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Issue 41 - Casting an eye to the future

Whisky Magazine Issue 41
July 2004


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Casting an eye to the future

This month's debate looks at the future role of age statements on bourbons

The Panel
Frank Coleman, Senior vice president for public relations, Distilleries Council of the United States (FC)
Charles Cowdery, Whisky Magazine American correspondent (CKC)
Dominic Roskrow, Whisky Magazine Editor (DR)
Ken Weber, Global Brand Director, Buffalo Trace (KW)

The debate: What's the future for bourbon and what will influence it?

Q: Is the move to introducing older bourbons with age statements on the label a fashion thing or are we seeing some genuinely interesting products?

KW: As distilleries strive to produce higher quality products, the entire category will grow. I see it as a natural progression that will keep the category from becoming stale and out of touch with what consumers want.

CKC: There is always some element of fashion in new product introductions, which isn't necessarily bad, but there are genuinely interesting products in the mix too. Many of the extra-aged products now available really open up your mind as to how bourbon can taste.

DR: Yes, fashion isn't a bad thing at all. If you're bringing in 100 new drinkers and 95 move on as fashions change, that's still five new drinkers. And new trends are the way in which we progress, after all.

Q: Is there a danger that a mentality of ‘older means better' might creep in and damage the reputation of fine bourbon?

DR: This is the case with any whisky and it's the sort of untruth that needs to be dispelled wherever it arises. You hope and presume that anyone finding premium bourbon will get to kn...

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