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TNbourbon
03-14-2007, 21:37
During my quarter-century in newspaper reporting, I found that much of the job is spent in rumor control -- eliminating stories that aren't true in order to pursue the ones with legitimate 'legs'. In that vein, the following:
Our area's distributor for Old Charter brands is advising retailers to purchase large stocks of OC because it is soon to become much harder to find and will take a significant price increase. Frankly, I'm doubtful, but would be happy to learn any hard evidence anyone has that this is either true or untrue. (Note: 'evidence' is stuff like retailers being unable to restock Old Charter, or $5 higher shelf prices, et al. Please don't repeat the rumors -- I've already heard those.)
Anyone?

Pharaoh
03-15-2007, 12:10
Tim,

An instance comes to mind with me. Michael Jackson wrote (I believe it was in an edition of Malt Advocate) that W L Weller 19 was going to disappear, at least for a while, better get it now while you can, etc.

At that time the B.T.A.C. did not have the sort of buzz it does now, and to make a long story short, my take on his warning reminds me quite a bit of your position in this instance.

Obviously if I had believed there was an ounce of credibility in Jackson's statement (stateside) I'd be sitting on at least a couple of additional bottles of the said item.

I'm not sure how to take what you "over-heard", but if it makes a difference to you whether or not the rumor comes to fruition, I'd be paying strict attention keeping an eye out for telltale signs.

Virus_Of_Life
03-15-2007, 12:34
Tim, my local distributor told me the same thing about Saz Jr. quite a while back, not that it was ever in large supply out here to begin with. It did completely disappear for a few months and is now back (at Hi Time) at $40 a bottle, about a $17 increase in price. I am seeing pretty much an across the board increase in prices here in SoCal, especially on what were the lower priced Buffalo Trace products.

I know this does not directly apply to what you are asking about, but its all related in one way or another...

tritioch
03-15-2007, 13:56
Local distributor here gave similar warnings for NYS. Weller and Elmer T. Lee are supposed to be in short / no supply in NYS for a while.

MikeK
03-16-2007, 15:00
Tim, my local distributor told me the same thing about Saz Jr. quite a while back, not that it was ever in large supply out here to begin with. It did completely disappear for a few months and is now back (at Hi Time) at $40 a bottle, about a $17 increase in price.

Holy Crap!! What weasels. Saz Jr. is plentiful back here at the other end of the country at around $22. Delightful stuff.

cowdery
03-17-2007, 13:45
Mark Brown, President of Buffalo Trace, says:

"Demand has been growing for our older whiskeys, well in excess of the available supply, especially on Charter. So, rather than compromise quality by dropping the age statement or lowering the proof, we are stepping up the allocation system for the brand. In addition, our costs have been rising and will more as the full effect of corn, oil, energy begins to flow through the aging inventory, hence the price increases."

So, in other words, the distributor is (more or less) telling the truth.

ILLfarmboy
03-17-2007, 14:12
I think I will fire off a letter to Mark Brown telling him he has my respect and will get an even bigger share of my business in the future. Not compromising quality or dropping age statements/proof in the face of rising production costs deserves to be rewarded! I'd much rather pay higher prices!

TNbourbon
03-17-2007, 20:46
Thanks, Chuck (and Mark B.) -- good to know.

cowdery
03-17-2007, 22:52
A distributor sales rep telling the truth. What are the odds?

full_proof
03-17-2007, 23:01
I think I will fire off a letter to Mark Brown telling him he has my respect and will get an even bigger share of my business in the future. Not compromising quality or dropping age statements/proof in the face of rising production costs deserves to be rewarded! I'd much rather pay higher prices!

I'll pay more, too. I'm impressed with the manner in which Mark Brown & BT are handling the issue. What a great company! My next trip to the store will include a purchase of OC 10-YR, 86 proof!

smokinjoe
04-11-2007, 15:01
I was speaking with a small package store owner in East Tennessee this week. He is a big bourbon guy, and has quite a nice selection of bourbons on the shelf for a store his size. He brought up the fact to me that he had been given a large price increase on the Old Charter's. The result has been that OC has gone from his largest selling bourbon, to almost nothing. Customers are passing it by.

