Tempest in a (tea) pot (still).

According to a story in yesterday’s Telegraph US urged to boycott Scottish products after Lockerbie bomber’s release there is a movement afoot to “boycott Scottish Goods”

“US citizens are being urged to stop buying items ranging from Scotch whisky to kilts and petrol sold at BP-owned outlets as well as to cancel planned holidays in Britain to register their protest.”

I must point-out the obvious – that BP is based in London – a city which is NOT part of the Scottish empire. Yet.

While the large global Haggis conglomerates are worried, the Scotch companies aren’t phased at all.

And they shouldn’t be. I haven’t heard ANYTHING about this boycott movement – until I read it in a UK newspaper.

Is this a manufactured story? They point to an obviously amateur single page web-site called BoycottScotland <http://www.boycottscotland.com/>.

And best I can tell, THAT domain is registered out of Canada – So maybe this is simply ANOTHER Canadian plot to drive a wedge between the UK and the US.

I’m pissed about the guy being released, but i don’t see the usefulness of calling for a boycott – and have no expectation that this one will in anyway be even remotely successful. But it’s obviously a slow newsday around the world with the pick-up rate of the story  – but no evidence of any impact of this boycott.

Disclosure: I went to Syracuse University and had friends and acquaintances who died in that bombing – including a good friend from High School, Denice O’Neil.

Hey Canada

On behalf of the SWA, Glenfiddich wants to apologize to all of Canada with some free whisky.

OK, not really.

But Glenfiddich will be hosting a series of “exclusive private tastings” in and around the Canada metro area. Yeah, that’s a joke. I know Canada isn’t a city.

The first of these “Taste and Talk” events will take place on June 24th at Six Steps Lounge in Toronto.

Guests will have a chance to meet modern-day world explorer Colin Angus and taste a range of single malt Scotch whiskies from Glenfiddich, the most awarded single malt Scotch whisky in the world. Please see the evite below for more details on the event, Colin or the Glenfiddich brand.

I know the graphic is bigger than the site and is cut off, so right click and view the image in a new window, luddite.

Anyone interested in attending the event can RSVP to glenfiddich@ddbcanada.com to reserve a ticket – but do it quickly as space is limited for this exclusive event.

The Whole Scottish/Canadian Situation

I’ve basically stayed out of the debate over Glen Breton, because I think it’s silly and was a dumb fight for the SWA to pick.

My gut feel is that they had to see it through simply because they could not afford to appear to be picking on India over their use of Scottish sounding names, whilst letting the Canadians off with a free ride.

The biggest downside for the SWA is the potential for the Governments in countries where they are bringing action basically tell them to bugger off…which is what happened here. This reduces their moral high-ground and reduces their ability to pursue in other countries. These start to look like “nuisance suits”.

My friend Mark Reynier at Bruichladdich always has his own view on what is going on in the world of Whisky and, in this case draws the very keen connection that you can’t say you are attempting to save the world from confusion over names, while, at the same time creating additional confusion with the use of the unfortunate term “Blended Malt”. A term to which I have been a staunch opponent.

Pot Kettle Black
by Mark Reynier
The owner of The Glenora Distillery in Cape Breton is celebrating the end of a long legal battle with the Scotch Whisky Association.

Glenora Distillers International Ltd., won a major victory when the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear an appeal by the SWA that could have blocked the company’s trademark Glen Breton Rare. For nine years and through four levels of court challenges, the Scotch Whisky Association has fought to protect the Scottishness of he word “Glen”.

“We have no objection to the production of single malt whisky in Canada,” said the SWA’s David Williamson. “What is of concern, though, is any product that tries to take unfair advantage of Scotch whisky’s international reputation by adopting a Scottish-sounding name.”

Unsurprisingly the word “Glen” figures in an area colonised by Scots. Glenora, whose main product Glen Breton Rare single malt takes its name from its hometown of, er, Glenville, a small hamlet just south of um, Inverness – in, er, Nova Scotia.

Williamson said: “We’ve been working to protect Scotch whisky around the world for many, many years. There is evidence that the market was confused by [Glen Breton's] trademark. Consumers thought they were buying a Scotch whisky, but they were really getting something else.” So really no different in principle to the SWA’s own blatantly deceptive title ‘Blended Malt’ where consumers are apparently not at all confused as to whether they are buying a Single malt or a Blended whisky.

The legal costs have hurt the small company (no doubt an intentional tactic) and more costs may be on the way as the SWA sourly seek to continue the affair: “We’ll be opposing applications to register the marque in any country where confusion is likely in the future.”

