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  1. #11
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    Re: Early Times info

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    I don't recall it being less than 86 proof but I believe it's been a B-F second brand for as long as I've been buying whisky.
    I'd have to trawl through Google Books again for this, and maybe I will over the weekend, but B-F definitely had full page magazine ads in the late 1940s and early 1950s showing their entire tiers: Old Forester, the Bottled In Bond flagship; Early Times, the 90 proof popular-priced table bourbon, and then one blended whisky called King and there might have actually been a second blend.
    Michael Shoshani - Old No. 8 on the Straightbourbon.com forums

  2. #12
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    Re: Early Times info

    Oh yeah, before my time I'm afraid, I was dating my experience from the mid 1960s. Interesting though, how the pattern went from 100 to 90 to 86 then 80 proof over the years.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  3. #13
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    Re: Early Times info

    The official story being told by Chris Morris is that in the 1980s B-F was looking for a lighter flavored whiskey to sell and decided to make ET that brand by using used cooperage to lighten the flavor. Both ET and Old Forester 86 were more heavy bodied products and really competing with each other for the same market. I think that this story is the truth, but I also suspect that with declining Bourbon sales of the time, the chance to save some money by re-using barrels played a role in the decision as well. Accountant always have their influence in these decisions.

    Mike Veach

  4. #14
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    Re: Early Times info

    Quote Originally Posted by bourbonv View Post
    Accountant always have their influence in these decisions.
    To be fair to the accountants, when they come in and say we're gonna close if we can't start making a profit so either cut costs or raise sales without increasing costs, something's gotta go. Ya can't blame the accountant for pointing out that the business plan sucks and the future doesn't look better. (Undergrad is accounting, and used it only to get into grad school but have several friends who are CPA's and/or CFO's of non-small businesses)

    -- Ravensfire
    "We're wanted men! we'll strike again! But first, let's have a beer" -- J Buffett

  5. #15
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    Re: Early Times info

    Ravensfire, I agree. If the distillery does not make money, it closes and we lose another line of brands. I was just pointing out that there were probably other reasons involved besides the official storyline.
    Mike Veach

  6. #16
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Early Times info

    I believe ET went to 80 proof in 1985 when the FET was increased. By cutting proof they could avoid raising prices, a benefit for a value brand. I was in the room when the change to 'Kentucky whiskey' was announced and the reason was ROI (Return On Investment). With various costs going up, substituting 20% of the new barrels with used saved enough to keep the ROI unchanged without a price increase. Chris Morris was in the same room so he knows that anything about a 'lighter-tasting product' was post-justification or, at best, a rationalization for why they could make the change without losing share.

    They lost share anyway. At the time, ET was selling only slightly less than Jim Beam. Since then the gap has only grown.

    Not coincidentally, it was at about this time that Brown-Forman stopped its arms-length relationship with Jack Daniel's and accepted that the tail was now wagging the dog. Up until about 1985 they pretended that Tennessee whiskey and Kentucky bourbon were in different categories, a level of denial similar to the West not recognizing so-called 'Red China.' JD was run out of Nashville as a separate division that only connected to the BF at the highest management levels. In about 1985 a BF person was put in charge of JD for the first time.

    BF has a long-term policy of only keeping category leaders. Although they kept ET and OF for what might be called sentimental reasons, they stopped supporting them in any significant way and put everything behind JD.
    Last edited by cowdery; 02-08-2014 at 12:28.

  7. #17
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    Re: Early Times info

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    I believe ET went to 80 proof in 1985 when the FET was increased.
    Hey Chuck, It must have been a lot earlier than '85, here is a pic of a vintage bottle from '69 -'70 which has the 80 proof on it, and another mini which has the 86, I was just curious about the whole thing, and since I was able to procure 6 of these full.
    et mini.jpget.jpg
    Everyday my spirit seems to find its way to the bottom of a glass...... Don

  8. #18
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    Re: Early Times info

    Chuck, what year was that? I have a couple et straight bottles, I may be wrong, but I have a straight from the US I think dated 84 or 85. The other is 70's. Both are nothing to write home about.

  9. #19
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Early Times info

    Both the FET Increase and the switch to Kentucky Whisky took place in 1985. I see that there was 80 proof ET further back, which doesn't surprise me because the popular price brands all went to 80 proof in the 50s and 60s. I know there were some brands that cut proof in 1985 to avoid increasing prices because of the FET increase.

  10. #20
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    Re: Early Times info

    Quote Originally Posted by tmckenzie View Post
    Chuck, what year was that? I have a couple et straight bottles, I may be wrong, but I have a straight from the US I think dated 84 or 85. The other is 70's. Both are nothing to write home about.
    My bottles date to '69 or '70 and it's nothing to write home about ,but I have had worse, I like it,it's a very easy pour,plus I just think it's neat drinking whisky that dates back then,wish I could find some of those dusty's that I see people finding out there on this site.Thanks Chuck for the insight!
    Everyday my spirit seems to find its way to the bottom of a glass...... Don

 

 

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