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  1. #1
    Connoisseur
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    JACK DANIEL\'S: LEMONADE NEXT?

    September 28, 2004 -- JACK Daniel's has sparked outrage among serious drinkers by unceremoniously lowering the proof of its famous Tennessee Whiskey from 86 to 80. The change which means the hooch has 3 percent less alcohol has riled those still smarting from the "betrayal" of 15 years ago when the company lowered the strength of its 90-proof, 138-year-old original recipe, to 86 proof. Frank Kelly Rich, editor of Modern Drunkard magazine (and a contributor to The Post's Sunday books section), has taken up the cause along with "alert drunkard" Chris Sharp, who was apparently the first to notice the switch. Sharp has started an online petition and boycott with the magazine's backing "designed to right this grievous wrong." Distillery rep Roger Brashears told us, "We researched it and decided the majority of people wanted a less potent drink." Rich writes, "Jack Daniel's is, of course, a private corporation and they can do whatever the hell they want," but called the alcohol dilution "unfathomable blasphemy. They can lower the proof to zero and call it lemonade if they like. But that doesn't mean we have to drink it."


  2. #2
    Enthusiast
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    Re: JACK DANIEL\'S: LEMONADE NEXT?

    I was quite shocked in the liquor store the other day to see bottles of JD that were only 80-proof... and that cost almost $20 per bottle! Sorry, but 750 mLs of 80-proof JD is just not worth $20... I can get EWSB '94 for that price.

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: JACK DANIEL\'S: LEMONADE NEXT?

    Distillery rep Roger Brashears told us, "We researched it and decided the majority of people wanted a less potent drink."
    Who does he think he's crapping? Lowering the proof is a way to take a price increase without increasing the price, primarily because it lowers the Federal Excise Tax burden on each bottle. (The FET is based on proof.) What I'm sure they researched is the fact that most people won't notice. Happily, they can't do it again, unless they want to take the word "whiskey" off the label. Anything lower than 80 proof has to be labeled "diluted whiskey."

    Of course, and we talked about this before, Jack Daniel's might be able to get away with just calling it "Jack Daniel's," period. Example: Southern Comfort, actually a liqueur but positioned and often merchandised as a whiskey, is now 70 proof.

    Both brands are owned by Brown-Forman.

  4. #4
    Enthusiast
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    Re: JACK DANIEL\'S: LEMONADE NEXT?

    Example: Southern Comfort, actually a liqueur but positioned and often merchandised as a whiskey, is now 70 proof.
    Doesn't Southern Comfort still have a 100 proof version? I'm pretty sure I saw some on the shelf the other day up here in VT...

  5. #5
    Administrator in exile
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    Re: JACK DANIEL\'S: LEMONADE NEXT?

    Yes it does. I saw some this weekend in a Virgina ABC store.

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: JACK DANIEL\'S: LEMONADE NEXT?

    Some people notice these things, I have a friend, who knows spirits in a general way (knows what is good but without technical knowledge) and he noticed the proof reduction and said on principle he won't buy it again, that it isn't the same drink. He noticed the drop from 90 proof to 86 proof a few years ago but felt a line had been crossed this time. Personally I don't feel that way, and in fact, support the move for social health reasons, but I find it interesting that some people will take that view.

    Gary

  7. #7
    Administrator in exile
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    Re: JACK DANIEL\'S: LEMONADE NEXT?

    I am not of the mind that it is the distillery's resposibility to protect people from themselves. That said, I think if that were the underlying motive for such a proof reduction, the distilleries would mount an agressive marketing campaign to explain thier actions in an attempt to capitalize on them.

  8. #8

    Re: JACK DANIEL\'S: LEMONADE NEXT?

    Just for the record -- and represented by various posts on various threads here over the past several months -- JD started bottling the black label at 80 proof at the beginning of this year, and it has been in stores (at least here in TN) since late-winter, early-spring. Interestingly, however, the second edition of the TN-only (domestically anyway -- I think it's already been released in Europe) "Scenes From Lynchburg" -- distributed around July 1 -- remains 86 proof. Of course, it was already commanding a higher price tag because of its limited sales.

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: JACK DANIEL\'S: LEMONADE NEXT?

    But Jack is sort of an institution, Jeff, it may stand on a different footing from other drinks (almost all other major liquor brands are 80 proof or less, I believe).

    Also, even if the distillery did not intend a socially beneficial result (hence possibly lack of marketing on this point) the fact there is one is justification enough - IMO.

    Gary

  10. #10
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    Re: JACK DANIEL\'S: LEMONADE NEXT?

    What is "socially beneficial" about lower proof? If they're gonna get drunk, they'll just drink more. Its not like they've reduced it to the strength of something like wine.

    The only people for whom the change is socially beneficial are the owners of the distillery.

 

 

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