Come to think of it, it probably is your daddy’s bourbon. But thanks to the vagaries of marketing, it almost certainly isn’t your bourbon. It’s Old Grand Dad. For decades, Old Grand Dad was a nearly iconic presence on the American spirit industry landscape. Throughout most of the 60s, 70s and 80s, it was almost impossible to read a magazine without coming across an Old Grand Dad ad (one of which, from around 1980, is above). But it’s popularity wasn’t just the result of a clever advertising campaign. The fact is, Old Grand Dad has always been a consistently smooth, rich sipping whiskey.
And then, all of a sudden, gone!
Well, as it turns out, forgotten but not gone. Old Grand Dad is still very much with us. It’s made by Jim Beam Global Spirits, but unless you do some digging on Beam’s website, you won’t find it. For some reason, Beam seems to have decided not to market the brand aggressively at this time. Click here to see the brand page. If you check it out, you’ll find an interesting connection to a brand that’s become very hot in the past couple of years.
One theory is that as terms like artisanal, craft, small-batch and single barrel have crept more and more into the forefront of our spirit-buying consciousness, brands that don’t easily carry such labels have been pushed to the back burner. However, that doesn’t mean those brands aren’t every bit as good as they’ve always been. Suggestion: pick up a bottle for dad (and maybe one for grand-dad as well)—perhaps for father’s day—and see if you can tell what they enjoy more, the bourbon or the nostalgia. And who knows, if you can talk dad into letting you have a little taste, Old Grand Dad might just become your bourbon.