I am working on an inventory of scrapbooks transferred to Special Collections. One collection of scrapbooks transferred was put together by the Filson during the war with each scrapbook focusing on Kentucky and the war. An interesting article I found today was about whiskey prices in June 1943. The government had set a price ceiling on brands of spirits. This article discusses the fact that new brands were being sold at higher prices. They were breaking the O.P.A. regulations.
The distilleries pointed out that most of these new brands were mostly blends, created to make existing supplies stretch further since nobody knew how long the war would last and until it ended, the distilleries were not making spirits for consumption. The alcohol was being made for the 5 new synthetic rubber plants built in Louisville. After the war ended and 4 years later, there would be supplies of bourbon and rye, but until then, the existing supplies needed to be stretched. Interesting enough, Scotch whisky was available because the British government needed the american dollars more than the alcohol for the war, so Scotch supplies continued to pour into the United States.
Anyway, since the new brands were not on the O.P.A. lists, their prices seem to be higher than existing brands and the government was looking into it to see if price gouging was involved. The lawyers for the distillers were suggesting in the article that the prices for new brands should fall into the same categories as brabds that were similar styles of whiskey. They seem to suggest that if there was a violation of the law it was simply a temporary mistake compounded by the distributer and retailer of the product, because that was the way they were already pricing the product from the distillery.
Now, the question to asked is why new brands? The answer is simply to protect existing brands. The distillers may not have had a blended whiskey in their portfolio and yet to stretch stocks, they were going to have to create a blend. Rather than turn their main brand into a blended product, which would cheapen its image, they would create a new brand to sell during the war.
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873