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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Red Stag by Jim Beam.

    This is either brilliant or insane, I can’t decide which.

    Jim Beam has a new product called “Red Stag by Jim Beam.” The label says it is “Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey infused with natural flavors.” The flavor in this case is black cherry.

    The potentially insane part is not the product itself. It is their use of the Jim Beam name. The Jim Beam logo appears prominently on the capsule and in the background on the face label. The product uses the standard, square Jim Beam bottle. The side label says, “Made with Jim Beam Bourbon.”

    It is 80° proof (40% alc./vol.), like white label Jim Beam.

    The letter from Beam Global’s Chief Marketing Officer, Rory Finlay, says it is “something new, something different, and our first innovation in over a decade.”

    I suspect he is referring to Jacob’s Well, a bourbon Beam introduced about 10 years ago, touted as “the first micro-distilled bourbon.” The idea was to capitalize on the micro-brewery craze. There was only one problem. “Micro-distilled” wasn’t just marketing fluff, it was a flat-out lie.

    Beam had finessed “Small Batch” by honestly explaining that it referred to selection and bottling, not distillation. “Micro-distilled” was just a howler, no way around it. The product quickly failed and I think Beam learned from that experience. Jacob’s Well aside, Beam doesn’t make many mistakes, so although my first reaction to Red Stag was negative, I resolved to keep an open mind.

    Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said, about a book, “if you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you will like.” There is some of that here. If you strictly drink whiskey straight, don’t even think about trying Red Stag. If, however, you like whiskey cocktails, or whiskey-based liqueurs, you might go for this. The black cherry flavor is very good, very rich, much better tasting than the Philips Union cherry-flavored whiskey that came out a few years ago.

    Black cherry is my favorite Life Saver flavor, so I like Red Stag. Although not classed as a liqueur, it put me in mind of Wild Turkey’s American Honey. It is not a similar flavor, but the same kind of beast, and probably something you would drink on the same kind of occasion.

    Finlay’s letter also says, “Red Stag is created though a unique, artisanal, natural infusion process where black cherry flavors are slowly and carefully infused into our fine, four year old bourbon.”

    As a whiskey drinker, I probably would dial back the black cherry a little bit to let more of the whiskey taste come through, but I suspect the target audience will be glad it tastes the way it does. It is not as cloyingly sweet as most liqueurs.

    Right now, I’m enjoying Red Stag on-the-rocks with a little Stirrings orange bitters. Manhattan-ish, it is a drink I will have again.

    The risk is that Red Stag may confuse further a consumer who is already uncertain about what different kinds of spirits really are, but I like it when producers take risks. Therefore, if you like this sort of thing, give Red Stag a try.
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  2. #2
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: Red Stag by Jim Beam.

    Based on your post, if I see it, I'll probably try it.

    How new is it? When should I expect to see it in Northern Indiana?

  3. #3
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: Red Stag by Jim Beam.

    Hmmmm. Not sure I'd want to spring for a 750. Maybe if a smaller bottle comes along.

    When I first saw the title of your post, I thought perhaps Red Stag represented Beam's move up-market to challenge the really expensive niche whiskeys such as PVW or Buffalo Trace's Antique Collection. In my view, their premium brands don't do that. Maybe it's meant to compete against some of the experimentals BT is making.

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Red Stag by Jim Beam.

    It's brand new, but it should be at retail very soon if it isn't already.

    I don't know a retail price, but I expect it will be more than JB white but less than black. If that's not where it is, or the same as one of them, they're making a mistake. It's Jim Beam white plus flavoring, so that's where it should be.

    As for who it's positioned against, I would say they're going after the drinker of flavored vodka, but they're really on new ground here. It may also play in the same space as Wild Turkey American Honey, although it's not a liqueur.

    A lot of people here won't like this. I'm not a big cocktails guy, but I like them well enough to like this. Ditto with liqueurs, although I don't drink straight liqueurs very often and even this is close to being too sweet.
    Last edited by cowdery; 02-26-2009 at 22:07.

  5. #5
    Virtuoso
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    Re: Red Stag by Jim Beam.

    I suppose it was inevitable. Like Absolut and Bacardi, I'm sure we'll be seeing all manner of flavored Bourbons soon, from coconut to peach to chocolate. Hey, if someone wants to drink it, fine by me; it just isn't my thing.

  6. #6
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    Re: Red Stag by Jim Beam.

    I'm sure it will be over here with a different name in a year or two.
    The right proof too!
    Beam won't be mentioned though.

  7. #7
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    Re: Red Stag by Jim Beam.

    Quote Originally Posted by sku View Post
    I suppose it was inevitable. Like Absolut and Bacardi, I'm sure we'll be seeing all manner of flavored Bourbons soon, from coconut to peach to chocolate. Hey, if someone wants to drink it, fine by me; it just isn't my thing.
    Isn't there Philips Union out your way? (And for that matter Southern Comfort!)

    However, having tasted Sweet Lucy, I have to agree with your last sentence!
    Kevin

    "Clears up her head with bourbon/Cause beer is so suburban/And declasse for what it's worth"

  8. #8
    Enthusiast
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    Re: Red Stag by Jim Beam.

    Any predictions on the filing date of a trade-dress complaint by Buffalo Trace/Sazerac over the use of antlers and "Stag"?

    Any of our attorneys care to weigh in?

    Likelihood of confusion?

    Secondary meaning?

    Similarity of market or distribution channels?
    Jeremy
    www.awksome.com

    “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.”
    --Kurt Vonnegut


  9. #9
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    Re: Red Stag by Jim Beam.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. François View Post
    Any predictions on the filing date of a trade-dress complaint by Buffalo Trace/Sazerac over the use of antlers and "Stag"?

    Any of our attorneys care to weigh in?

    Likelihood of confusion?

    Secondary meaning?

    Similarity of market or distribution channels?
    I had only read the post title and not even seen the bottle before I was thinking this.
    Hope is subversive, for it limits the grandiose pretensions of the present by calling into existence the possibility of something better.

  10. #10
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    Re: Red Stag by Jim Beam.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. François View Post
    Any predictions on the filing date of a trade-dress complaint by Buffalo Trace/Sazerac over the use of antlers and "Stag"?

    Any of our attorneys care to weigh in?

    Likelihood of confusion?

    Secondary meaning?

    Similarity of market or distribution channels?
    BT will wait until it gets marketed wide enough and Beam has spent some cash getting the name out to the general public before filing the trade-name infringment lawsuit. Sure the lawyers at Beam are prepared for this. Usually have to run this through legal before porceeding (marketing & selling). But who knows - lawyers aren't always the brightest (sorry Doc, know to many lawyers who think too highly of themselves and make major mistakes)
    TJ

 

 

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