Saturday, November 26, 2016

Jim Beam bourbon changes up its look

Front and rear comparisons
When you're No. 1 in the world, you make changes very slowly, if at all.

Think back to 1985 and the Coca-Cola company's disastrous tinkering with its success when it introduced New Coke and wound up quickly retreating in the face of public uproar, plummeting sales, and the realization that meddling with overwhelming success is ill advised.

Today, we look at a change just introduced by Jim Beam, the top-selling bourbon in the world. In this instance, it isn't a recipe change. It's a new package, one I first noticed locally today when I popped in to my favorite spirits shop to stock up. (Note: Pay no attention that in the accompanying images my old bottle of Beam is nearly empty. It's just an illusion.)

The change had been announced in June, but has been rolled out sporadically in various markets as older inventory was being sold. The familiar white label is the same, but the 1.75-liter bottle has been entirely redesigned. It's taller, slimmer, and sports a black cap and neck label compared to the familiar white topper. It still has a handle incorporated into the bottle itself, but now rather than a curved, four-sided design, it is finished with a curved, triangular design below the graceful neck. Other changes include sharper distiller portraits and a refined “rosette” logo.

Products in the premium portfolio, which includes Jim Beam Black, not only feature the new bottle but premium label enhancements including extra fine detailing, crafted borders, foil finishes, refined embossing and a paper matte stock. The premium bottles also include matte finished shrink sleeves along the closure. The difference in height between the old and new bottles presents a bit of an optical illusion, but the contents are the same amount.

“For seven generations and more than 220 years, Jim Beam has prided itself on going above and beyond to create the world’s finest bourbon, and we’re thrilled that our new premium packaging now even better reflects the quality and heritage that goes into every bottle around the world,” said Tim Hassett, president, Americas at Beam Suntory, the Japanese company that owns the brand. “We’re continuing to make history in 2016 with one of the most ambitious and far-reaching efforts ever made for Jim Beam. We look forward to continuing to drive the unified brand presence around the world with the upgraded packaging.”

And, Fred Noe, seventh-generation master distiller and a great-grandson of founder Jim Beam, said, "I’ve always been proud to see the faces of every Beam master distiller displayed on Jim Beam bottles across the world. These bottles feel even better in my hands when I pour the world’s finest bourbon.”

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