Jack Daniels & Evan Williams Bottles

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Jack Daniels & Evan Williams Bottles

Unread postby BourbonBalls » Wed Mar 30, 2005 8:57 pm

I'm rather new to the forum, and this may have been answered before, but I have a question/observation.

It's a no-brainer that the Evan Williams 7 Year old and the Jack Daniels bottles look almost identical with EW having a longer neck.

:idea: QUESTION: Which came first, and who is copying whom? At first thought, I figured that EW was coping JD because JD is the best known and there are those that might just grab the EW off the shelf thinking its JD....but I know the marketers are probably smarter than that (are they?)

Its clear that EW is proud of their 7 years of aging (they should be) and put it right there on the bottle. Now, my research took me to the JD website where they show and explain their labeling with history etc. WELL, when it comes to the "old # 7" part of the label, even the website says it can't emplain the origin. SO....I think that JD is the copycat of EW.

EW 7yr is SO superior to JD and costs almost half the price. Wouldnt EW be better off developing a sleeker, cooler bottle much the way Old Forrester did not so long ago?

I'm just ranting.....EW is so good...JD so bad....EW deserves a better package!
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Unread postby cowdery » Thu Mar 31, 2005 1:48 am

EW is a JD clone, as is Ezra Brooks. There have been others.
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Re: Jack Daniels & Evan Williams Bottles

Unread postby Strayed » Thu Mar 31, 2005 10:07 am

Michael Hack wrote:... there are those that might just grab the EW off the shelf thinking its JD

:laughing5: :laughing9: :laughing5: There's a woman, the wife of a familiar contributor to this forum, who's husband once did exactly that, quickly and furtively buying two bottles of what he mistook for old 90-proof JD at a tiny backwoods liquor store, only to find his error upon unbagging them at home. Unfortunately, the woman's name is Linda (the "L" part of "L and J dot com"). :tongue:

Michael Hack wrote: Wouldnt EW be better off developing a sleeker, cooler bottle

As Chuck pointed out, EW (and Ezra Brooks, Virgin, Kentucky Rain, & probably Beam Black as well) were knockoffs of the very successful JD image. But your point is a good one: the whiskey has long outlived the need for user-confusion and could certainly stand on its own; why continue the copy-cat packaging?

Well, why'd you try it? There are other whiskeys out there that DON'T look like they might be half-price substitutes for JD, but you chose EW. So did I, long before I became a bourbon enthusiast. And like you, I made EW my normal whiskey mainly 'cause I liked it better (Beam white label and JD being the only other brands I knew then), with the price being frosting on the cake. But that label, with the paid-for-by-BrownForman advertising to support it, was a big factor in my trying it in the first place.

Actually, Heaven Hill is doing what you suggest already. It's just that it's their premium bottling of EW, the 9 to 10 year old "vintage dated" single barrel, that they're focusing their attention on. To good effect, too, as EWSB packs a pretty good marketing wallop on its own. Maybe it's better for us if they leave EW7black alone (and cheap) :D
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Unread postby bourbonv » Thu Mar 31, 2005 10:21 am

Copy-cat packaging is nothing new. It has been happening since the idea of "Brand Names" first was developed. In Evan William's and Ezra Brooks case the package not only looks like Jack Black, but they also emphasis their "Charcoal filtering". This is not the Lincoln County process - it is simply using activated charcoal in the filtering process, but the average consumer does not know that and think they are getting the same thing as Jack Black Label without the higher price.

Needless to say the law suits follow these copy-cat products. It Happened with Old Taylor before prohibition. Old Charter and Charter Oak after prohibition, Jack Daniels and Ezra Brooks in the late 50's and Woodford Reserve and Ridgewood Reserve in the 21st century.

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Unread postby gillmang » Thu Mar 31, 2005 12:31 pm

Personally the fact that some brands seem to resemble each other does not concern me. Almost always the resemblance is superficial and I think producers, while understandably interested to protect their goodwill built up in a brand, should be cautious before taking on a competitor for supposedly copying their trade name or design concept. There is an old expression, imitation is the best form of flattery, and the idea of putting out a superficially similar product is a trend seen in almost all consumer industries. There are trends that develop, often quite quickly and internationally, why e.g. do I see beef cheeks and other assorted meat oddments on restaurant menus across North America? Because it is the fashion, for whatever reason. And Jack was and is popular so some people put out dark-labelled bottles of liquor that may or may not have been intended to appeal to a customer who likes Jack but that is not the same as passing off such products as Jack Daniels. Jack is big enough to stand on its own and evidently does so very well without being concerned about apparent copy cats which there are not in any case, not as I define it. I think personally it was wrong for Brown Forman to go after Barton over Ridgewood Reserve, sure B-F had the right to do that and they got (on that occasion) a good result, but I think the market is a robust place and those legal actions are not necessary. Consumers are not dumb, they know there are trends in industries (fancy decanter bottles, dark labels, filtering, whatever) but they can tell one product from the other. I am not saying of course that true infringement situations do not arise, of course they do in all industries, but this is a relatively rare event especially today in such a transparent world. To give an example of what probably was passing off I read that before Prohibition, the famous Mount Vernon Rye Whiskey brand encountered in the market a whiskey named Mt. Vernon Rye. I believe litigation did ensue over that one. That is a completely different case though from instances where there is some superficial resemblance in packaging but no confusion can in fact arise about the origin of the products.

