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bourbonv
03-29-2007, 10:48
I am interested in how the future bourbon researcher will view the internet and the rebound of bourbon. I would like to know what types of sites influence the current market and what consumers are looking at on the net when making their bourbon related decisions, whether that is to purchase a bottle or plan a bourbon related trip.

What do you feel is the role of the internet in the marketing of bourbon? Do you go to brand or distiller sites on a regular basis? Do you pay more attention to a brand if it is discussed in a tasting forum in a positive way? How has the internet affected your bourbon enjoyment?

These are just few questions I was wondering about and would like to see your opinions on the subject.

Mike Veach

Gillman
03-29-2007, 11:29
Good questions Mike.

The answers are, big-time to the first and affirmative on the rest!

In fact, producers and retailers could use the Internet much more than they do, their use to date is (comparatively) restrained.

Gary

OscarV
03-29-2007, 13:40
One thing that the distilleries could do is keep there web sites up to date.

As far as forums are concerned I keep an eye out and an open ear for something that I don't know about.
I have bought bourbons based on other people's opinion, and most of the time I agree with them after I tasted it, but there have been some bummers, not many.

ratcheer
03-29-2007, 15:53
What do you feel is the role of the internet in the marketing of bourbon? Do you go to brand or distiller sites on a regular basis? Do you pay more attention to a brand if it is discussed in a tasting forum in a positive way? How has the internet affected your bourbon enjoyment?



I do not very often seek out the websites of distillers or brands. I used to do it, but I never found the kind of stuff I was interested in, but mainly just marketing fluff.

I pay a lot of attention to these forums (sb.com), but I rarely visit any others. If a particular bourbon is highly touted here, I will try to seek it out. Since I live in an ABC state, I am rarely successful at finding anything new or exciting.

Because of sb.com, only, the internet has affected my knowledge and enjoyment of bourbon, greatly. But, nothing else on the internet has been very influential on me.

Tim

ILLfarmboy
03-29-2007, 16:44
I seldom go to distiller's sites mostly because as Tim said they are mostly marketing fluff. But my knowledge of bourbon has grown in the last several years because of sb.com and a few others. If it wasn't for the Internet I would never have tasted any of the antique collection. In fact I never would have known about Sam's or Binny's etc. I would still be drinking from the limited selection in most liquor and grocery stores in my area.

I do pay considerable attention to product reviews here and elsewhere, especially here.

bourbonv
03-29-2007, 17:16
There is a third type of website that nobody has mentioned - the individual website for a bourbon fan. If you have not looked at before, you really should look at Mike Kellstrand's dite. It is excellent and that is the type of site I am talking about here. Do the sites of individuals influence your bourbon choices? Not only in the bottle purchase area, but also maybe travel plans. Did you go to the Oscar Getz Museum or the Heaven Hill Center after seeing them on somebody's website?

Mike Veach

bluesbassdad
03-29-2007, 17:40
I know you said "marketing", not "sale". Nevertheless, there's irony here.

Moments ago I asked to be removed from Binny's mailing list.

In August, 2004 when I moved to Arizona, Binny's would ship to me here. A few months back I tried to order a limited bottling of rye from them. The website accepted the order, but I received a phone call two days later saying they couldn't ship to Arizona.

Even so, they continued to send me an email newsletter. Upon receipt of today's message, I decided I couldn't stand to smell whiskey through the jail house window any longer. I asked to be removed from their mailing list.

More apropos your question, given the limited availability of mid-to-top-shelf bourbons here in rural Arizona, I suppose I should cease all contact with the Internet in regard to bourbon. If it ain't in the local Liquor Coop, I ain't gonna get to try it.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

TNbourbon
03-29-2007, 19:33
The good news, Dave, is that I think the internet will be a contributing force in the eventual (slooowwwllly, I realize) liberalization of liquor policy and laws. With information literally at one's fingertips, the hue and cry will become too much for echo-answering politicians to ignore.
Not much consolation today, admittedly.:frown:

ratcheer
03-30-2007, 16:15
There is a third type of website that nobody has mentioned - the individual website for a bourbon fan. If you have not looked at before, you really should look at Mike Kellstrand's dite. It is excellent and that is the type of site I am talking about here. Do the sites of individuals influence your bourbon choices? Not only in the bottle purchase area, but also maybe travel plans. Did you go to the Oscar Getz Museum or the Heaven Hill Center after seeing them on somebody's website?

