Alcohol

Jim Beam Goes the Extra Five Percentage Points

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Beam Global Spirits and Wine is doing its part to control the epidemic of bourbon abuse among American teenagers. From now on, the company recently announced, it will advertise its products, which include Canadian Club whiskey as well as Jim Beam and Maker's Mark bourbon, only in venues where at least 75 percent of the audience is 21 or older. That standard is five percentage points higher than the cutoff recommended by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. Since "Beam's products skew toward older drinkers," as The New York Times puts it, there's little downside, even if the company does end up shifting around a few ads. At the same time, since Beam says "there is no causal connection between alcohol advertising and under-age drinking," by its own account there's no conceivable benefit from its decision aside from the P.R. value. As it turns out, this is just the sort of empty, self-contradictory gesture that can earn a company praise from 37 state attorneys general.

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  1. I just watched Spider-Man 1 and 2 on DVD and noticed the conspicuous Maker’s Mark product placement. Does anyone know if it also appears in 3? (I haven’t seen it yet.)

  2. > from 37 state attorneys general.

    It’s always a good blog post when you can work the phrase “attorneys general” in. It reminds me of an Onion story about a grammarian correcting a guy at Burger King for order “two Whopper Juniors” instead of “two Whoppers Junior.”

  3. So, in the armed services is it Brigadiers General, Majors General, Lieutenants General or Brigadier Generals, etc?

  4. ….tablespoonsful, grandsmother…

  5. > grandsmother…

    Mothers grand?

  6. this is just the sort of empty, self-contradictory gesture that can earn a company praise from 37 state attorneys general.

    Sounds like good ROI. Good call Jim Beam executives. I’m sure this will please the stockholders.

  7. babies grand

  8. Buy off the governor wannabes or pay the price. That’s pretty much par for the course, these days.

    Incidentally, Jim Beam is a nice bourbon for what it costs.

  9. I used to drink Jim Beam when I was younger, but then I outgrew it.

  10. I just watched Spider-Man 1 and 2 on DVD and noticed the conspicuous Maker’s Mark product placement. Does anyone know if it also appears in 3? (I haven’t seen it yet.)

    Yes, I do believe I saw a bottle of Maker’s Mark whiskey in Spiderman 3–didn’t realize that it was in other two, though.

  11. FYI, In The Punisher, Thomas Jane drinks Wild Turkey as his painkiller. Ah, so many types of whiskey!

  12. I didn’t know that they’d bought up Maker’s Mark which is a damn fine bourbon. Nice tour, too, but it’s a dry county so no samples.

  13. I bet they buy carbon offsets too.

  14. I personally tend toward Buffalo Trace rather than Maker’s Mark for my moderate-to-high end bourbon, but for your run-of-the-mill bourbon, I like Beam. And the Beam Traveller is a good choice for a float-trip or camping trip whiskey where you don’t want glass (or glass is banned).

  15. The hard liquor industry has evaded some cloying regulation in the past by getting ahead of the curve and enacting painless self-restricting changes in ad tactics and marketing strategy out of deference to the hysterical nature of American legislature. It has served them well, in general. This isnt unusual or unexpected.

    Part of this is specifically due to the rapid growth of brown liquor consumption amongst (lie)21-30yr olds/(truth)18-30 yr old males in the last 10 years. It’s like 6X the growth in other segments.

    I spent 6 years as a beverages analyst for research firm, now serve tobacco and liquor and soda & snack companies, broader CPG as consultant. This really isnt news. I dont recall offhand, but their issue is also the states, not just the fed, where there is much more diversity in regulation of liquor distribution/advertisement than federally. Some (13?) only sell booze in ABC stores and are pretty anal about licensing on-premise bars etc. where the real action is.

    Anyway. I went to school in the south and am a bourbon man, and have a Makers Mark Ambassador card dated 1996. I drink Makers every week, go for the rarer stuff on occasion, but it’s not always a big deal better for the $. Some people like the superpremium stuff for snob appeal. Wild Turkey is in my eyes still pretty good swill for the $. I did some specialty tastings recently and walked away kind of bored with the small batch stuff. Once you tune your palate, you tend to want just more of the same.

  16. Beam’s products skew toward older drinkers

    Hmmm, thought it skewed towards poorer drinkers, if memory from my college years holds true. That’s all I remember being around the dorm rooms.

  17. I strongly encourage all consumption of Jim Beam and related products, as my parents own stock in the company that produces it. (Irony: my paternal grandfather bought 50 shares of Ben Franklin Life Insurance stock in 1938. That company got bought up by Duke Tobacco, which became American Brands, which owned Jim Beam. When he died in 1978, the stock was worth something like $300,000. My teetotalling nonsmoking WCTU-member grandmother was kept out of nursing homes because of the dividends she received from that company, which, other than Titlist golf stuff and Swingline staplers produced primarily whiskey and cigarettes.)