Of course Glenora Distillers International Ltd does not need to register its trademark in every country that it wishes to trade in. Perhaps the company’s owner should trademark his own name instead – now THAT would really cause consternation: Scotts Single Malt Whisky.

More BIG changes at Glenmorangie – Breaking News

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

Today Glenmorangie announced some changes which equal the scale and scope of their recent repackaging/reformulation.

A two-year plan which includes:

  1. They are moving headquarters to Edinburgh. The existing Broxburn HQ will (apparently) be sold to Diageo. Does the bottling facility go with HQ sale? No word yet.
  2. Glenmorangie (Tain) & Ardbeg (Islay) distilleries will be the recipients of a combined £45 million investment.
  3. They are selling the Elgin-based Glen Moray distillery. Glen Moray is used primarily for Blended Scotch whisky.

This heralds the 2nd step in LVMH’s move away from commodity blended whisky and firmly entrenches them as a premium Single-malt only concern.

Independent Bottler, Eh?

I recently had a chance to chat with Barry Bernstein of Premium Bottlers- Canada’s first and only Independent bottler.

The company was formed by two enthusiasts who were frustrated with the limited quantity of Single Malt Scotch available on the Canadian market.

The IB and Canadian Liquor Law

You are likely familiar with the concept of an Independent Bottler (or IB) who sources casks of whisky (usually, but not always, fully matured) from brokers or directly from distilleries. They then bottle, label and market the products – usually to specialty shops, you seldom find them in your corner liquor shop.

PblabelThese casks are often – but not always, hand selected by the IB and usually, but not always, bottled as “Single Cask”

Canada’s “interesting” liquor laws create special problems for a company like Premium Bottlers – the interesting law I am talking about dictates that a spirit marketed by Canadians must contain at least 1% of spirit (not necessarily whisky) which has been produced in Canada.

Continue Reading >>

Your Dad was not a fag. But apparently you are.

Canadian_club_your_mom Canadian Club, a product of Beam Global Spirits* is about to roll out a new ad campaign.

The concept of the campaign? Your Dad was much cooler than you are.

Yep that’s right – they are saying it’s cool to drink whisky BECAUSE your dad drank it, not despite it.

They are also saying that your Dad was probably more of a man than you are.

According to the press release:

The thought-provoking campaign challenges consumers to embrace their dads classic masculinity, most visibly expressed through their choice to drink Canadian Club whisky cocktails. In launching Damn Right, CC invited Beam Global employees to search through their photo albums to submit images that epitomize the campaign.

Eh. I’m not buying it.

The message I get from the attached ad? Your Mom likely wasn’t your Dad’s last either. <click on the picture to read the ad>

Some of the headlines created for the ads (seriously):

"Damn Right Your Dad Drank It"
"Your Dad Was Not a Metrosexual"
“Your Mom Wasn’t Your Dad’s First”
"Your Dad Never Got a Pedicure."

I always try to be helpful, so I thought I’d offer up some more "Dad was awesome" ideas for future ads:

For the "Dad was tougher than you" ad placement

  • Damn right your Dad never wore a seat-belt.
  • Your Dad was twice the man you’ll ever be.
  • When your Dad was your age a DUI was expected.

For the "Dad was a sex machine" ad placement

  • Your Dad didn’t use condoms when he was in Saigon.
  • Before Paternity Tests.
  • Damn right your Dad was getting more than you – DESPITE the leisure suit and side burns.
  • Ah, the days when STDs could be cured with penicillin.

For the "Things were just plain better back then" ad placement

  • When men were men and cars got 3 miles per gallon.
  • You Dad never picked up maxi-pads on his way back from picking the kids up from Soccer*
    • *And your Dad never picked the kids up from Soccer
  • Your Dad never had to cuddle.

For the "Misogynist" ad placement

  • Daddy only hit Mommy because he loved her.
  • Dad didn’t call it "Date Rape" it was just a "Date".

Ad sites like Adrants are loving the campaign:

Are we seeing a full-on return to the glory days of the hard liquor
cocktail when beer was for factory workers and wine was for sissies?
Can we now go back to the three martini lunch, pinch asses in the
afternoon and have three more martinis at night while watching Mad Men?  We might not get any work done but it sure sounds like fun.

Adrants also reports that the campaign was created by BBDO and ads will appear in Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Sporting News, with additional placements in Playboy, Men’s Journal, Esquire, Outside and Men’s Fitness in December and into 2008.

Well it IS a different approach.


* Disclosure: I am a shareholder in Fortune Brands, parent company of Beam Global