View Full Version : Stitzel Weller Canada Dry Bourbon?
While at a friend's house, I saw an older looking 1.75L bottle of, if I remember the label correctly, "Stitzel Weller Canada Dry Bourbon." It was designated as Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey on the label. The friend remembers no particular history of the bottle. It's hard to tell how long he's had it. Anybody know about/had this brand?
I finally got a photo of the label. In case you have a hard time reading it, it contains the following:
Four years old
Distilled for and bottled by Stitzel Weller distillery
I am VERY poor at tasting notes, but my impressions of the small sip I had were vanilla nose, lemon candy (Chuck described this in his MM notes which I appreciated faintly, but I got it big time here), and somewhat hot.
I don't have any insights but noticed something in the wording on the label: "Distilled for and bottled by Stitzel-Weller." (Emphasis mine.) Wonder what that's about.
Maybe before or even after Stitzel-Weller was sold it had bought the Canada Dry bourbon name or license from whomever owned it (Schenley?) and bought stocks of the whiskey along with the rights. Hence, distilled for. The bottle looks like it might date from the 1970's..
Right after the family sold the distillery the company also acquired a distillery in Nicholasville, Kentucky that made the Canada Dry spirits. They bottled Canada Dry Bourbon, Gin and Vodka. The whiskey from that distillery was not very good at all and they put most of it into Cabin Still, starting the downfall of that brand.
Interesting, and perhaps proves the point that established brands are not infinitely elastic in terms of quality changes. Certain changes are material, certain are not. The drop of proof in Jack Daniels was not material, clearly, even to many aficionados. But too drastic a change can hurt a brand, in my view. There are examples of this in advertising and industrial literature. Schlitz beer for a time in the 1960's altered its formula. I don't recall what the change was, possibly corn or other adjuncts were substituted for some of the barley malt. The brand experienced a big drop in sales. The recipe was restored but it took a while for sales to come back and I believe the brand lost its premier position after that episode. In bourbon, the public will I think accept a certain amount of change but not too much. For all the fame and even mythology of its brand name and advertising, Jack Daniels remains a very good product, and not just that, but distinctive. I don't believe the company could have sustained its growth if Jack Daniels tasted like other whiskeys out there. Quality still counts: a case which shows the point in a different way is Famous Grouse, a Scotch blend that has not been around for more than 30 or 40 years or so. Sales took off because, yes, the brand was heavily and savvily marketed, but the whisky is very good, probably the best blended scotch in its price range. Same thing with Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur. Whether old old or relatively recent, these products deliver because their producers know what Lincoln said, you can't fool all the people all the time..
when I think of anything with the name Canada Dry on it I think of it as a brand owned by Norton Simom Co. which was a huge conglomerate which made soda and ketchup and many other well known products. Canada Dry Bourbon as i remember it had the green label ,looking much the same as the ginger Ale ,which was also a Norton Simon product.That I think was in the 1960's
And guess who bought Stitzel-Weller when the Van Winkle family sold it in 1972? Norton Simon.
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