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ILLfarmboy
02-24-2007, 10:35
after reading the "perfect proof" thread something started to occur to me. Brown-Foman claimed dropping the proof of JD was the result of market research. Supposedly todays consumer wants the lower proof Jack. Let's be honest here, we are talking about the youth market, mostly young men who buy into the whole "bad boy" image of Jack Daniel's. They want the macho image of drinking Jack but they don't want the high(er) proof or so says Brown Forman. OK, that's plausible. But there is one fly in the ointment. Walk down the isles of any liquor store and you can see a plethora of high proof schnapps with names like after shock, ice 101, and fire water, to name just a few. These drinks are not aimed at 30 somethings and up. They are geared to appeal to the younger crowd. And with names like "fire water", frankly they are designed to appeal to young men trying to act macho. Dare I say the same demographic that drinks most of the JD consumed on any given day.

Why is it easer to find 100 proof schnapps than it is BIB bourbon?

What say you?

BourbonJoe
02-24-2007, 13:04
It's all bullshit Brad. They did it to make more money (water is cheap), pure and simple.
Joe :usflag:

full_proof
02-25-2007, 11:10
Well put, Joe. Half of marketing is bullshit. Obviously, JD is an established brand, but there are risks with reformulating product to cut production costs. Schlitz was the number one and two brewing company in the US (1950s into the 70s). When it remormulated its pale lager by adding more water, it was the death knell of the brewery. Marketing techniques abound: red wax, black leather clothes with a company liquor brand/logo, or a family heritage mystique--but those only go so far if the core product falls short on quality and value.

jburlowski
02-25-2007, 12:12
Well put, Joe. Half of marketing is bullshit. Obviously, JD is an established brand, but there are risks with reformulating product to cut production costs. Schlitz was the number one and two brewing company in the US (1950s into the 70s). When it remormulated its pale lager by adding more water, it was the death knell of the brewery. Marketing techniques abound: red wax, black leather clothes with a company liquor brand/logo, or a family heritage mystique--but those only go so far if the core product falls short on quality and value.

But I'm convinced that the majority of JD drinkers don't care much about quality, .... or taste. They drink it mixed with cola or something else or are more interested in the hard-core, "outlaw" image that is marketed.

full_proof
02-25-2007, 20:13
Good point. Come to think of it, I haven't personally encountered anyone who regularly (and genuinely) consumed JD neat. Perhaps my "brewery" comparison to the risks of JD whiskey reformulation is misplaced (apples-and-oranges), especially if the Tennessee dram is usually mixed.

RoyalWater
02-25-2007, 21:44
I know the sales figures of JD and WT101 are not equivalent but many of the whiskey drinkers I know associate a similar image with each. However, JD is acceptable in social circles accustomed to vodka and rum/cognac, whereas drinkers of WT101 or other liquors over 100 proof are viewed as alcoholics by many vodka and rum/cognac drinkers. This is my insight based on observation and experience. My final insight, JD reminds me of original Listerine in color and flavor; I don't drink it.

Catahoula
03-01-2007, 09:34
Lower proof = lower taxes = higher profits.

Catahoula

cowdery
03-03-2007, 00:30
Precisely.

Edward_call_me_Ed
03-04-2007, 03:28
Lower proof = lower taxes = higher profits.

Catahoula


Precisely.

Especially if you can still charge a fairly high price. And sell T-shirts. Ya gotta hand it to them, whether you drink their whiskey or not.

Ed

ILLfarmboy
03-04-2007, 09:33
There is now doubt Brown-Forman lowered the proof to save money on taxes as well as sneak in a price increase.

Aren't taxes levied on a standard "proof gallon", a gallon of 100 proof distillate?
The cost of taxes on the angel's share notwithstanding wouldn't the taxes on a bottle of 100 proof schnapps be the same as a bottle of BIB bourbon. So why do we see so many high proof schnapps. Perhaps it is easer to sneek by a drop in proof of whiskey, any whiskey, because of ignorance on the part of the average consumer. I think there are other factors at work that alow producers to drop the proof of their whiskeys and keep the whole thing, for the most part, under the radar.

Shnapps with names like Fire Water 101 Obviously tout their alcohol content. If Fire Water 101 suddenly became Fire Water 80 more people would notice. But if Buffalo Trace suddenly decided to drop the proof of their namesake bourbon from 90 to 80 it wouldn't be readily apparent to most consumers save except for whiskey enthusiasts and inveterate label readers.

Edward_call_me_Ed
03-04-2007, 09:44
Aren't taxes levied on a standard "proof gallon", a gallon of 100 proof distillate?

Well, if you are paying taxes on a standard proof gallon and getting more bottles out of a proof gallon and charging the same price as you did before you are paying less in tax and making more profit.

