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  1. #1
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    curious proof phenomenon

    after reading the "perfect proof" thread something started to occur to me. Brown-Foman claimed dropping the proof of JD was the result of market research. Supposedly todays consumer wants the lower proof Jack. Let's be honest here, we are talking about the youth market, mostly young men who buy into the whole "bad boy" image of Jack Daniel's. They want the macho image of drinking Jack but they don't want the high(er) proof or so says Brown Forman. OK, that's plausible. But there is one fly in the ointment. Walk down the isles of any liquor store and you can see a plethora of high proof schnapps with names like after shock, ice 101, and fire water, to name just a few. These drinks are not aimed at 30 somethings and up. They are geared to appeal to the younger crowd. And with names like "fire water", frankly they are designed to appeal to young men trying to act macho. Dare I say the same demographic that drinks most of the JD consumed on any given day.

    Why is it easer to find 100 proof schnapps than it is BIB bourbon?

    What say you?

  2. #2
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    Re: curious proof phenomenon

    It's all bullshit Brad. They did it to make more money (water is cheap), pure and simple.
    Joe
    Colonel Joseph B. "Bourbon Joe" Koch

    "Bourbon.....It's cheaper than therapy!!"

  3. #3
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    Re: curious proof phenomenon

    Well put, Joe. Half of marketing is bullshit. Obviously, JD is an established brand, but there are risks with reformulating product to cut production costs. Schlitz was the number one and two brewing company in the US (1950s into the 70s). When it remormulated its pale lager by adding more water, it was the death knell of the brewery. Marketing techniques abound: red wax, black leather clothes with a company liquor brand/logo, or a family heritage mystique--but those only go so far if the core product falls short on quality and value.
    Murf

    "...A good bowl of Wheaties with bourbon can't be beat." Dizzy Dean, The Gashouse Gang, 1934.

  4. #4
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    Re: curious proof phenomenon

    Quote Originally Posted by full_proof View Post
    Well put, Joe. Half of marketing is bullshit. Obviously, JD is an established brand, but there are risks with reformulating product to cut production costs. Schlitz was the number one and two brewing company in the US (1950s into the 70s). When it remormulated its pale lager by adding more water, it was the death knell of the brewery. Marketing techniques abound: red wax, black leather clothes with a company liquor brand/logo, or a family heritage mystique--but those only go so far if the core product falls short on quality and value.
    But I'm convinced that the majority of JD drinkers don't care much about quality, .... or taste. They drink it mixed with cola or something else or are more interested in the hard-core, "outlaw" image that is marketed.
    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."

  5. #5
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    Re: curious proof phenomenon

    Good point. Come to think of it, I haven't personally encountered anyone who regularly (and genuinely) consumed JD neat. Perhaps my "brewery" comparison to the risks of JD whiskey reformulation is misplaced (apples-and-oranges), especially if the Tennessee dram is usually mixed.
    Murf

    "...A good bowl of Wheaties with bourbon can't be beat." Dizzy Dean, The Gashouse Gang, 1934.

  6. #6

    Re: curious proof phenomenon

    I know the sales figures of JD and WT101 are not equivalent but many of the whiskey drinkers I know associate a similar image with each. However, JD is acceptable in social circles accustomed to vodka and rum/cognac, whereas drinkers of WT101 or other liquors over 100 proof are viewed as alcoholics by many vodka and rum/cognac drinkers. This is my insight based on observation and experience. My final insight, JD reminds me of original Listerine in color and flavor; I don't drink it.

  7. #7
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    Re: curious proof phenomenon

    Lower proof = lower taxes = higher profits.

    Catahoula

  8. #8
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    Re: curious proof phenomenon

    Precisely.

  9. #9
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    Re: curious proof phenomenon

    Quote Originally Posted by Catahoula View Post
    Lower proof = lower taxes = higher profits.

    Catahoula
    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    Precisely.
    Especially if you can still charge a fairly high price. And sell T-shirts. Ya gotta hand it to them, whether you drink their whiskey or not.

    Ed
    Bourbon makes me happy.

    Go Fighters!

  10. #10
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    Re: curious proof phenomenon

    There is now doubt Brown-Forman lowered the proof to save money on taxes as well as sneak in a price increase.

    Aren't taxes levied on a standard "proof gallon", a gallon of 100 proof distillate?
    The cost of taxes on the angel's share notwithstanding wouldn't the taxes on a bottle of 100 proof schnapps be the same as a bottle of BIB bourbon. So why do we see so many high proof schnapps. Perhaps it is easer to sneek by a drop in proof of whiskey, any whiskey, because of ignorance on the part of the average consumer. I think there are other factors at work that alow producers to drop the proof of their whiskeys and keep the whole thing, for the most part, under the radar.

    Shnapps with names like Fire Water 101 Obviously tout their alcohol content. If Fire Water 101 suddenly became Fire Water 80 more people would notice. But if Buffalo Trace suddenly decided to drop the proof of their namesake bourbon from 90 to 80 it wouldn't be readily apparent to most consumers save except for whiskey enthusiasts and inveterate label readers.

 

 

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