Quantcast

Monday, February 4, 2013

114

Your Next Billion Dollars

Several years ago, a friend of mine was at a charity event for which Sidney Frank was the guest of honor. Frank, made fabulously wealthy as an alcohol baron, related the tale of his greatest personal triumph: Jägermeister.

Prior to Frank's efforts (including vigorously encouraging partnerships with metal bands), Jägermeister was an extremely obscure and vile concoction, drunk almost exclusively by middle-aged and elderly German and Austrian men out of the misapprehension that it would help their digestion, and commonly referred to as "liver glue."

When you look at Frank's achievements in the world of alcohol, it seems like either he was a genius, or that everyone else was useless:

The big time came around 1950 when we bought a Scotch plant in Scotland, and the distiller called up my father-in-law and said, "You have two executive vice presidents getting drunk every night; bring them home and send your son-in-law over." Well, I went up to the plant in Glasgow, and it was producing a million gallons of grain whiskey a year. I didn't think that was much because some of our plants in the States would do 10 million gallons. And so I watched very carefully, and I said to the distiller, "I notice you're only distilling twice a week. Why is that?" He said, "It used to be law." I said, "Is it still the law?" "No." "No? You mean you can distill seven days a week?" "Yes, but my instructions were to do what was always done." So we began doing seven days a week and increased production from one million to three million six. It cost a dollar a gallon to make, and you can sell it for $5 a gallon. That's $10 million and we only paid $13 million for the company. So I was a big hero.

Frank, after his success with Jägermeister, turned his hand to vodka: "The nice thing about vodka is you make it today, you sell it tomorrow; even Jägermeister is aged for a year. So you don't have to put your money into buildings and machines and warehouses. Just make it today, sell it tomorrow." He then went on to create both Grey Goose and the idea of...just charging double for it, not that people in the business enjoy admitting it's as simple as all that:

Of course, when I suggest to an SFIC vice-president that vodka is by definition odorless and tasteless, and thus one vodka couldn’t be much better than the next, his face goes tight. “That is a dinosaur statement,” he says, speaking slowly, then lectures me on water- filtration processes and Champagne limestone and special grains and such.

It's kind of a beautiful story, when you think about it, right? That you could make a zillion dollars first by taking a gross German drink selling literally 500 cases a year and telling American college students it was SO gross as to be cool, and then another zillion dollars by taking a tasteless clear liquid and convincing affluent people it was superior to another tasteless clear liquid. What I'm saying, I guess, is that you should marry into a wealthy family already in the business of importing booze, and then just try random crazy things in hopes that being all Forrest Gump about it will result in money beyond your wildest dreams. Go forth!

114 Comments / Post A Comment

ms. alex

I have some Jägermeister in my freezer that a friend left behind accidentally on purpose. Anyone interested in taking it off my hands?

FulanaDeTallcan

@ms. alex Ooooh me! This might sound crazy but we use Jagermeister (and other anise flavored liquor like aguardiente & anisette) in religious ceremonies. My peoples like to party with God, I guess?

ms. alex

@FulanaDeTallcan I should warn you that there isn't very much left. A valiant effort was made to finish it off, but there's still probably five shots left.

Dirty Hands

@FulanaDeTallcan Who are you? You anisette in religious ceremony people?

Miss Maszkerádi

@FulanaDeTallcan I am super curious as to what religion this is, if you don't mind sharing!

FulanaDeTallcan

@ms. alex Hmmm, then maybe we should drink it all really quickly on the grounds that it's maybe still holy but not holy ENOUGH YET? :)

FulanaDeTallcan

@Dirty Hands @Countess Maritza- Lucumi -known more often in popular culture as Santeria, although that's kind of a perjorative term. It's an Afro-Cuban diasporic faith based on the religious belief systems of the Yoruba people of (what is now) Nigeria. Basically, all of the deities take specific food offerings and most of them take different kinds of alcoholic beverages...so lots of people have a full bar set-up at the house to prepare for whatever deity you might be serving in a given moment. Light rum, dark rum, gin, champagne, red wine, dry white wine... the Jager/anise drinks are for the deity of justice, herbal medicine doctoring and strategy. It's all good except when I want a drink and it's not ceremony time and I just kinda have to stare longingly at all the mostly full bottles because technically they don't belong to me. And many first time guests to my house are really disappointed/think I'm a stingy dickface when I'm like "Do you want anything to drink? We have Los Angeles tap water and goat milk that may or may not be past it's expiration date."

milenakent

Its DAMN FINE!@n

mayonegg

Jeppson's Malort > Jagermeister

evil melis

@mayonegg MALORT

stuffisthings

@mayonegg Based on my own experiences, and those of my fellow American college kids in Prague, Becherovka could make an absolute killing over here.

