View Full Version : CA to KY to CA

01-23-2008, 14:32
Just returned from my maiden voyage to Bourbon country and found it fascinating. I'm really interested in the history and heritage involved...the getz museum was incredible. It all seems so locked into a prescribed visual language and vernacular though. Have there ever been any brands that have tried to step 'outside the barrel' if you will?

01-23-2008, 15:40
Where about in CA are you?

... oh and of course Welcome!!

01-25-2008, 11:13
i'm in san francisco actually...and thanks for the welcome.

Dr. François
02-03-2008, 09:19
the getz museum was incredible. It all seems so locked into a prescribed visual language and vernacular though.


I'm curious to hear more about this "prescribed visual language and vernacular." Could you tell me more? Your phrasing is fascinating.

02-03-2008, 10:48
I wrote a post asking a similar question but got diverted and lost it when trying to return to the board.

I interpreted the comment as meaning that the design features of labels and advertisements and the ad copy and other terms used to describe and sell bourbon adopt a rather staid, predictable form which hasn't changed much over the years. I am not sure if this is what was meant, but I think at any rate that is true.

This is because, IMO, i) of the regulatory/legal environment, which mandates certains terms on labels and uses expressions that have become traditional even where not mandated as such, ii) the relatively small, conservative nature of the industry, which has fostered its own terminology and which inevitably appears on the products and in marketing communications, and iii) the desire not to be seen as disrespectful of societal norms regarding whiskey: it is the opposite of edgy and an understandable impulse I think when faced with a product which has a controversial history and has never really been perceived as a standard consumer product.

Using expressions related to the legal environment, history, tradition, and other established institutions seems a good way not to attract too much attention (of the wrong kind) and just in general stay on the safe side. This explains I think the folksiness of much bourbon advertising and the appeal to tradition and "solidity" (in various ways) much of it has.

Some brands have tried to adopt a more modernistic look and terminology but very few, much less than one sees, say, in the vodka world. True, one would think all the vodka makers and sellers might be similarly cautious, but vodka is a newer product than bourbon. It doesn't have the same associations, necessarily.