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  1. #31
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    Post Re: Bourbon selection in 1970s liquor stores

    I always think back to my trips to the Old High street Pottstown state Store as it was called then. They had a little Wine and Lots of Whiskey Back then. And They had a whole Section for Old Hickory 80 Proof, 86 proof and whatever other Old Hickory was around Like Our BIB. Also right near there was the Hallers County Fair BIB, The Charter Oak BIB and lots of our other Brands of Straights like Planters club 86 and BIB. And if you wanted Blended there was our most Famous one Philadelphia Blended and good old Governors Club. And Our Canadian Whiskey Embassy Club. We had a real big presence then and I loved looking at all the Whiskeys there back then. Today the stores are called Wine and spirites but they might as well call them Wine World!
    Dave Z
    Kinsey The Unhurried Whiskey For Unhurried Moments

  2. #32
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    Re: Bourbon selection in 1970s liquor stores

    I've seen some old Philadelphia Blended bottles around but haven't payed much attention to them.

  3. #33
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    Re: Bourbon selection in 1970s liquor stores

    Quote Originally Posted by ratcheer View Post
    And Henry McKenna was definitely available, though I have no idea who made it, then.
    If I remember correctly, the Henry McKenna brand was purchased by Seagram in the 1940s. The original mashbill, however, stayed with the family descendant who had been making it and who passed away a few years later, and is lost today.

  4. #34
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    Re: Bourbon selection in 1970s liquor stores

    Quote Originally Posted by flintlock View Post
    But maybe the "good old days" weren't so great - it's all just good, straightforward stuff. No premium bottlings, no single barrels. Just workingman's bourbon. Delicious, but not the dizzying array of high end stuff we have now.
    Some would argue (and have, actually) that this is no bargain when viewed at a distance; in order to get the premium bottlings and single barrels we enjoy today, the better distillates have to be held back from the workingman's bourbon.

    In theory, the pedestrian bourbon of 40 years ago was better quality than the same bourbon today, in part because it wasn't plundered of its best make for the higher-end expressions.

  5. #35
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    Thumbs up Re: Bourbon selection in 1970s liquor stores

    Quote Originally Posted by shoshani View Post

    In theory, the pedestrian bourbon of 40 years ago was better quality than the same bourbon today, in part because it wasn't plundered of its best make for the higher-end expressions.
    That makes a lot of sense to me, shoshani. All the bourbons I remember from those days were rich and full-flavored, except for the very low-priced bottom shelf stuff.

    Tim
    Self-Styled Whisky Connoisseur

  6. #36
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    Re: Bourbon selection in 1970s liquor stores

    I grew up in Louisville and graduated from high school in 1970. To address some of the previous questions:

    Rebel Yell, Cabin Still, and Old Fitzgerald were all still being made by Stitzel Weller. National Distillers flagship brand was Old-Grand Dad ("the head of the bourbon family"). Yellowstone ("that's right, no bite") was very popular, as were Heaven Hill BIB, Jim Beam (white label), and Ancient Age. Seagram's Benchmark was the one premium bourbon that I remember, but Maker's Mark was the up and coming premium ("tastes expensive, and it is" was the tag line on the billboards).

    Jim Beam was known more for its collector bottles than it was for the quality of the bourbon. The last collector bottle I remember was the bicentennial series *1976) with the Norman Rockwell labels. There might have been some after that, but I cannot recall any.

    Through the early 70's many Bourbons were still 100 proof and bottled in bond, but that was the time that the proofs started to drop.

  7. #37
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    Re: Bourbon selection in 1970s liquor stores

    Quote Originally Posted by RickF View Post
    ("tastes expensive, and it is" was the tag line on the billboards).
    I always find it funny how plainly stating that a product was expensive was an effective advertising technique in the 70s. While snob appeal has always been, and is still, a big part of advertising, in the 70s a lot of products came right out and claimed expense as a selling point by itself.

  8. #38
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    Re: Bourbon selection in 1970s liquor stores

    Part of the context for that Maker's campaign is that the rest of the industry was in a race to the bottom at the time. No one in the industry believed you could sell bourbon with a quality claim. No one even took Maker's seriously. Ultimately, the brand was 'made' by an article in the Wall Street Journal. That WSJ article can also be said to mark the beginning of the present bourbon revival.

    The true early history of Maker's is at least as interesting as the legend. Maker's was the last of the independents. People often mistakenly believe small family-owned companies sell out because they've hit a bad financial patch. Usually it's the opposite, they sell out because they can't afford to finance the growth their success has made possible.

    The other thing you should know is that they under-promised and over-delivered, but in an almost back-handed way. They said Maker's was expensive, but it wasn't. It was a little higher than most other bourbons but less than most scotch or other things they might be drinking, so most people were prepared for it to be more expensive than it was.

    It was a beautiful convergence of skill and luck.
    Last edited by cowdery; 10-07-2011 at 18:04.

  9. #39
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    Re: Bourbon selection in 1970s liquor stores

    Quote Originally Posted by RickF View Post
    I grew up in Louisville and graduated from high school in 1970. To address some of the previous questions:

    Rebel Yell, Cabin Still, and Old Fitzgerald were all still being made by Stitzel Weller. National Distillers flagship brand was Old-Grand Dad ("the head of the bourbon family"). Yellowstone ("that's right, no bite") was very popular, as were Heaven Hill BIB, Jim Beam (white label), and Ancient Age. Seagram's Benchmark was the one premium bourbon that I remember, but Maker's Mark was the up and coming premium ("tastes expensive, and it is" was the tag line on the billboards).

    Jim Beam was known more for its collector bottles than it was for the quality of the bourbon. The last collector bottle I remember was the bicentennial series *1976) with the Norman Rockwell labels. There might have been some after that, but I cannot recall any.

    Through the early 70's many Bourbons were still 100 proof and bottled in bond, but that was the time that the proofs started to drop.
    I moved to Louisville in February of 1978 and this is exactly how I remember it.

  10. #40
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    Re: Bourbon selection in 1970s liquor stores

    (Also, what was it like to walk into a bar in the 70s and order a bourbon on the rocks? What was stocked behind the bar?)[/QUOTE]

    * I remember during the late 70s out here on Cape Cod being served Beam [White Label] as the all around bourbon. Never saw much in the line of high end bourbon back then but Harper's was always a good choice.

 

 

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