This may just be a one time thing…or then again, this could be a recurring feature. Given this country’s exuberant push to be as stupid as possible, it seems like a fairly easy thing to keep up. Then again, why would I want to? Not to mention, it’s just Twitter. Twitter is basically just one big over-valued platform for people to say stupid shit, how does one even begin to choose which stupid thing to recognize with some stupid recognition?
Ah well, at least it gives me yet another chance to poke around some whisk(e)y history. So without further ado, the first annual Stupid tweet of the Month award goes to Woodford Reserve for this bat-shit crazy head-scratcher:
See? Stupid. Blazingly so. Irresponsibly so, even. Here’s why…
Back in 1964, two congressmen from Kentucky introduced a little resolution that laid the groundwork for bourbon to be recognized as a protected, distinct product of the United States of America. It helped to define bourbon as it is in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 27, Chapter I, Subchapter A, Part 5, Subpart C, §5.22. For over half a decade now, bourbon manufacturers have relied on these standards to protect their product’s integrity, and to give consumers a relative guarantee of quality. They’ve also certainly relied on that little resolution to market their product, bourbon waves the red, white, and blue every chance it gets. It’s safe to say this resolution and the related standards have helped make bourbon makers money.
So, when Woodford Reserve decides to broadcast that they think bourbon is only made in Kentucky, they’re basically thumbing their nose at the standards that have helped their brand succeed since it launched in 1996. Nowhere in the 1964 resolution or in the Code of Federal Regulations does it say that bourbon can only be made in Kentucky. Bourbon can be made anywhere in the United States, as long as it adheres to the standards and regulations. Any serious bourbon fan knows this, and, one would assume, any bourbon maker would know this as well. I would think it’s widely agreed that these standards strengthen bourbon in general, Woodford Reserve apparently thinks the opposite. Yes, it’s probably just a simple, meant-to-be-fun tweet, but it’s also wrong. It’s blatantly false and pretty much celebrates some amount of ignorance. Why would a bourbon brand want to be seen as not knowing or caring about the standards it depends on? Why would a bourbon brand publicly try to marginalize its fellow producers? Why perpetuate a commonly held falsehood about bourbon? Does Woodford Reserve really think that a fun bit of factually wrong, petty provincialism would be a positive thing?
Ok, sure, Woodford’s twitter account it probably managed by some PR person…or a hapless intern, and maybe in the mint julep-fueled hype of the Kentucky Derby, they got carried away by all that regional excitement. Maybe they actually didn’t know that bourbon can be produced outside of Kentucky. Maybe they were just trying to funny. At the very least, it just ends up being a stupid, thoughtless, harmless comment. But in a day and age where ignorance is practically applauded and where, increasingly, the truth becomes the truth just because someone says so on social media, even a harmless little tweet like this does a disservice to their brand in particular and the bourbon industry in general.