Kentucky’s Trademark Reaching Landmark Drink Sales
I have a friend whom I’ve nicknamed “Ice.” I gave him that nickname because when I met him, he drank Maker’s Mark. Kentucky Bourbon. (Ice is from Virginia. Yes, a Southerner.)
He would mix it with ginger ale. “Makers and ginger,” he would say when it was my round at the bar. He would have nothing but Kentucky bourbon, not Tennessee whiskey, not Scotch whiskeys.
It was his trademark, his calling card.
This was 3-4 years ago and nobody else I knew of at the time drank bourbon on a regular basis.
And as it turns out Ice was ahead of the curve, for bourbon is one of the hottest spirits in America right now.
Kentucky distilleries have recently spent $150 million to increase the size and scope of their operations. It’s a continual Kentucky Derby infield party for the makers of bourbon.
Once the drink of proper gentlemen, Bourbon is now the favored spirit of the young and thirsty. It’s trendy and in this day and age, that makes it popular. Check out all those Makers Mark and Jim Beam ads appearing on TV now, too.
To be considered straight bourbon, the product must contain at least 51 percent corn and be aged in proper barrels. The difference in Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, by the way, is that the latter takes one extra step: It goes through a charcoal filtering system. It’s slower and, the theory goes, produces a smoother product.
The popularity of bourbon also makes it tricky for bourbon distillers. In order to keep up with demand, they must meet the public’s current requirements. But what if this trend does not continue, if it fizzles out like the Dallas Cowboys in December? Bourbon is not beer; you just can’t make a lot more of it and put it in the market within days. It has to age for several years.
Even Ice has now cooled to bourbon. He’s now drinking vodka for the most part.
He got his nickname, by the way, for what that Maker’s Mark did to him after a couple of stiff ones. He’s always stoic, in control, like a large block of ice.
But what happens to ice when you pour bourbon over it? That’s right, it melts.
The bourbon distilleries are sure hoping today’s trend does not suddenly chill.