DullHypothesis

@mayonegg Malort + Coke is actually really good! Malort is also the only shot I can do!

LydiaBennett

@stuffisthings BECHEROVVVKKAAAAAAAAA love that stuff.

evil melis

@DullHypothesis There's really a drink called Malort??

mayonegg

@evil melis There actually is! Only found in Chicago, it's kind of a rite of passage--a "welcome/fuck you" for anyone who moves there.

Alli525

@stuffisthings I LOVE BECHEROVKA!! My roommate's stepdad is Czech and they brought a big bottle back from vacation this summer... it smells like Christmas.

stuffisthings

Is it too late to cancel my wedding and find a wealthy heiress to marry so I can become a Becherovka Baron?

Vicky

@mayonegg yesssss Malört, glorious Malört. Non-Chicagoans, Binny's does mail order! The shipping cost doubles the price, but it's so worth it.

Blushingflwr

@mayonegg I would argue that "better than Jagermeister" falls into the category of "damning with faint praise"

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Vicky
Strange definition of 'worth it' you've got there.

Beatrix Kiddo

@stuffisthings Becherovka already DOES make a killing here!

stuffisthings

@Beatrix Kiddo The only places I see it in DC are bars where it's an ingredient in some froofy $12 cocktail. The bartenders always seems surprised when I try to order shots.

evil melis

Mallory Ortberg grew up in Chicago!

Amphora

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll Hey, Malort's getting to be the Grey Goose of bitter scandinavian hooch. There's a place in Wicker Park making their own artisanal bottles of the stuff now.

stuffisthings

@stuffisthings There is a fancy bar here that has Fernet on tap, though...

Lu2
Lu2

@evil melis --!!!!!

mayonegg

@Amphora Oh, Violet Hour.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Amphora
Okay, I will try to overcome my, um, shall we say lack of interest, in Malort, and my general disappointment with the Violet Hour.

You're buying, right?

Amphora

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll Absolutely! I've actually never been there. And I am also preternaturally interested in Malort (when I briefly moved to the east coast I received a bottle as a going away present, and spent two years trying to convince every single guest to have a shot).

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Amphora
Okay, Pin Up tonight at the Violet Hour.

Miss Maszkerádi

@everybody I see I've been beaten to the punch on Becherovka....seriously, that stuff is what happens when somebody took the general idea of Jagermeister (herbal liqueur) but actually made it good. <3 u, Bohemia.

Amphora

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll Well, maybe a night when I have (a) no work in the morning and (b) more than $5 in my bank account?

Also relevant, John Hodgman drinks it! "it's like a flavored vodka basically, but flavored with darkness and pain."

OhMarie

@evil melis You obviously need to get some, but prepare yourself because it's pretty vile. The John Hodgeman thing is true--I went to a convention and he did the opening speech and made us all pass around bottles of Malort and drink from them as a rite of passage or something.

Also, Malort's twitter account has followed me ever since I wrote a single tweet about three years ago about how gross it was.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Amphora
Okay, let me know when you don't have a job and aren't poor. Because that's possible, right? Seriously though, let's do this! I'll buy a round.

whateverlolawants

I read some article recently from a British paper (I think it was the Drynuary one on here, actually) where they explained what Jäger was. Does it need explanation there? Or in the US? I thought Mr. Frank had made it ubiquitous.

LeafySeaDragon

@whateverlolawants i don't know what it is, aside from something Pam (archer) drinks.

whateverlolawants

@LeafySeaDragon Ah! Perhaps it's just ubiquitous among people who I know. :)

Clare

All this article did was make me nostalgic for college. (The Best Time I Drank Half a Handle of Jager By Myself on the 4th of July and Didn't Die?)

packedsuitcase

@Clare Ooooh, you and my ex-roommate should swap stories! She stopped drinking Jager after waking up leaning against the toilet wearing three sombreros.

PoBoyNation

@packedsuitcase Ahahaha! Oh my God.

evil melis

I will never purchase Jagermeister for myself, nor will I order it at a bar when they just have a bottle, but for whatever reason if I walk into a bar that has the big fancy cooling tanks of Jager I have to - have to - purchase a round of shots for everyone I am with. It is a terrible policy.

