Seagram’s Gin

I was always fascinated by Seagram’s Gin and at a recent lunch with a former production friend, we reminisced about the brand. I thought I would share that with my Seagram readers.

When I came to Seagram, the brand was selling at roughly the 3.3 million case levels. Thanks to Snoop Dogg’s Gin and Juice rap song, it grew to close to 4 million cases by the late 1990s. Today, the brand is still the leading gin but its sales are in the 2.5 million case range.

The product story of Seagram’s Gin epitomized the fundamental values of the company. In the commitment to quality and brand differentiation, someone way back when (perhaps Mr. Sam himself) decided that an American Dry Gin could be smoother and more tasteful if it were rested in charred oak barrels for 90 days. That resulted in a more expensive proposition and gave the product a pale straw color. Then, they decided to put it in an “ancient bottle” which evolved into the “bumpy” bottle the brand uses today.

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“Why are we more boozy?”

That’s the headline in a recent online posting on the Star Tribune (Twin Cities paper) website. Here’s an excerpt:

“Upper Midwesterners drink more. Could it be our northern European roots? The weather?”

The story goes on to report that Minnesota is one of the top 5 drinking states in the US. Experts point out that part of the explanation is that many residents in the upper Midwest are descendants from countries with high alcohol consumption. Another reason given, of course, is the long cold winters and indoor activity that goes nicely with alcohol consumption.

It reminded me of a story I heard from the late Jerry Mann about the adventures of booze salesperson in the upper Midwest. (See March 25, 2010 for another tale.)

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