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No More Smooth Sippin' for JD
Buford's Big Bad Breakthrough

Cheerleader Beer Commentary and Raspy Rhetoric of a JD Junkie; 

All that Jack Daniel's Tennessee sippin whiskey represents is manly. It is the fusion of inner warmth on a southern evening with the company of men among men, whether in a bar or on a front porch.

In 1904, the distiller won a gold medal and recognition as the worlds finest whiskey in the Worlds Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. It went on to win similar awards in 1905, 1913 and 1914 at other competitions, marking its territory worldwide with the piss of its own brew.

But this golden-brown, musk drink of warriors and legends has become tainted; its contents watered down, along with its reputation, by a fire hose spewing the apparent demands of Generation-X.

In May, 2002, Jack Daniels' parent company, Brown-Forman Beverages Worldwide, introduced a drink on the market in cahoots with Miller Brewing Company. Together, they mimicked a drink, commonly known in bars as a Jack and Coke, bottled it up and shipped it out to retailers in September with hopes that it would take off in the new party scene. But in doing so, the company thrust its reputation of a porch pleasure or after-dinner drink to the roadside like one of its signature square bottles, wrapped in black as if ready for its own funeral.

In its place is a carbonated catastrophe with an inadequate bite and diluted malt. Now, the masculinity behind Jack Daniel's drink faces the challenge of losing its potency to women trying to be men and men trying not to be men.

The first subject in question would be the near-Amazonian woman, often characterized by an excess of body hair in comparison to the modern social norm. However, she doesnt hate men enough to avoid a manly drink and yet she cant avoid her cheerleader-beer roots. Shes drawn to the sweet that is so much like the sugar and spice and all other things that make her nice. But she yearns for the phallic nature of the drink and its paternal reputation. The drink is her source for the parts she is missing.

"Cola," as Websters deems it, is "an African tree with nuts that yield an extract used in soft drinks as medicine." Aside from the real-life application of this extract, the phallic undertones cant be ignored or denied.

Figure 1 (soon to come) further demonstrates how the subliminal message is carried across with the onset of the term "Hard Cola." The Amazonian can hold her drink and all its implications in her palm without pushing the boundaries of her anti-man sentiment.

But it appears the brewer is also attempting to compensate for something, or for the lack of something. It is if an understanding of the affliction brought on by this new brew is inevitable, as shown by the exclusion of the cola concoction from the brewers main website, www.JackDaniels.com, and the formation of an entirely separate website to promote the new drink, www.jdhardcola.com.

The new site is vastly different from the brewers main site, which depicts the down-home headquarters in Lynchville, Tennessee (home to about 350), and the old-fashioned stability that fostered the companys initial successes. The new site, created by Slingshot, a Texas-based company, squirts spunk, a pinch of pizzazz and a flurry of flair to come up with something so disturbing that old man Jack Daniel himself would need a drink of the hard stuff after seeing what has become of his creation just to calm his bones. Maybe two.

However, this site behooves the second subject in question: the "girly-man," as so aptly put by Hans and Frans of Saturday Night Live. It is here that the girly man finds comfortwhether it be from the "Come as you are" slogan rip-off of Nirvanas hit songs, or the "Backyard bartender" flash video game. After all, the website claims, "Some people are born with the grit, determination and natural ability to conquer the worlds most imposing physical challenges. Well thats fine because most normal people prefer to conquer video games." This video-game player is tantalized by the flavor of the site to the same degree as the "Hard Cola" defined above percolates those spunky underlying desires of his.

The creation of the drink and its effervescent advertising vehicle shows beyond doubt that Jack Daniel's legacy has succumbed to hype. But in doing so, the distillers parent companys stock has jumped 16 points on the New York Stock Exchange since the cola was introduced a year ago. This would be an indication that the move to the new market was a strong one financially, but at a cost to its reputation that has yet to be discovered.

But when an e-mail query (as no phone numbers are available online) presses the question, much of what is to come of this missing manliness is still left unresolved:

Comments: How does the company feel about introducing a cheerleader beer to the market with its Hard Cola malt beverage, and does it feel in any way as if it is compromising its integrity?

"Hello Xxxx,

At one time, we had Jack Daniels 1866 Oak-Aged Beer. Production and distribution of Jack Daniels beer ceased on Jan. 1, 1998. We have heard from a number of folks that enjoyed the beer, so we may try it again someday, but for right now, were sticking with what we know best making smooth-sippin whiskey!"

In the meantime, this attempt to change face of the 130-year-old company and its stunning reputation, while effective financially, fails the companys tradition miserably. After years of award-winning whiskey on which it was founded, the brewery has only to look forward to the success of the sexually insecure label of Jack Daniel's Original Hard Cola. The name is tainted beyond repair and can no longer stand proud among Royal Crown, Black Velvet, Wild Turkey, or Jim Beam. It must now muscle in on market share of its new cheerleader-beer competitors; wine coolers, Mikes Hard Lemonade/Tea, and similar ventures by Bacardi, Sky and Smirnoff. And somewhere in a grocery store aisle, you can bet some veteran drunkard stares, sober yet stupefied, at the new watered-down alternative.

This essay started as a joking letter to my brother and turned into a research paper. Sometimes I think I take this way too far...
 
 
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This page was posted on Oct. 27, 2003.