    Of the Jim Beam cousins, I actually like Baker’s a little better than Maker’s Mark, although Maker’s Mark is pretty doggone terrific.

  18. Hmmm. Was sitting here sipping a Jim Beam on the rocks as I was perusing the thread. Being a cheapskate, I’ve tried a few lower-end Bourbons and/or Tennesee sour mash whiskeys. But after some unpleasant hangovers*, I’ve found it worth it to spend the extra amount to go with Messers. Beam & sons. Sure there are better whiskeys, but Beam is the best in its price range.

    *Yeah. Redundent. I know.

  19. I’m sitting here enjoying a Van Winkle 15-year-old myself, which I highly recommend. I’d be remiss if I didn’t pimp Old Pogue (oldpogue.com). The e-mail address will betray this as an inside job.

    (PS ~ I’m a semi-regular here, not a spammer. Don’t boot me, powers-that-be)

  20. B.P.

    Would that I had your income … or profligate disregard for the other necessities in life.

    Must be sweet.

    BTW, Beam makes a good rye. In fact, I think they make the ONLY rye near as I can find.

  21. I found this headline quite dissapointing. At first I thought they were going up to 90 proof. Not that I can afford Beam anyway. I rotate Early Times, Mohawk, and R&R.

  22. Of the Jim Beam cousins, I actually like Baker’s a little better than Maker’s Mark, although Maker’s Mark is pretty doggone terrific.

    Basil Hayden’s is the best of the family, in my eyes.

    There are so many wonderful bourbons out there — Jefferson Reserve, Blanton’s, Hancock’s, Booker’s, Black Maple Hills and AH Hirsch Reserve on the high end…

    In the middle there is Buffalo Trace, Bulleit, Knob Creek, Woodford Reserve, Maker’s Mark…

    And on the lower end, though still good for mixing is Beam and Wild Turkey.

    Oh, and Beam targets marketing more specifically towards target audience, looks better to public for it.

    Good work Beam.

  23. Jim showed up at my 18th birthday party. It should have worked out pretty nicely because it was him, Brian, and me. PLUS, Margie, Denise, Karen, Valerie, Lynette, and that one chick with the long dark hair who dated Brian for a while after that. Plus, Lynette’s parents were in Vegas.

    After I nearly blew my hand of with fire crackers (my birthday is New Years Eve) I ended up in the back yard with the Samoyed licking barf off my face. Tell you what, you boys can have my share of Jim Beam, five points down, or not.

    I ain’t too fond of the Reverend Jack Daniels, neither.

    Oh, and Gilmore. I got something for you and John.

  24. BTW, Beam makes a good rye. In fact, I think they make the ONLY rye near as I can find.

    Shirt:

    Old Overholt and Michter’s also make Rye

  25. ‘only in venues where at least 75
    percent of the audience is 21 or older’

    How the hell can they tell such a thing down to the percentage point? Are there age-verification thingies going on? Or does this mean they’re downplaying the obvious youth-oriented events like, say, Jojo concerts? (Disclaimer: I’ve never actually heard a Jojo song. I just like the name ‘Jojo.’)

    And where, demographically speaking, will the Menudo reunion shows fall? It’s all so temporally confusing.

  26. Shirt:

    I’ll do without food for good bourbon.

    Thumbs up on the AH Hirsch Reserve… while it lasts (limited run).

    Michter’s is good rye. Sazerac puts out a rye that’s good, too.

  27. As it turns out, this is just the sort of empty, self-contradictory gesture that can earn a company praise from 37 state attorneys general.

    Hey, 37 potential customers…

  28. I found a steal in bourbon – the plain Evan Williams bourbon is pretty harsh, but one of the PA state stores carries “Evan Williams 1783” for the same price. 10-year aged. It’s now my go-to whiskey. Not sold in every store.

    I tried the Jim Beam Rye (and liked it) because the internet tells me it is the closest modern product to the Monongahela “Whiskey Rebellion” style whiskey (though there may be some barrels distilled in the late 70’s/early 80’s in some bankruptcy consolidation inventory somewhere). I’ve occasionally thought about founding or restarting a whiskey rebellion distillery out in western PA. I imagine that it’d be easy to market to libertarians! But running a still is somewhat different than homebrewing, and I live on the wrong side of the state. There it is: my free-association tangent.

  29. For a good, and extremely smooth, whiskey, IMO you cannot beat Midleton (one “D”).

    Unfortunately, it costs $100+ for a bottle and a bar is likely to charge you about $15 for a shot. I’ve had it about four times in my life. But it was very good all four times.

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