Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Ditching Dirigo

There are some things that a state wants to be a leader in--quality of life, abundant natural resources, jobs that pay a living wage--I’m not sure that having Allen’s Coffee Brandy as your drink of choice is one of those. Then again, Maine’s been carrying the torch for the “syrupy 70-proof liquor” for more than two decades now. There are probably several reasons for this, I’m sure much of it socio-economic.

You wouldn’t gather that from the Allen’s company site, and their marketing “happy talk,” of course. Here’s their take on why Mainers love the taste of the brand. Of course, the company is quite pleased that Mainers love Allen’s:

Coffee is extremely popular throughout New England. People in Maine love coffee and products with a genuine, pronounced coffee flavor. Allen’s probably has the truest coffee taste. Coffee liqueurs and some other coffee flavored brandies tend to be sweet, Allen’s focuses on the coffee flavor not additional sweetness. Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy uses a natural extract from Brazilian coffee beans.

People in Maine have found that Allen’s CFB makes the perfect sombrero. Sombreros were first made with coffee brandy, sombreros made with coffee liqueurs came later. Consumers may also consider Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy to be a great value as opposed to imported coffee liqueurs.

If you do a Google search for “Allen’s Coffee Brandy” and “Maine,” it brings you to an investigative set of articles, probably one of the most thorough journalistic pieces done on the Allen’s phenomenon in Maine. Interestingly, it was done over a decade ago, and was part of a series in the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, when the newspaper was still a viable newspaper, and practiced journalism.

In one of my interviews for Moxietown, John Leheney, chief historian for the New England Moxie Congress shared with me a popular drink with the Maine Moxie crowd, and of course it involves both the diet version of their vaunted tonic and Allen’s Coffee Brandy. It’s called a “Welfare Mom.” (see #3)

Maybe Maine should scrap the Dirigo symbol and adopt a jug of Allen’s as our state symbol? What are some other dubious "honors" that states would rather not publicize, like Maine and Allen's?

No comments: