Jack Daniel’s Challenging Competitors to a Branding/PR Fight


Meanwhile around the cooler in the break room…

If you fancy an adult beverage, odds are you have imbibed in a high ball glass full of Jack Daniel’s burning smooth, corn-based recipe. And now that the 148-year-old, Tennessee-based whiskey distillery has a proprietary face and taste in the beverage industry, they want to keep it that way.

And so, Jack Daniel’s is taking the competition to court over the term “Tennessee Whiskey.” Because they can, in case you were wondering.

This legislation has ruffled many the feather in the Appalachians. Said rivals, some with their roots in ginning up moonshine in the foothills, Jack Daniels wants to lock them out of a booming business.

In a battle of two global giants of liquor distribution, Diageo versus Brown-Forman [owner of Jack Daniel’s], Jack Daniel’s wants legislators in the state capital Nashville to implement clear standards on what spirit can wear the “Tennessee Whiskey” label.

Only in Texas
Only in Texas

It’s called “monopoly.” You remember the game where you buy up everything in sight, don’t trade with anyone, and force everyone to extol your greatness as the competition always parks in our damn hotels? (Sorry, I got a little personal. Note to self: Call your sister.)

According to the story in Yahoo! News, Jack Daniel’s wants to make a standard in the bourbon industry — theirs.

Establishing the pro-Jack Daniel’s definition amounts to “effectively reversing the flexibility that has been enjoyed for more than 130 years by Tennessee whiskey distillers,” said Guy Smith, Diageo executive vice president for North America.

“Diageo is willing to consider a standard for Tennessee whiskey,” he said.

“However, it is imperative that standard be reflective of the collective input from Tennessee whiskey distillers large and small, not just from one oppressive company as is currently the case.”

Many aficionados of the booze are screaming #PRFail because this suit smacks of corporate tycoon blasting everyone else, but if you ask the distillery, it’s branding and establishing a standard. Again, theirs.

“Not any kind of sparkling wine can call itself champagne,” said Jeff Arnett, the master distiller at Jack Daniel’s. “By maintaining a production standard, champagne is held in a higher esteem as a higher quality product … It does not mean that all champagnes will taste the same. It is the same for cognac or armagnac.”

Standards. Branding. PR. Whatever they call it, this is all about protecting profits. And who can blame them? Cheers!