This past June, the Alcohol and Drug History site had an item about bourbon distillers attempting to market their product in a similar fashion to wine. The history of bourbon in America is one of a small minority trying to fashion a distinct identity. Ninety-five percent of the country’s bourbon is distilled in Kentucky. For the past ten years there has been a Kentucky Bourbon Trail, modeled on wine tours and trails in other parts of the country, particularly Napa Valley.
Now micro distillers, also known as artisanal distillers, are trying to market their product as distinctive and build up their image in a similar fashion to craft brewers. There are sixteen licensed artisanal distillers in Colorado and 170 nationwide.
All of these marketing attempts are part of a larger phenomena in the American economy which seeks to create recognizable commodities with a specific identity. Coffee, tea, bread, cheeses, and whiskey are all products that very large companies manufacture. Sometimes the companies have a lot of brand name recognition. Bud, Kraft, and Lipton are some examples. However Americans seem to want the producers of these products to be recognizable individuals who distill whiskey or make cheese on a much smaller scale.