Angus Winchester posted this picture on his facebook and it got me thinking.
First, I thought, I wish I was a troubadour, traveling the world, spinning lyrical on the wonders of Chartreuse, sampling and mixing fine drinks. Most importantly stumbling across delightful little gems like the three experimental bottles pictured above. They come from the Buffalo Trace Distillery, two are whiskeys, aged in Zinfandel barrels, for 6 and 10 years respectively; the one on the right is a 17 year old rum, something of a peculiarity for a boutique Bourbon distiller. There was obviously something unusual in the water running through Franklin County in the early 90’s.
For a good ten minutes I hated Angus, the envy of this discovery lingering in my throat like the finish on their whiskey. Then as I thought about it more, I decided there was something worth writing about here.
For a long time, alcohol brands were products. A consistent, reliable spirit that could be tried again and again, shipped in quantity around the globe. The experience was as much about the local you were in, glass in hand as was where the product had come from.
The google culture we live in now has changed that, search, and the value we place on finding out the story has led to a proliferation of special, crafted brands that succeed through word of mouth and the advantage of their scarcity.
These experimental editions of Buffalo Trace amount, to me at least, to great branding. Brand is no longer about the product, but about the connection and showing the passion and creativity of the team at the distillery builds another channel of communication to the core audience. It’s not trying to be better than their core offering and in my view it only increases the value of the standard product.
I only hope more producers take note of this and start to share little gems of thinking and love.
I’ll certainly write about anything like this.