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The Bourbon Bandwagon

You've probably noticed by now that the latest YP liquor of choice is whiskey or bourbon, either because all of your colleagues are ordering it at the bar or because of the glass in front of you (it is Friday, after all). Could this recent shift catapult the spirit's popularity to prohibition-era proportions?

The coveted wealth, success and smooth persuasion of Don Draper are just a few of the ideals young professionals aspire to attain as they ascend the same rungs of career success as Mad Men’s alluring lead star. But is it possible that they’re also chasing what’s in his glass?

The LCBO recently reported that bourbon sales have nearly doubled in Ontario over the past five years, an indication that a recent spark has set off a snowball effect to revive the century-old spirit. 

We’ve increasingly seen our network of colleagues ordering whiskey or bourbon drinks at bars and lounges across the city and have noticed the oaky brown liquor slipping more frequently into dinner parties, as well. The shift which is heavily skewed towards the male demographic – has big liquor corporations on notice, with available bourbon brands on LCBO shelves nearly six times the amount has before 2006.  

Though there’s no denying Don Draper’s appeal on young professional consumer habits, a variety of factors have aligned perfectly to bring bourbon back into the spotlight. TV endorsements from both Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire in the last five years kicked off the bourbon bandwagon, followed by increased bourbon tourism (we’ve seen it first-hand) and a change in “what’s cool” – fashion, primarily – to nostalgic reflections of everything 60s. If you’re going to wear a military-style jacket or leopard print tights, might as well pair it with a “big and brown,” right? 

Do we think the trend will stick? Probably. It was never really a matter of not liking bourbon, the exposure and willingness to try it just didn’t exist. Try telling us one drink that carries the same sophistication and masculine aura that bourbon does. And ladies, if you really want them to look twice, we couldn’t think of a better way to do than with a Woodford Reserve on the rocks.


Notable Life

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