Mike Veach

Honestly, I had never thought about sites like that.

Tim

cowdery
03-30-2007, 16:23
It's not my purpose to highjack Mike's thread, but it got me thinking about forums such as straightbourbon.com. Although it has become the preeminent on-line community for people interested in American whiskey, it was not the first. I can't tell you the year, but when I first started to participate in an on-line bulletin board it was on the old Prodigy service. The bulletin board was for all beverage alcohol and the wine discussions drew the most participation, but there were American whiskey threads.

To steer this back to Mike's thread, I think the significant thing has been communities such as this one. The producer web sites are nice, but pretty much just an extension of pre-internet marketing techniques into the internet space. Enthusiast sites are even less significant. Nothing against them, but in the parlance of the industry, I don't think they move the needle. The communities do.

TBoner
03-30-2007, 16:32
I agree re: communities. Nearly every bourbon I've tried outside of the well-marketed (i.e. Beam) has been b/c of the input of others here. The widespread agreement that it was okay (really!) for me to try WT101, the insights about the relative merits of different EWSB vintages, and the revelations about what's in those dusty bottles have directly affected every bourbon/rye purchase I've made.
One need look no further than the almost global love for BT products sans traditional marketing (for the most part) to see the impact of online forums.
And I trust several palates here more than Jim Murray's or the Beverage Institute or even Michael Jackson (at least when it comes to bourbon).
I rarely visit commercial producers' sites, and even more rarely personal sites. This place, on the other hand, is visited more than any of my "everyday" pours...

Jazzhead
03-30-2007, 23:00
To steer this back to Mike's thread, I think the significant thing has been communities such as this one. The producer web sites are nice, but pretty much just an extension of pre-internet marketing techniques into the internet space. Enthusiast sites are even less significant. Nothing against them, but in the parlance of the industry, I don't think they move the needle. The communities do.

Yes. It is the communities that make the internet unique. Individuals can get together in voluntary communities and drive opinion - because the back-fence is now world-wide and everyone can listen in!

Marketers that cater to these communities will be most successful in exploiting the internet. The communities, of course, have another, competing priority - not to lose their souls.

Ubertaster
03-31-2007, 05:53
I fortunately live in a state that allows retail import of spirits and the Internet has made this possible. Unfortunately there are a many states and local communities that restrict this practice. Since we live in a free market system it is time to open up the rest of the country. The main reason they have restrictions is to keep the money in their pockets [protectionism]. Other reasons would include religious and temperance ideas which seem to go hand in hand. With our government wanting to open up world wide markets they need to look more closely at state and local restrictions. I am still living in the Middle Ages.

bj

mrt
03-31-2007, 13:07
I really owe much of my current knowledge about bourbon to internet, especially SB. Being interested in and curious about bourbon in all aspects (tasting, history, production process, industry, etc.), and living far away from the "homeland of bourbon", internet is a great asset for me. My self-promotion from a curios beginner to an enthusiast is taking place mainly with the help I get from internet. My main source is SB, but I also visit producer websites and sometimes ask questions about their brands via e-mail. In my opinion, if bourbon will prevail worldwide, surely this will be with a great contribution of internet, like any other product from any other industry that will be popular worldwide. Internet will be-and currently is- a world of oppurtunity for marketing in 21st century.

CrispyCritter
04-01-2007, 17:08
Without a doubt, the Internet has had a huge influence on my drink choices. I rarely visit producer sites, but forums like this are great, not just for figuring out what to buy, but also to call producers out on their marketing BS.