Clare

@evil melis If you ever feel like turning into REALLY evil melis, I highly recommend Jager and Red Bull. It tastes like Smarties in liquid form, goes down like water, and it will turn you into a MONSTER.

Related: GODDAMN, I MISS COLLEGE.

highjump

@evil melis Just the shot? Bless you for not making them 'bombs' of any variety.

Probs

@evil melis those Jägerators, or whatever the hell, are dangerous.

evil melis

I do not drink Red Bull, I will never drink Red Bull, for me the only Red Bull that exists is the monster in Peter Beagle's The Last Unicorn.

Nicole Cliffe

wedonotspeakofhim

stuffisthings

@highjump My local bar has a (non-Jager-based) bomb shot called a Peruvian Bear Fucker. It's half PBR, half orange juice, with a shot of rum dropped in (usually Capt. Morgan's, but the owner also makes a weird rum concoction of his own that's stored in a bottle labeled only with a skull and crossbones). It's kind of my mission in life to make everyone I know drink this drink. Plus it's actually kinda good.

leonstj

@evil melis - I do something similar as well when seeing the Jager-machine, because "Starry Night" is the most disgusting shot that isn't actually a joke, and I might not actually like my friends.

But then, FLAKES OF GOLD.

ThatWench

@evil melis
Am I allowed to declare my love for evil melis? Does that betray my love for melis? Or is that merely reflective of the nature of a love that is real, that it encompasses even the darkest dungeons that we all keep in our own hearts for terrible "energy drinks" that taste like feet?

KeLynn

@stuffisthings That sounds incredible

stuffisthings

@KeLynn I've heard it described as tasting like either creamsicles or pineapple juice.

Beatrix Kiddo

@ThatWench I don't even like Jagermeister, but that shot story really makes me want to befriend evil melis.

whateverlolawants

@evil melis I have to get Redheaded Sluts all the time because, well, they're more or less named for me. And my friends buy them for me. Sigh.

Dr. Iris Puffybush

@leon s TMI, but just the mention of Starry Night made me puke in my mouth a little. Never again.

C_Webb

If the Jager WASN'T aged a year, would anybody notice? I mean, come on.

Judith Slutler

@C_Webb I, too, was like "are you kidding me?"

noReally

It is possible that I am single because when I see someone order vodka by label there's this face I make, involuntarily, even against my will, that seems to read as, "You must be an idiot."

parallel-lines

@noReally Fools part easily with their money. Nearly all vodka sold in America is made from 100% ethanol purchased from giant agricultural conglomerates like Archer Daniels Midland, mixed with filtered water. The rest is marketing and packaging and intentional adulteration like the oak flavor added to Absolut. The whole thing about "good" vodkas is they're supposed to be as flavorless as possible--I just don't get the allure of that.

I drink cheap ass Sobieski and it's better than most twice the price.

Alli525

@parallel-lines Sobieski is the best, and I am in love with the wine-shop owner down the street for introducing me to it.

ghechr

About vodka, the thing is getting a vodka that is MOST flavorless. I have had the extreme misfortune of drinking Crystal Palace brand vodka, which is just disgusting. Maybe the top of the top shelf vodka isn't worth it but the bottom shelf isn't generally worth it either.

gobblegirl

@ghechr I guess it's like water? Good water is generally indistiguishable from really good water (though some people can taste slight differences), so it's sort of dumb to buy Dasani (or strongly prefer Evian over store brand). However, when you have bad water you know it.

LeafySeaDragon

@ghechr cheap grain vodka tastes like rubbing alchohol. cheap potato vodka is smooth and only SMELLS like rubbing alchohol.

cupcakecore@twitter

@ghechr I second this. There is a big difference between getting "well vodka" and say, smirinoff at a club/bar. And it's not just the extra dollar or two for your drink. But it's worth every dollar, especially since I find the hangover much less vile with slightly better vodka.

Judith Slutler

@ghechr nooooooo the thing is Polish buffalo grass vodka. Trust me on this!

Amphora

@Emmanuelle Cunt Yes, it's so good! The only vodka I want to actually taste. Because isn't vodka really about the smoothness, not the taste? Isn't that why (not all) people drink it cold?

Judith Slutler

@Amphora Gah I could go for one right now.