Quite honestly I can't see any real resemblance between JD and say Ezra Brooks or Evan Williams. To me they are different products and always were. I am not saying, mind, that the producers of Ezra Brooks or Evan Williams may not be trying to appeal to the consumer who likes Jack Daniels but that is different fom saying the consumer can be confused about the origin of these various products, I just can't see that being the case. By the way we have all bought products in a rush thinking it was something else. That is just human error and it happens, but for most buyers that is a rare event I think, most of the time consumers know what they are buying.

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Unread postby jbohan » Thu Mar 31, 2005 4:35 pm

Don't forget that the whole purpose of a square bottle is safety related. When you put it donw on the floor of your pick up truck it will stay right where it is so you will know where to grab it when you want another swig. If the bottle is round it will roll around on the floor and you will have to take your eyes off the road to find it.

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Unread postby cowdery » Thu Mar 31, 2005 4:37 pm

One thing this thread got me thinking about is wondering if Heaven Hill is making a mistake in generating its top shelf products from existing brands, rather than creating entirely new brands. I'm thinking about the success of Woodford Reserve, Knob Creek, Stagg, Booker's, Blanton's, Bulleit, even Barton's 1792, all top shelf brands without lower shelf counterparts. Maybe both approaches are good. Wild Turkey, for example, has taken an approach similar to Heaven Hill. Every Wild Turkey product says Wild Turkey on it in no uncertain terms.

One thing I predict you won't see is a top shelf product, whether wholely new or derived from a lower-shelf counterpart, with "Old" in the name. I guess Very Special Old Fitzgerald is such a product, but it isn't exactly setting the world on fire, either. This is one reason Beam hasn't invested anything in Old Grand-Dad, Old Taylor or Old Crow. The marketing types believe "Old" in the name is a liability.
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Unread postby Strayed » Thu Mar 31, 2005 10:51 pm

Uh, would that include Old Rip Van Winkle?
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Unread postby cowdery » Thu Mar 31, 2005 11:57 pm

Old Rip Van Winkle is a perfect example because you can see how Julian is moving away from it in favor of "Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve." "Old Rip Van Winkle" was something his father created after he sold Stitzel-Weller in 1972.

Conventional wisdom in the industry, which like conventional wisdom everywhere is neither conventional nor wise, holds that "old" is bad and "man's name" is good.
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Unread postby Strayed » Fri Apr 01, 2005 9:25 am

Oh GREAT!
I finally achieve the status of having BOTH qualifications for something, and they turn out to be "having a man's name" and "being old".
I just can't win.
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Unread postby Strayed » Fri Apr 01, 2005 9:36 am

I guess I should be thankful you didn't take the opportunity to include "blind" :lol: (per Boston and our hisssstorian friend)

I guess "blind"'s actually more of a blues buzzword than a bourbon one, though.
"Blind Jefferson's Prohibition Blues" has an appealing, authentic sound to it and makes you want to hear it.
"Blind Jefferson's Prohibition Bourbon" calls up an altogether different set of images, and makes you think, "I'll just skip that one, thank you."
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Re: Jack Daniels & Evan Williams Bottles

Unread postby bourbonv » Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:02 pm

I have been looking at some court cases from the Taylor-Hay family records and thought of this thread. Bottle shape, similar names, and even similar themes seem to be quite common in the industry. When Canadian Club first came out there was a huge growth in brands that were something"club" suchas Kentucky Club, Jefferson Club, Anderson Club, etc...

James E Pepper had to deal with both Old Oscar Pepper and R P Pepper brands that were not being produced by the Pepper Family. E H Taylor, Jr. had Old Kentucky Taylor to deal with. There was Old Charter and Old Charter Oak. There was Greenbrier and Greenbriar. The list goes on.

In modern times there is of course the examples listed by Michael Hack with Jack Daniels and Even Williams with John and Chuck's additions of Ezra Brooks and others. Rebel Yell brought about Johnny Reb and Johnny drum with the Southern Confederacy themes. And of course the infamous Ridgewood Reserve case from Barton.

Nothing breeds imitation like success.

Who is that "Strayed" guy anyway....
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Re: Jack Daniels & Evan Williams Bottles

Unread postby cowdery » Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:26 pm

Both Eagle Rare and Fighting Cock were Wild Turkey knock-offs.

There were whole companies built on knock-offs, with knocked-off brands in every spirits category.
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Re: Jack Daniels & Evan Williams Bottles

Unread postby Cory Phillips » Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:07 pm

Chuck, Woodford Reserve does have a lower shelf counterpart, Old Forrester.
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