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  1. #41
    Trippah and Admin
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    Re: Sazerac marketing debacle: happening with any bourbons or only rye?

    Please keep on topic. It is easy to open a new thread if you wish to discuss something else.
    My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment.
    I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?

  2. #42
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Sazerac marketing debacle: happening with any bourbons or only rye?

    Quote Originally Posted by ohiobourbon View Post
    I like the idea of the "save the straight" campaign. I would even be happy with a "look for the straight" campaign, so that people had a better idea of what they were buying.
    With regard to Fleischmann's, Chucks comment that the change is probably to keep the cost down (and save the brand) seems right-on, but my guess it is that the reason the word "straight" was removed does not have as much to do with the age of the whiskey. If I understand the rules correctly, if the whiskey is under 4 years old then the label needs an age statement, regardless whether it is straight or not, so removing the "straight" modifier would not help much, unless they were planning to sell the whiskey under 2-years old and put that age statement on the label (which, it sounds like, some Fleischmann's drinkers might not notice).

    But, with the word "straight" removed, the producer is free to add caramel coloring and some flavoring materials (like sherry), and not disclose those additions to the whiskey on the label. Why would they do this? If Sazerac were planning to put their lower-quality rye in the Fleischmann's bottle, so that they could save their better rye for their other higher-priced products, maybe Sazerac believed the coloring or flavoring addition would help cover-up the product change.
    It's 'straight' that requires the age statement. No 'straight,' no age statement is required. If straight and less than four years, an age statement is required. If not straight, no age statement is required. It's still 'rye whiskey,' however, which means proof of distillation <160 proof, aging in new charred oak, and no coloring or flavoring, i.e., it's not a blend. The change is what it is but don't make it something it's not.

    The odd thing about Fleischmann's has always been that as small as it is, it's the only brand that's using the rye whiskey distilled at Barton, so presumably they didn't do this to make more liquid available for another brand.

  3. #43
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    Re: Sazerac marketing debacle: happening with any bourbons or only rye?

    Who knows Chuck, Sazerac has other ryes, Canadians too for that matter.

  4. #44
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    Sazerac marketing debacle: happening with any bourbons or only rye?

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    Who knows Chuck, Sazerac has other ryes, Canadians too for that matter.
    Squire, maybe they're saving up the Barton rye to give you your dream bottle from that other thread.
    Jim

  5. #45
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    Re: Sazerac marketing debacle: happening with any bourbons or only rye?

    If only that were so.

  6. #46

    Re: Sazerac marketing debacle: happening with any bourbons or only rye?

    My guess is that they made the decision to stop producing rye 3-4 years ago at Barton, probably because it was their only rye and only sold in 1 market at low prices (and accordingly low margins)

    When the stopped production manifested itself in a discontinuation of the brand, they would have had very low stocks of sufficiently old rye, and probably had to scrape the brand back with BT rye, sourced rye, underaged rye, etc.

  7. #47
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    Re: Sazerac marketing debacle: happening with any bourbons or only rye?

    My take on it is a little different:

    Barton was producing a 100% rye that was almost ready for market when BT acquired them. I think those stocks will be used in the ongoing CEHT rye bottlings.

    The recent change in the Fleischman brand is simply BT's way of squeezing some more profit out of a small niche brand.
    John B

    "Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons… that is all there is to distinguish us from other animals."

  8. #48
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    Re: Sazerac marketing debacle: happening with any bourbons or only rye?

    To rye or not to rye, that is the question.

  9. #49
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Sazerac marketing debacle: happening with any bourbons or only rye?

    I don't think people grasp how small Fleischmann's is, yet in that small market they must sell a lot of it to justify making it. Unlike a small bourbon brand, which is just a matter of slapping a label on a standard bottle, they have to actually make this stuff.

    Of course, before Sazerac bought them, Barton was active in the contract distilling and bulk whiskey markets. Some of the High West ryes were Barton. Yet Fleischmann's has long been a 36-month whiskey. In the whiskey business, that's practically just-in-time manufacturing, being able to sell something three years after it's distilled. The fact that they discontinued then brought it back shows how borderline it is.

    About the smallest batch a distillery can make is the contents of one fermenter, but the start-up and shut-down for one fermenter is the same as a whole day's production, so one day's production seems to be the smallest practical unit. Even today, with rye production up, a distillery like BT might do three or four days of rye in the spring and three or four in the fall, but back in the doldrums it was one day in the spring and one day in the fall. I imagine Barton has been doing that, or maybe just one day for the whole year, and that has been enough for Fleischmann's, for their blends, and for contract/bulk sales.

    When BT bought Barton they were shut down for rather a long stretch, about 18 months, because Sazerac felt they had been over-producing. When the rye ran out because of that gap, that may have been when they discontinued it. At some point in there they decided to make it after all, and probably went right back to what they had been doing, production-wise.

    I don't have the sense that Sazerac is doing much if any robbing of Peter to pay Paul, that is making BT brands with Barton juice and vice versa. That would be inefficient. That's not to say they wouldn't, but there is no reason to assume they have and several good reasons to imagine they haven't. BT and maybe both distilleries are sending product to Owensboro for aging and bottling. BT may also be using some of Barton's warehouses, but there's no good reason to send Barton juice to Frankfort. Alternatively, they might have decided to make rye only at BT and Fleischmann's is or will be BT juice, but I think it's just as likely they left things as they were.

    Another fact that some may not know is that Fleischmann's Rye itself was nothing special. It was decent and cheap, and a charming novelty due to its extremely limited distribution. There's a raw pleasure in a well-made young rye but that's all it ever was. I'm quite sure nobody was champing at the bit to slip some of it into T. H. Handy.

    Products like Fleischmann's Rye are what is known affectionately in the industry as 'cats and dogs.' I don't know the derivation, but it means brands, usually on the bottom shelf, that have a loyal customer base for some unknown reason, and sell their 10 or 20,000 cases a year without anybody having to work very hard. Sazerac has a lot of cats and dogs, and acquired a bunch more when it bought Barton. It's a low margin business so 'squeezing profit out of it' is probably the right terminology, because there is so little profit to be had.

    That's Sazerac's business, to operate in as many niches as possible and extract a respectable profit from each, without investing very much in things like brand building.
    Last edited by cowdery; 03-15-2013 at 16:55.

  10. #50
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    Re: Sazerac marketing debacle: happening with any bourbons or only rye?

    I am bummed by this news. I like rye, and I go to WI once a year to visit family. I was going to pick up a couple bottles of this stuff on my trip this year, but based on White Dog's comments I think I'll pass unless I happen across a stray bottle that has "Straight" on the label.

 

 

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