The consumer can walk with their feet but I don't know how much of a message this sends since it is difficult to get a broad group of consumers to find unity on anything. Of course, a smaller subset of the market could push back. For example, the retailers could push back on the distributors by telling them that they don't want misleading products in their stores. This in turn might lead the distributors to push back on the distilleries. Unfortunately, most retailers probably don't know or care about the change.
In the end, regardless of the end product (same, better, worse), producers have a moral responsibility to inform consumers of changes in products. Otherwise, it is the same as stealing. Coca-Cola told us when they changed "the formula." Of course, that didn't turn out well. But, they were smart enough to realize that the consumer would notice. A simple press release explaining the change and rationale would go a long way toward establishing good will.
Who it really burns is the loyal consumer, who would continue to buy as they just grab off the shelf what they've always grabbed since it looks so similar. And since the taste may take a year or more to change noticeably, by the time they realize "it just ain't what it used to be" they may never really know what happened. Nice way to treat those who have been your best repeat customers.
Those greedy bastards!
They screwed up Weller and now VOB which we just started getting here not too long ago....what's next?
It stinks like last weeks diapers.
We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.
Bought HH wl about a week ago and it still had the age statement. Hope that's still the case or else fuuuuuuuuuuuuuudge.