Ch-ch-ch cherry bomb

“Can cherry bourbon woo women without scaring off men?”

That’s the question posed by Advertising Age this week in a story about the increasing number of flavored bourbons, such as Jim Beam’s black cherry-flavored Red Stag, that hope to appeal ”to new drinkers such as women and millennials who like a little sweetness in their shot.”

Well. I can’t speak for millennials, but as a woman, I can say that I don’t need, or want, cherry flavoring added to my bourbon. If I want a sweet sip, there are plenty of cocktail options, not to mention bourbons that fill that bill all by themselves. As I’ve mentioned here before, I think Red Stag tastes kind of like a bourbon-infused cherry Icee – not exactly offensive, but not something I’d order over, say, a nice Manhattan.

What is offensive is the fact that even as bourbon brands court women with these new varieties, most of their ads target men, who are still seen as “the gateway” to bourbon, Ad Age says. The story quotes Rob Mason, director of U.S. bourbons for Beam: “In the world of spirits, if you’re marketing to men it doesn’t turn off or alienate women. (But if your marketing is) a bit more female-oriented, men begin to think that it’s not something that they want to drink.”

In other flavor news, Ad Age says Louisville-based spirits company Brown-Forman hopes to capture those with a taste for the spicy with Southern Comfort Fiery Pepper, a new version of its whiskey liqueur co-branded with Tabasco. It’s set to launch in October with tag lines including “Sometimes a burning sensation is good news.” I guess that appeals to men?

Read the Advertising Age story here.

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The Bourbon Babe

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