brendaj
04-01-2007, 18:09
I first started to participate in an on-line bulletin board it was on the old Prodigy service.
Chuck,
Funny you should bring this up. I just got an invitation for Oinksterfest '07, from a group of folks that had their beginnings on a bulletin board in 1997. We were all geeks that loved BBQ...:slappin: It got so popular, they held several Oinkster Festivals. People can from all over, and PBS even filmed it in 1999.
Over time, that bulletin board split into newsgroups, mailing lists, and several different websites and forums. But, there is still a core group of BBQ folks that have been held together by the ether since 1997. Hell, in the last 10 years, these people have met all over the country and BBQ'd all kinds of stuff...:grin:

brendaj
04-01-2007, 19:42
How has the internet affected your bourbon enjoyment?
Mike,
While I don't believe the rebound of Bourbon, or my enjoyment of Bourbon is due solely to the Internet (without good whiskey, nothing is possible...:lol: ) it certainly can't be ignored. I grew up with Bourbon, but I never would have met you (despite the fact that we grew up within a couple of miles of one another), and countless others that have taught me so much.
Had it not been for StraightBourbon, I doubt I would have ever done more than I grew up doing...Bourbon & Coke...:blush:. Instead, as I type this I just finished off the last glug of a bottle of 2002 Stagg, and am currently working on the last couple of inches of a bottle of the 129 proof Stagg (can't remember what year that was). The only thing in the glass except the Bourbon is a couple of cubes of commercial ice. And I'm trying to decide between the laid-back (despite the proof) 2002, or the more explosive 129 proof. Point is, I'm considering Bourbon from a different perspective (another point is, I can't get either one of these Bourbons again, so it really doesn't matter...:slappin: )
So, I predict the researcher will look back and see the Internet as a far more powerful influence than we perceive it today. While I have to agree with everyone that individual pages, whether corporate or enthusiast, have mostly no impact on what I might purchase, fresh content and photos of trips do help to promote the cause...:grin:
However, StraightBourbon has proven that internet forums can build like-minded communities of people that end-up interacting on a physical level. There's a certain synergy (Gawd, I love that word) associated with a bunch of people all in one place, doing the same thing.
It has without a doubt, enhanced my Bourbon enjoyment. And IMHO it has assisted in the promotion of Bourbon worldwide.
Bj

bourbonv
04-02-2007, 08:17
Tim,
Thank you for pointing out an angle I had not considered. The internet has been responsible for bringing down some of the restrictions on shipping wine into states and may one day do the same with spirits. A Very good point.

Do you think that the internet community as Chuck describes it, is responsible for the growth of the "clubs" sponsored by the distilleries? There were a few of these clubs around before the internet such as ones for Rebel Yell and Jack Daniels, but it has only been in the last 15 years that all of the distilleries really started promoting their clubs and holding events for them.

Mike Veach

ggilbertva
04-10-2007, 10:14
As an IT careerist, I think I can offer some opinion related to Mike's question. For years, I drank Wild Turkey exclusively. Not because I thought it was the best bourbon in the world, but because I was not educated on other offerings on the market. The Internet has been the sole reason I now drink multiple variations of bourbon from pretty much all distributors. The power of the Internet is in its ability to provide instant, current and relevent feedback on the topic of choice. I'm currently in the process of due diligence in moving into purchasing a franchise. Where did I go to begin my analysis? The Internet. The days of doing research via industry mags, the library, etc. plays a supporting roll to what the Internet gives you. Instant feedback and some gratification to a question is what people expect because that's what the Internet provides to a great extent. My bourbon purchases have been made based on information I've found not only on SB.com but other spirits related websites and go to forming a complete picture of my bourbon education and ultimate purchasing. In a conversation with my Business Attorney recently, he stated that Google is the Internet gossip column. You will find all the good and bad on just about any topic. Going to a distributors website, as others have pointed out, provides nothing of substance except marketing fluff. As a last relevent note, the only reason I attended last years KBF was because of the Internet. I'm not sure I would have found out about this event with the use of the Internet.

ggilbertva
04-11-2007, 11:09
In relation to Mike's question, 80Strong Bourbon is an independent venture that has decided to use the Internet as its marketing tool.....see http://www.myspace.com/80strong. It's interesting they are using myspace as their marketing vehicle in getting the word out. The myspace website is on the "edgy" side as you will see by the words and pics they use on the myspace site. For instance they state "To all the kids, punks and grommets, YOU MUST BE 21 OR OLDER to check out this site. Seriously, if you're under 21 get the f$*k out!!"

Personally, from what I've seen, I'm not sure their approach entices me to purchase their product. They are obviously going for the younger, partying demographic....which as a middle aged male....I am not.