And yes, vodka is all about a nice smooth finish and a fresh clear feeling in your mouth afterwards.

whizz_dumb

Jager and vodka are the only 2 alcoholic beverages I don't drink.

fondue with cheddar

Because both Jägermeister and Barenaked Ladies were staples of my college experience, I've had this stuck in my head for the past forty minutes.

nonvolleyball

@fondue with cheddar I was so sure that link was gonna go to this!

fondue with cheddar

@nonvolleyball That one is even more appropriate! I only thought of the song because of "billion dollars" in the title.

annejumps@twitter

Never again with the Jäger.

LacunaKale

I had a conversation with my father where he asked me if I knew what Jager bombs were. I made a face ad said that I did. He then told me that they were the favorite drink of the daughter of of one his co-volunteers at the food pantry. (I did not ask why he was 'helping' out at the food pantry by swapping tales of how your children like to get hammered) . The strangest part was that the daughter was described as being in her early 40's. I mean, how many people over the legal drinking age would describe Jager bombs as a favorite?

martinipie

This article is totally fascinating because it's from 2005, pre-recession--and that we've had time to see the trends and ideas they're talking about either take off or die miserably. I mean, the mention of Lehman alone made me laugh, and then the "everyday luxuries" angle--so different from how an article like this would be written now, or maybe not this year but even one year ago. And I have no awareness of Corazon tequila so....that failed.

Probs

What is with college and drinking dumb shit? I used to put Everlcear in Keystone and call it Powerbeer. I understand if I'm now banned from the Pin.

DullHypothesis

@Probs AHAHA Powerbeer! I used to put vodka in wine and call them Sangreatas.

LacunaKale

@Probs That seems like it needs some Kool-Aid to take it to the next level.

Clare

@Probs MY liver hurts just reading about that combination.

mayonegg

@Probs We sometimes made "wine spritzers" from Franzia and Natty Light, you know, for classy parties.

highfivesforall

@Probs I never had one, but some dudes of my collegiate acquaintance created a drink called Death by Shovel - a shot of 151 in a can of Bud Light. I am not sorry to have missed out on that.

Probs

@DullHypothesis those powerbeers must have damaged my brain, because I'm not sure I get it?
@LacunaKale but really, when couldn't one say that?
@Clare that's saying something from someone who drank half a hanfle of Jäger and lives to tell the tale. ps I am also nostalgic for college from this article/discussion.
@mayonegg that is classy! A friend of mine pronounced Franzia's Chillable Red like "chill-ah-bleh"

Probs

@highfivesforall great minds!

Alli525

@Probs I had the best party punch in college, it was walmart-brand "Sprite," an obscene amount of Everclear, and kool-aid powder. (Best night ever was the first night we discovered "magic" - aka CLEAR - kool-aid... spills meant nothing! NOTHINGGGGG!)

Probs

@Alli525 that is genius.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Alli525
Is it non-sticky, or did you just not care about the feeling under your feet as you walked? (Getting shivers of disgust just imagining...)

itiresias

@Alli525 My male friends went on a ski trip last winter and drank primarily that. They named it "Evercruel".

I still like vodka-champagne combo drinks. There's one called the Southender, made of those two, soda water, muddled mint and simple syrup, that's really everything I like in one place. On more ghetto nights of my life, I've forgone the whole water/mint/sugar thing and just mixed the drinks. It's not as awful as you'd think.

Miss Maszkerádi

@Probs We once did the "Tour de Franzia," which is where you drink a bunch of boxed wine and then try to ride bikes around an empty parking lot.

Verity

@Probs My college had several signature drinks: the Power Pint, a bright green mixture of Red Bull and WKD Blue (and a few additional shots of vodka, I think), and the Merton Purple: two shots of vodka, two shots of rum, two shots of schnapps, four shots of port, a shot of lime, a shot of blackcurrant, topped up with lemonade (some also say two shots of gin). Someone I know claimed to have drunk "many" in one night. He is not dead.

mannequinhands

@Probs College! My group of friends invented the "Trailer Park Screwdriver," where you buy the giant plastic gallon of grocery-store vodka, funnel Tang powder into the bottle, and shake it up.

sophi

Someone told me once that you could take really cheap vodka, run it through a Brita filter, and it would filter it the same way it does water and make it taste better, but I don't really care enough about vodka to go through that effort.

highfivesforall

@sophi There was a mythbusters episode about this actually - they ran shitty vodka through a brita 10 times and left some out each time, then had a tasting - a vodka expert that they had on the show was able to put all of them exactly in order, and Jamie got pretty close too. Kari did not fare quite so well, also she got extremely drunk.

redheaded&crazy

@highfivesforall wait but did it actually taste better ("better") the 10th time?