I wonder if this is the exception, or the rule for this brand after the increase.

JOE

full_proof
04-11-2007, 19:46
I find that hard to believe--all of the Old Charters (8, 10 & 12)? If that's true, BT might intentionally price the marginal product into oblivion. Perhaps BT wants to reserve the mashbill and "beer" for aging and bottling of more-profitable brands.

TNbourbon
04-11-2007, 21:33
The info we received from Middle Tennessee's distributor which prompted this thread is that 750ml per-bottle retail (wholesale cost + c. 30% here) will be $5 higher by summer. Now, that'll certainly create additional product for BT to use to widen the OC brand's distribution, because I've talked to several retailers who've reported they'll simply buy less of it if it takes that kind of price jump, because most of its current retail buyers will find something else. But, I'm not sure I see the sense of killing off current demand in order to increase supply elsewhere.

barturtle
04-11-2007, 21:47
I find that hard to believe--all of the Old Charters (8, 10 & 12)? If that's true, BT might intentionally price the marginal product into oblivion. Perhaps BT wants to reserve the mashbill and "beer" for aging and bottling of more-profitable brands.

I have already noticed some slightly higher prices in Lville on the 12 & 13, can't say I payed any attention to the 8 or 10.

It does make some sense that they would want to ease the pressure on this brand to cover another ***cough Buffalo Trace*** so they can supply demand for other markets, and while it is easy for them to state that something like Stagg is limited allocation, it is much harder to say the same for a mass market brand like Old Charter.

Can't say I'll be happy about it, though. I'd rather have the age-stated bottling(OC) than a non-stated bottling(BT).

cowdery
04-11-2007, 22:22
Just to play devil's advocate, another vestige of the bourbon glut is low prices. When you consider that the youngest Charter is 8-years-old, it should be considered a premium product, but it isn't priced that way. Perhaps this is an experiment to see if they can up-position an existing brand, one that arguably has "the goods," by pushing the price up. What's the downside for them? They may very well make more profit on the lower volume.

TnSquire
04-18-2007, 10:22
I heard this same thing in a West Tennessee store a couple of months ago. He also told me they were not going to make Geo. Dickle Black anymore.

Old Charter is a strong brand in this state. It will be interesting if that holds.

I have noticed a bump in Old Charter in some Tennessee stores already.

Sweetmeats
04-18-2007, 14:31
So the price of corn is going up then so is the price of whiskey? Maybe foreign oil isn't such a bad thing.

ThomasH
04-18-2007, 16:48
While in Kentucky last week, I noticed several brands that jumped a fair amount in price. Old Bardstown 10yr. 101 was up 5.00 a bottle in 1 year and Michters rye whiskies were up 10.00 for the standard since 2005 and the 10yr. recently went from 44.00 to 76.00. Van Winkle rye was up 11.00 since 2005 and W.L.Weller was up 5.00 or more since 2005. The Old Charter 12 was up 1.00 since last spring which wasn't too bad. In Ohio, Dickel #12 went from 15.50 to 22.80 in 2 years or less. No store I visited had the lowest price on everything. It definitely pays to shop around!

Thomas

cowdery
04-18-2007, 17:03
The price of corn has little or nothing to do with the rising prices of American whiskey. It's pure supply and demand. American whiskey is more popular than it has been in years. Supplies are very tight so, naturally, the producers would rather sell what whiskey they have for a higher price, so they're increasing prices on the lower-priced brands more so than on the higher ones. Ten-year-old Charter could just as easily be 10-year-old Eagle Rare, for a higher price, so if you want to buy it as Old Charter, be prepared to pay more.

texascarl
06-05-2007, 20:25
I noted a price discrepancy on OC 10 the other day - they'd raised the price of the 750 but not the 1.75 at my favorite megawhusk store. I could buy a 'handle' for about $7 more than 750 - I had a handful of liquor already but now I'll go back and see how many 'handles' I can handle.