With all the talk lately about non-distiller producers and the lack of transparency in the whiskey industry, I thought I would try to help out. Below, at absolutely no cost, I have provided some labels that whiskey companies can use to try and be completely truthful with their products. Just cut and paste the text to the back of your whiskey label and you will be on the road to a more honest and virtuous marketing strategy.
Label 1: Sourced Whiskey
We should have thought this through more, but we didn't. The truth is, we have no idea what we're doing. We thought it would be fun to start a distillery but we have no idea how to make whiskey so we bought some. We wanted to get something special, something made to our specifications using our preferred mashbill, but the market is tight, and it turns out that whiskey is expensive, so we just bought the cheapest stuff we could find and then watered it down as much as possible to take the edge off. We put a cool picture on the label which refers to our state's proudest landmark to distract from the fact that it's two year old whiskey from Indiana. If enough people buy this whiskey we'll probably give up on distilling altogether because why bother if we can sell two year old 80 proof whiskey for $40 a bottle.
Label 2: White Whiskey
The product you are about to purchase is a handmade, artisan product made by two innovative pioneers who want to change the world of whiskey, but it sucks. You see, we had all these ideas about making the greatest whiskey ever, but we had to take out second mortgages on our houses, and our investors are calling on a daily basis, and we can't even pay the phone bill at this point, so we have to sell something. So, please, please, buy this unaged crap. You'll never drink it, but it will look nice on the shelf. Maybe you can make a cocktail with it or unclog your drain. Hell, we don't care what you do with it. We just need money like really, really fast. If enough people buy this crap, maybe we'll be able to afford to buy some barrels to make some actual whiskey.
Label 3: Large Scale Marketer
We think you're an idiot. No, we know you're an idiot. You see that guy with a beard on the label with some ridiculous sounding name like Ezekiel BeJesus. We made him up. Completely. And then we drew a picture of some old dude with a beard. We don't even know where this whiskey came from...and we don't care. We pay a bottler who buys the whiskey from the distillery or maybe from another bottler. Whatever. We pay them to bottle it. Then we pay a design firm to design the label and tell a story about how Ezekiel BeJesus was an old timey outlaw or some such shit, and then we slap on the label, and it ends up in a supermarket to be purchased by the lobotomized chimpanzees that are our customers. Oh, and if you like it, please try the cinnamon and banana flavors.
I'm hoping some companies will take up my offer and use these totally honest labels as their first step toward whiskey industry transparency.