Today’s guest post comes from Rob Sharer from Atlanta, GA. Rob’s decided to weigh in with his thoughts on what’s behind bourbon’s recent success or in other words, ‘Why is bourbon on the rise?’
Have a look and let us know in the comments what you think of Rob’s work and if we should consider him for a regular contributor spot here at Bourbon & Banter.
The growth of Bourbon over the last five years has been amazing to watch. But to what can we attribute that growth to?
Here are a few interesting thoughts I have on this subject.
Influence from Television
Two of the most popular shows on television right now have plenty of drinking and feature bourbon.
Mad Men on AMC
Wildly popular show where the characters really enjoy their booze. Don and the Men of the show will usually drink a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned if there not just drinking their booze neat throughout the day. Due to the success of the show and a renewed interest in period cocktails AMC created a dedicated website to showcase cocktails from the show.
The Walking Dead on AMC
The Governor’s drink of choice is bourbon, which we see in many of the episodes of season 3. The most memorable one is at the end of episode 303 “Walk with me” as he is sipping on some bourbon looking at fish tanks. Bourbon good, but those fish tanks were bad.
Bourbon distillers have taken bourbon and added different flavor profiles. Honey, Cherry, Maple and Cinnamon are the main ones that most consumers recognize. These flavors may be good to entice people to try a bourbon. My opinion is that it’s not a true sample. These may be great gateway bourbons and whiskeys, but I would like a subtle hint of honey. I don’t want to feel like I just licked a honeycomb. Maple sounds great on the surface, but I did not like feeling like IHOP exploded in my mouth. The other innovations that most consumers have not seen are the bourbons finished in wine barrels. Port wine and White Zinfandel finishes are more muted, but are definitely there. Great place to start for anyone who enjoys wines. Distillers are adding smoke and double oak aging and the list could go on and on. All these innovation make purchasing something new trying at times. I feel as if I have to research new bourbons like I do buying a car. I don’t want to waste my time and money. I want to know what I am buying before I get there. If not I might be there for an hour pacing the aisles. The bourbon and whiskey market is growing exponentially and most of the time the employees at liquor stores cannot keep up with each new innovation. So you may want to read up a little before adventuring out. Bourbon & Banter is a good place to start! [Editors note: Thanks for the plug Rob!]
This is probably my favorite reason that bourbon is growing so fast. What other liquor is more versatile that bourbon? Here’s the proof…
Say I am new to drinking bourbon. I buy a bottle and head home to figure out if bourbon is for me. I can pour myself a glass and sip it neat. If that is too stout for me, then I will add a splash of water. Still too strong? I can add ice. If that doesn’t work I could add a cola or ginger ale. Next pour maybe I will make a cocktail since the others may have not worked. If I decide that bourbon and I don’t mix I could always use it to make desserts. A milkshake, brownies, cookies, a cake and the list goes on. I would be so bold to say, do you have that many possibilities with other liquors? No.
At the end of the day bourbon’s success comes down to one’s mentality. Each distiller wants to make a superior bourbon. 99% of distillers would like to make their bourbon more superior than their competition. They are all trying to make that “holy grail” of bourbons. Trying new methods of aging, adding new ingredients, etc. As a consumer it is exciting to see someone who wants to take their product from great and try to make it superior.
So who is the big winner in all this? We all are. Well…if you have the time to try them all. But that is a great problem to have.