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  1. #21
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Early Times info

    For many years, Jim Beam and Old Crow went back and forth as best-selling bourbon. When Old Crow fell from grace it was Jim Beam and Early Times. Today it's Jack Daniel's and Jim Beam.

  2. #22
    Connoisseur
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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. 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.
    so they started making cheaper, crappier whiskey and lost market share. Seems there could be a lesson for current times...

  3. #23
    Enthusiast
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    Re: Early Times info

    I dont know it just never made sense to me.
    Everyday my spirit seems to find its way to the bottom of a glass...... Don

  4. #24
    Guru
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    Re: Early Times info

    Quote Originally Posted by weller_tex View Post
    so they started making cheaper, crappier whiskey and lost market share. Seems there could be a lesson for current times...
    There's a lesson but no assurance the current decision makers are willing to listen.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  5. #25
    Enthusiast
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    Re: Early Times info

    You know.. it's like I always tell my children.. hey I been thru it I know from experience, trust me, listen the first time and you will waste less time than having to go thru it yourself, that's where wisdom comes in, and in the end you come out ahead,you just skipped a step.
    Everyday my spirit seems to find its way to the bottom of a glass...... Don

  6. #26
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Early Times info

    I don't know. I'd certainly be curious to know how the folks at BF analyzed it. They can be cold-blooded, in the best sense as rational business people, about letting a brand die when it has outlived its usefulness, managing it profitably all the way to the bottom. Early Times was a workingman's bourbon for a time when all workingmen drank bourbon. More than anything else, they expected it to be cheap. When a brand like that starts to lose volume it's hard to keep it profitable. ET's loyalists got old and died and the brand personality had nothing to offer the younger drinker. So instead of investing a lot in trying to revitalize ET they created Woodford Reserve. Looked at that way, it doesn't seem like a bad decision.

 

 

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