Booker’s 2014-2016: Round Table head-to-head

Booker's

Google “Booker’s” right now and you are most certain to find some rants and raves about the audacity of Jim Beam to raise prices.  You will find slams on Booker’s and promises to never buy it again.

I hear you.  I want to be able to buy the same great bourbon at the same old prices, just like my millions of other friends and growing.

But I’m not here to complain about prices. And I’m not here to defend them either.  Instead, I’m here to defend some really good bourbon:  Booker’s.  It’s wonderful stuff at $75 (yes I said it) and probably good stuff at $100 (yep, quote me on that).  It’s unbelievable stuff at $50 (I really don’t hear anyone disagreeing).

Ask Jim Beam, and they will likely tell you we are exactly the problem.  Our demand is increasing, yet we want to ignore the effects of that demand on suppliers.  I have a theory, or maybe just a concern.  If demand has truly increased for a product, it would be natural for a supplier to try to keep up with that demand by taking some slight corners on production.  If you can eek out just a few more bottles by reducing age, or by grabbing some less than perfect barrels for a blend, then you can stretch your supply, meet demand, and make a profit.  But at some point isn’t a consumer benefited by a reduction of supply, and increase in quality standards, and the resulting upshift in pricing?  Feel free to debate.

So how do Booker’s batches compare over the past few years?  Has quality suffered as Jim Beam sets out to satisfy demand? I set out to find out.  Without hiding conclusions (or giving any credibility to my theory), I’ll simply state that I hope that Jim Beam’s business plan for Booker’s includes returning to the glory of year’s past.

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