by Barnaby Hughes
Is the American whiskey industry becoming the victim of its own success? According to distillers like Buffalo Trace, producer of brands such as Blanton’s and Pappy Van Winkle, bourbon is currently in such high demand that shortages seem inevitable, despite an increase in production. Part of the problem, they say, is the many years of aging required to make a quality product. This means that production can’t be suddenly ramped up to satisfy demand.
“We are making more bourbon every day. Our warehouses are filling up with new barrels. Waiting for the bourbon to come of age is the hard part. While we wait, there could be temporary product shortages, even on favorites like Buffalo Trace, and Eagle Rare,” said Kris Comstock, bourbon marketing director at Buffalo Trace. Comstock promises that the company will not raise prices or lower product quality, whether by decreasing age or alcohol content.
Earlier this year, Beam Inc. announced that it would be weakening the alcohol content of its popular Maker’s Mark in order to stretch dwindling supplies. The reaction on social media was swift, leading the company to reverse its decision. Buffalo Trace’s recent shortage warning is likely intended to prevent such a public relations debacle.
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