ThatWench

@sophi Plus, you could only use the brita filter for the one handle of vodka, and then you'd have to throw out the filter... so I never understood why you wouldn't just put the cost of the filter towards just buying better vodka in the first place?

KeLynn

@highfivesforall Really! I've heard this but I always figured it was BS.

highfivesforall

@redheaded&crazy The implication was that it tasted "better". They also included a high-end vodka, which was ranked above all the brita filtered versions. I think all vodka tastes like poison, though, (which is technically what alcohol is, I guess) so what do I know.

redheaded&crazy

@highfivesforall right! I kind of realized after I posted that my question was dumb/obvious perhaps if you are an alcohol connoiseur. But like you, I think all vodka tastes like poison so I would not be the best judge/I would not be able to judge at all.

nonvolleyball

@highfivesforall my friend did this too (set up an elaborate PVC-pipe rig & everything) & then dubbed the result "science vodka." I'm not a connoisseur but it did make the Skol or whatever that he used taste less disgusting than usual.

LeafySeaDragon

i only like potato vodkas, but my mil drinks grey goose. if i forwarded this to her she'd have kittens.

i just got a bottle of the knot irish whiskey and it is heaven in a bottle. it's 100 proof, smooth, smells like vanilla and spices and is very slightly sweet. it's the only whiskey i've ever been able to sip straight. (is tullamore dew any good? i love the bottle!)

meetapossum

@LeafySeaDragon Tullamore Dew tastes very similar to Jameson, but I think it's smoother. I actually prefer it if I have the option.

LeafySeaDragon

@meetapossum good to know! i really like jameson! (i just got into whiskey a couple of years ago so it's been a journey learning what i like) also how cute is this? http://www.etsy.com/listing/104401136/vintage-crock-jug-tullamore-dew-uisge

meetapossum

@LeafySeaDragon Yes! The Tullamore Dew bottles are super awesome. My friend actually bought some because of the bottle many years ago, which is how I got to try it for the first time.

Also, love that that one is branded "uisge baugh."

Leah Klein@facebook

Sidney Frank went to my high school. When he died, he left several million dollars to the school, which they used to build a new arts wing when I was a senior. Students took to calling it the "Grey Goose wing". Alcohol! Teenagers! Typical.

Trilby

It gives you an interesting high-- more like valium than booze. But maybe I'm being unduly influenced by someone telling me that once. Anyway, I always mix it with something less disgusting, some juice or something.

Rubyinthedust

when i was 21 i was a cocktail waitress at a bar in wyoming that allowed indoor smoking and had a mandatory jager shot at the beginning and end of each shift. i only lasted a month.

Probs

@Rubyinthedust mandatory shots?? Eeeeeeesh.

itiresias

When I was in Berlin a couple of years ago I did a bar crawl that dragged a big group of tourists to a handful of bars in one night and gave us a complimentary shot of Jager at each. It was hilarious. Also great.

Beatrix Kiddo

Is it really a misapprehension that Jagermeister aids digestion? It doesn't seem that different, ingredient-wise, from those French and Italian "digestives." I'm so confused.

Judith Slutler

@Beatrix Kiddo I don't know. But there are a ton of types of Kräuterlikör (herb liqueurs), which is what Jägermeister is, in Germany. And they're all considered to be good for your digestion like the French kinds are.

Nicole Cliffe

@Beatrix Kiddo I think, really, that what all "digestifs" have in common is the ability to make you warm and happy and care less about your digestion. Which is great.

Dr. Iris Puffybush

@Beatrix Kiddo It's probably just in my head, but I always feel like Jag soothes my stomach if it's a little feeling weird.

AnnieM

I am too recently out of college..I read this this and was like "I kind of like Jager?" Because I do.

Vodka, on the other hand, is not good. Reading everyones comments about the taste of different vodkas made me imagine just swigging straight vodka samples and that made the back of my tongue crawl. Urgh.

Edmon

I was recommended this web site through my cousin. I am no longer sure whether this submit is written via him as nobody else understand such specific about my difficulty. You are incredible! Thanks! vigrx plus

Edmon

A person necessarily assist to make severely posts I would state. This is the first time I frequented your web page and up to now? I surprised with the analysis you made to create this actual put up incredible. Wonderful task! vigrx side effects

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account