'all want to come over to my house for dinner? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
Congratulations to all! By reading this post I can see that each of us has their own way of promoting bourbon. Some of these I have never heard of but I am going to try them, since they are great ideas. I urge each and everyone of you to keep right on promoting as this is absolutely the finest spirit in the world. Isn't it amazing what a little education will do. Keep up the good work and I would love to hear from each and everyone of you on this subject. This is to all of you http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
I normally promote bourbon only in the sense that I am constantly trying to justify to my wife my fascination with it. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif
However, I had occasion to do a modest amount of promotion at a small party at our place, held for the benefit of all the folks who aided us in connection with taking Seth, the pit bull, to Houston (as I reported several weeks back). I was surprised that one of the guests actually expressed a beginning fondness for bourbon, and he cited Maker's Mark and Knob Creek as recent experiments.
I offered one and all a selection that included those two plus VW Lot "B" 12 y/o and Hirsch 16 y/o.
Just this past Sunday the same young man cited above and his wife hosted a farewell party for my wife and me. To my amazement one of the gifts I received was a bottle of Hirsch 16 y/o (gold foil -- latest bottling).
When others present expressed curiousity as to why the giver had chosen that brand, which no one else had ever heard of, I told the story of Hirsch bourbon to the best of my ability. This piqued everyone's interest to the point where it seemed appropriate to open the bottle for all to try.
I can't say that I did any promoting, per se, that night, but at least a couple of friends expressed amazement that any bourbon could taste like that.
Just this past Sunday the same young man cited above and his wife hosted a farewell party for my wife and me.
So you're making the move! Best of luck Dave!
If bourbon has yet to take its rightful place among the residents of Chino Valley, AZ, my missionary work there will begin shortly after August 10.
BTW, in an earlier post I mentioned that I would be able to stop in Phoenix en route to check out a liquor store someone here recommended. Now I find that both MapQuest and MapsOnUs recommend routes that avoid Phoenix. Perhaps I should ask the movers and go with their preferred route.
BTW2, it looks as though I'll be making two trips, the first in a rented van with my goods that the movers won't take, bourbon included.
I hope all goes well with the move.
I know you'll be pleased to learn that you'll still maintain your DSOB status and moniker here on StraightBourbon.com, even with the necessary geographic adjustment.
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