ichoosecake asked: Not trying to have a fight here just having a discussion right? The writer is recognized as the foremost whiskey reviewer in Canada and many other whiskey luminaries including Chuck Cowdery and John Hansell have also chided rebottlers for deceptive advertising. I enjoy both High West Products and Whistlepig. I just wish the latter did not go to such lengths to mis-lead their customers.
Haha, of course! I’m glad you challenged me to look into this again. I must admit before today I hadn’t payed any attention to WhistlePig since right before it first came to market in 2010. I tried it just once, at a seminar given by Dave Pickerell at the Great American Distillers Festival in Portland, OR.
At that time, he was completely up front about the Canadian sourced whiskey, telling the story about how the Canadians are making the best rye spirit available… He also said it was the only rye available (in quantity), all American stock already being dedicated and in high demand. So, he’s convinced rye is the next big thing since people in the industry were already scrambling to secure future supplies. Yadi, yada, he served us some samples and it was fine. I didn’t see a problem looking at the bottle:
Being in the industry, especially the “craft” industry, I was well aware of the label regulations and noted the “bottled at” rather than “distilled at” statement. So, I thought everything was fine and dandy. Shady, sure, but that’s the law - it’s in the books. If people have problems with that, they can blame the legislation or maybe the big distillers lobby (DISCUS), not these new independent guys.
However, as I have learned tonight, the company has been claiming it is “American whiskey,” and trying to confuse it with “local” products. As heard on this radio show promo linked below, representative of the company and master distiller, Mr Pickerell himself, says nothing at all about the whiskey being made in Canada and lets the hosts and audience go on believing it is a completely “local” product:
I also found this magazine ad:
So, yeah, they’re doing everything legally, but misleading the public through advertising… although I do feel a little naive when saying that aloud - don’t we already expect that to be the case with most companies? (And the best we can expect out of our politicians.) Maybe not.
Just to further underline the gross obfuscation going on, here is a comment from another representative of the company:
In response to your post, as WhistlePig’s Minister-in-Vermont, I would bring to your consideration the fact that WhistlePig has never denied the unique origins of its rye. Found through the proprietary connections of Dave Pickerell, who served for fourteen years as Master Distiller for Maker’s Mark, one of America’s most storied brands, WhistlePig represents an accident of history. Unaware of the solubrious libation in their possession, it took the unique eye for talent, at which American’s excel, to bring this to you, our fellow Americans, WhistlePig Whiskey.
Daniel Khan” - From this article
And even then he wouldn’t say the word “Canada,” but refers to “unique origins” and “an accident of history.” Ridiculous, now I see why the Canadians are mad! Canada = an accident of history?