A handful of New York state craft distilleries is launching a new, regional whiskey, “Empire Rye.” Bradley J. Rickard, an expert on economic and policy issues in food and beverage markets – and associate professor in Cornell University’s Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, notes that such industry-led initiatives are driven by the value that consumers increasingly place on knowing where a product is produced, how it is produced and where its ingredients come from.
“A group of distilleries in Upstate New York have recently decided to promote their products collectively under the brand ‘Empire Rye.’
“There is much evidence in agricultural and food markets that generic advertising provides a positive return on its investment. For example, there is growing evidence that consumers trust and value the appellation indicators used by wine-growing regions across the United States – known as American Viticultural Areas or AVAs, which provide information about the geographical origin of the wine. The value that consumers place on wine AVAs should extend to regionally produced distilled spirits such as Empire Rye.
“This new style of rye whiskey in New York will include standards for both the origin of the grains used in production as well as for the aging time that is required. There is a growing audience in New York and elsewhere that will be interested in this two-part package of information: Having assurance about where the ingredients come from and how the whiskey was produced.”