Welcome to Part 4 of our 4-part series exploring the question, "Is Bourbon Broken?". Make sure you read Part 1 – The Consumer Problem, Part 2 – The Secondary Problem and Part 3 – The Distribution & Retail Problem before proceeding with Part 4, as the posts are meant to be read in sequential order.
A FINAL ARGUMENT
I think that one final argument that can be made as to why bourbon is broken, is that consumers keep paying ridiculous prices at retail stores for bottles of extremely young or sourced bourbon from a myriad of new brands. You can’t honestly tell me that you are thrilled when you see a new brand announced and their MSRP is over $150. Come on people, 13 year old sourced juice in cool bottle designed by a former shoe company executive is what you just have to have? Really?
You mean to tell me that the new local distillery that is selling their two year old juice for $50+ is better than the tried and true big brands that are sitting on the shelves of your local retailers for half the price? No way. I’m all about supporting local, but the product needs to be good for me to want to drink it, let alone buy it again. But people are apparently buying the stuff and contributing to the insane pricing practices that drive up the entire industry. I know it’s expensive to source your juice from MGP, have it bottled, and get it to market via your distributor. But there is no way you can honestly tell me that local brand X is double the price better than options like Elijah Craig, Old Grand Dad, Maker’s Mark, or Buffalo Trace. Hell, you can even get 10 year old Russel’s Reserve for $30-$40.
But some of you continue to pay double for stuff that is just not good. Until we stop chasing things like 7-year-old sourced finished rye for $180, I’m worried that nothing will change and this thing we love will stay broken. This is where the bourbon community has the most power, just because it’s new on the shelf, doesn’t mean it is good or worth the price they are charging. We can all do our part to help fix this. If customers don’t buy overpriced product, the product either goes away or the pricing comes back to reality. In the end, you should buy what you like to drink.
"But some of you continue to pay double for stuff that is just not good."
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do you feel the same? How can we fix it? Am I totally wrong and this is the best time ever to be a bourbon fan? Do you have any other thoughts or problems that I’ve missed?