As to other products at a higher proof, especially products based on unaged GNS, that is a different niche. No warehousing costs, no angel share, some sugar and some flavoring, you can charge less and still make a profit after taxes.

Ed

full_proof
03-06-2007, 20:56
* * * But if Buffalo Trace suddenly decided to drop the proof of their namesake bourbon from 90 to 80 it wouldn't be readily apparent to most consumers save except for whiskey enthusiasts and inveterate label readers.

Ironically, some of the comments developing in this thread relate to the survey on SB.com members' favorite distillery http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6348

I say this because it has been my experience that bourbonites on SB.com appear less likely to fall prey to marketing gimmicks, truly discern quality, and have a greater appreciation and knowledge of the history and nuances of whiskey.

ratcheer
03-07-2007, 15:43
I say this because it has been my experience that bourbonites on SB.com appear less likely to fall prey to marketing gimmicks, truly discern quality, and have a greater appreciation and knowledge of the history and nuances of whiskey.

Well, that is what we are here for. :cool:

Tim

cowdery
03-07-2007, 16:08
Most, but not all, taxes on alcohol are based on proof, in particular the federal excise tax.

I believe the decision to cut the proof of JD was largely about taxes but they did it only after determining that it wouldn't hurt them, i.e., their customer wouldn't mind the lower proof product and probably wouldn't notice. The overall trend in whiskey toward lower proof was mostly driven by consumer preference. The tax angle was a bonus.

A typical price increase is usually shared down the line, by way of the distributor and retailer mark-ups. With the proof cut, all of the increased profits go to the producer. The distributor and retailer don't participate.

If you look at distilled spirits in general, where 80 proof is the legal "floor," most everything is 80 proof. Liqueurs don't have that "floor." They can be below 80 proof without being forced to say "diluted" on the label.

But there is no ceiling, except where they're trying to keep Everclear away from the crack- and meth-makers. Obviously, those 100-proof schnapps products are aimed at a customer who wants "high-test" more for the buzz than for any flavor benefits. Some products like that went away from 100 proof when everybody else did and got enough consumer push-back that they brought the 100-proof expressions back. Southern Comfort, for example.

Jack Daniel's is successful because it is different things to different people, so it's not that "biker image" exclusively.

ILLfarmboy
03-07-2007, 22:40
I'm getting a bit off subject here, but when and how did Jack Daniel's acquire the "bad boy" or "biker image"? To my knowledge none of their advertising (in my living memory) portrays this type of image. Quite the contrary. WT 101 carries much the same image. But I can see where that might come from; it is over 100 proof, if only by a single proof point and it has the word "wild" in the name. I've seen pictures of 100 proof green label JD bottles that apparently predate the black label. Was the black label ever a BIB or 100 proof product?

cowdery
03-08-2007, 09:29
The green label has always been around.

I don't know how JD got its "bad boy" image. Wild Turkey, at least, has "wild" in the name and had Hunter Thompson to promote it, although like JD, many people don't look at WT that way either.

The people at B-F would like to take credit for all of JD's success, but they know better. To some extent their greatest contribution has been to stay out of the way and not screw it up.

Sinatra did a lot for JD's image. He conveys "bad boy" but not "biker."

What JD did promotionally was consistently promote the image of Lynchburg as this timeless, little, country town. The fact that JD had a personality at all, perhaps, made it an easy personality for individuals to appropriate as their own. As for the "bad ass" part, there is an extent to which American straight whiskey in general has that image and JD, as the top brand in the category, just carries it off more than most.

barturtle
03-08-2007, 11:19
While this is not a definitive explanation of Jack's bad-boy image:

Frank Sinatra preferred Jack-the Rat Pack was a kinda high-class group of bad-boys

John Belushi chugged a bottle of Jack in Animal House (1978)

Jim Morrison preferred Jack

Was a favorite of many 1980's hard rock bands

Any prior references would exceed my pop culture knowledge

TNbourbon
03-08-2007, 15:07
Whether a progenitor or result of the motocycle image I don't know, but Jack Daniel's has sponsored the Sturgis (S.Dak) Motorcycle Rally for a number of years. JD is primary sponsor, for example, of the gathering's opening event, The Mayor's Ride.

BrbnBorderline
03-08-2007, 16:55
I'm getting a bit off subject here, but when and how did Jack Daniel's acquire the "bad boy" or "biker image"?


Hollywood and Rock 'n Roll.

Someone uses JD in a movie, it sells more JD. I'm sure Maker's Mark got a boost in sales after the first Spiderman movie[Willem Dafoe drank it].

Mark Anthony, the [former] bassist for Van Halen used JD in his stage show, and even had a rectangular bass guitar painted up like a bottle.

I'm sure Jim Beam White Label got a boost form the Guns 'n Roses "Welcome To The Jungle" video.

Hollywood and Rock 'n Roll.