Thursday, April 17, 2014
COLA Watchers Beware
Since I'm no regularly posting news of new COLAs on the site, I wanted to make sure to state a few caveats that you should keep in mind when reading my COLA of the Week Posts.
First, as I've stated before, just because a COLA is issued does not mean the label will end up on the shelf. Sometimes a company submits a label and then decides against using it. Other times, the submit the label just to create a record of their use of the name for trademark protection. And for imports, label approval is just one step on the way to getting the whiskey into the US. Most labels do seem to end up on the shelf, but not all.
Second, there is a whole list of things on the label that companies can change without submitting a new label. The list includes changes to the abv, age statement and many other label components. While whiskey companies usually issue a new label for an age statement change, one of the most common things that gets changed without a new submission is the abv. In many cases, the abv on the COLA is just a place holder. I've seen labels that say 50% abv for whiskeys that are later released at cask strength. Given that, I would suggest taking the abv on a COLA with a grain of salt.
So have fun looking at the COLAs (more tomorrow!) but do keep these warnings in mind.