I cannot attest to the fact that Uncle Bucks had a specialized Templeton Rye Bar inside their establishment, because I have never been there. But, yesterday’s Des Moines Register ran an article about Uncle Bucks, or the owner Tom Baldwin’s, decision to change the name of the bar to Jack Daniel’s from Templeton Rye due to demand concerns. According to the article, customers “yelled” at the bartenders when they were told they were out of Templeton Rye whiskey.
Now, if you don’t know, Templeton Rye is a whiskey that is made right here in Central Iowa; Templeton, Iowa to be exact. The business goes back to prohibition, but the current ownership started in 2001 out of a conversation over (what else, whiskey) during a holiday season. That conversation kick started the brand and after a few other pieces fell into the puzzle everything was put into place. Whiskey takes 4 years to make, if done right. So, in 2001 the owners made what they thought they could accurately project for four years out and the process continued year after year. What the owners could not project, or expect, would be the overwhelming growth and demand Central Iowan’s have for a Central Iowan product. I know you are starting to put two and two together here. The whiskey that is not on the ‘shelves’ at Uncle Bucks today was made in 2005. Thus, the product is just not there, but Templeton Rye made the adjustments in 2005 to accommodate for the growth and fully expect a vast increase in product after the spring of 2010.
Ok, now back to my point. Uncle Bucks is screwed, they don’t have Templeton Rye to sell to their customers. I get that. But, wouldn’t it have made more sense to do something other than switch the name of the bar to a product NOT grown in Central Iowa? I have to imagine customers enjoyed the bar and its libations because of the brand recognition and a little ditty The Nada’s play pretty regularly. The bar was special because of the affiliation with a Central Iowa product and the customers understanding they were supporting one of their own. What are customers given now? A Jack Daniels bar. Gee, where have I heard of this concept before? Where is Jack Daniels made again? I would be interested to see if as much Jack flows out of this new bar as Templeton did (or didn’t) in the past. According to the article Bucks was going through “16 bottles a weekend” of Templeton Rye, when was the last time they sold 16 bottles of Jack?
The decision to switch the name of the bar was not made with any brand consideration in mind; rather they were sick of getting “yelled” at. They reacted to customer demand without actually considering the implications of switching the name from a product grown right here in Central Iowa. I am sure there were many other options Baldwin could have made that would have kept his bar out of the ‘news’ and on this Blog. Too bad he chose the wrong one and decided to feature a product not made in Central Iowa.