If you already thought it was a great time to be a whiskey drinker, get ready—it's about to get really, really good.
I say that not because whiskey today is better than it's ever been, not because of the industry's currently vast selection of new craft distilleries, and not because exciting young producers are popping up every day, adding depth and intrigue to the booming market.
And not for any other reason you might expect either.
Why is it a great time to be a whiskey fan, you ask? Because you're about to see what happens when an entire retail industry goes to war over pricing due to an oversaturated, overstretched, and overexposed whiskey market that's beginning to buckle under all that extra weight. I've been smelling blood in the water for months and every week that goes by the desperation to move product seems to get stinkier. The tension is now beginning to boil. All the sleazy deals and hidden skeletons that the major players have been attempting to sweep under the carpet are getting exposed.
Take a seat.
Get some popcorn.
You're in for a treat.
Things began to get interesting yesterday morning when one of the nation's largest retailers put in a formal complaint about our pricing on a particular spirit—one that was actually the result of temporary inventory reduction measures, rather than any actual deal or favorable treatment from the supplier. That little spoiled temper tantrum put into motion a series of further inquiries that shed light on other retailers whose below-wholesale pricing now has a number of other stores pretty upset. I won't go into the nitty gritty details, but if you understand business it's pretty clear what's happening. It's everything I've been predicting since I did my infamous "work is what's next" interview/blog post a while back:
1) the brands and distributors are under pressure to beat last year's numbers
2) there's no way in hell they can, however, because there's too much competition in the market now
3) the sales folk whose jobs are on the line eventually get desperate and cut deals they shouldn't
4) the promises made by the recipients to hold retail prices in line with competitors are immediately broken
5) all hell breaks loose as a result and the market gets flooded with crazy deals
6) things really heat up when retailers begin shedding inventory to recoup cash against that instability
Don't think this is a bad thing for K&L, however. Personally, I couldn't be happier! I absolutely live for moments like this. I love starting some shit, getting my hands dirty, going deep into the low post and knocking out a few teeth with an elbow before going baseline for the one-handed stuff. I'm predicting some pretty good deals for the rest of 2017. Whiskey drinkers are going to be thrilled, especially when I start dumping stuff at prices too good to be true.
As the late, great Eazy-E once said: if it's on, then it's on.
So let's get it on, guys. Let's duke it out and let the customers win. I can go all day and all night.