Friday, June 3, 2011

WSJ on Jack Daniel's

For those of us who live in our own backwoods or don't give a damn about the corporate state that engineered a hostile takeover of US of A, Inc. somewhere along the way and and therefore don't subscribe to the Wall Street Journal (owned by an Aussie no less), here's a link to the WSJ article on why the JD distillery aka Brow-Forman changed the iconic black label on their whiskey bottle. (Well, that was a mouthful of a sentence.) 

No doubt the WSJ reporter enjoyed his boondoggle (see below), but all in all I think the JD flunkies like Mr. Eddy (whom I once met and was a nice guy and was enjoying life in a plush Nashville-area office) could have been pushed a little harder. Not that we're talking Whiskeygate mind you.

Conclusion: the mere mention of my book in the WSJ is cause for celebration so a little Jack is in order and at 12:21 PM I've made an executive decision to retire with a bottle for the day. Later I'll check Amazon to see if the 8-year old book cracked the top 500,000 rank in sales, although I imagine it'll be doing better in Amazon's used book market where I don't get a cent of royalty. (Thanks Mr. Bezos for your brilliance.) Now where's that bottle?

The Truth About Jack Daniel

A funny thing happened about a month ago: A Wall Street Journal reporter called me. It was pretty exciting because I'd been living in my pajamas and drinking more wine than I should have for several days during a boycott against life (meaning the lousy New England weather).

The reporter asked me, "Do you feel some redemption?"

I was like for what? Did I do something good, 'cause I don't feel good?

Apparently the Jack Daniel's Distillery had decided to change the iconic black label on their bottle. They were planning to remove certain statements such as JD being the oldest registered distillery in the U.S., the year it was founded (1866) and other marketing hooha. The JD folks were claiming that they were doing it to "clean up" a cluttered label. But how curious that they should be eliminating a couple "facts" that they built their marketing message around.

Why should I care? Because when researching my book, Blood & Whiskey: The Life and Times of Jack Daniel, I had discovered documents that offered irrefutable evidence that Jack hadn't started his own business (in partnership with local church deacon Dan Call) until 1875 and hadn't struck out on his own until 1877, and that there dozens upon dozens of distilleries founded prior, among other erroneous facts the corporate suits at JD parent company Brown-Forman had spun into their story.

Well, when I had brought this to the attention of the JD/Brown-Forman folks, they didn't want to hear any of it and I became a person non grata. Me posting fliers all around their corporate headquarters probably didn't help! Nor did my phone call to the Associated Press that resulted in a nice story stating my case. So what gives now? Why the label change? That's what the WSJ reporter wanted to know and was about to embark on a little gumshoe work deep in the woods of Tennessee.

Check out this article and you'll see the JD folks and Brown-Forman have been pretty cagey and evasive about why they're making the changes. We'll see if our WSJ gumshoe, who recently returned from the backwoods of TN, can get to the truth and whether I should indeed feel a sense of redemption.

photos: top is Jack with his men circa early 1890s and bottom is the man himself.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Book of Business Wisdom

The Book of Business Wisdom
Classic Writings by the Legends of Commerce and Industry

Looking to improve every facet of your business career? In the Book of Business Wisdom, more than 50 business legends, past and present, share their passion for excellence and their views on success in business. Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Edison vividly depict the personal qualities required for success; David Ogilvy and Jack Welch share secrets on leadership; Andy Grove and Sam Walton propound on good management; John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford explain the need for a gunslinger's spirit; and Peter Lynch and Muriel Siebert illuminate what it takes to succeed on Wall Street.

CLICK HERE to see this book at Amazon.