Bourbon Industry

'SNL' bourbon summit pours Woodford Reserve

Jay Pharoah played President Obama and Taran Killam was Senator Mitch McConnell during a skit called "A Drink at the White House," which began Saturday Night Live last weekend. The bourbon in the skit was Woodford Reserve, a Kentucky product.
Jay Pharoah played President Obama and Taran Killam was Senator Mitch McConnell during a skit called "A Drink at the White House," which began Saturday Night Live last weekend. The bourbon in the skit was Woodford Reserve, a Kentucky product. Dana Edelson/NBC

Saturday Night Live, Brown-Forman loves your Woodford way.

The show's teaser, or cold open, on Saturday picked up the idea of the bourbon summit between President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and ran with it.

In the skit, the president and Kentucky's senior senator (played by Jay Pharoah and Taran Killam, respectively) plowed through two bottles of Woodford Reserve, Brown-Forman's premium bourbon.

How did they come to pick Woodford?

"As much as I would love to claim credit, we didn't do anything and were very pleasantly surprised," Brown-Forman spokesman Phil Lynch said in an email message. "Obviously the SNL producers know which bourbon is best!"

(Incidentally, McConnell is known to be partial to Brown-Forman's original bourbon, Old Forester. Maybe because the skit was set in the White House, the bottle came from Obama's bar?)

It's too soon to say whether the bourbon summit plug would result in increased sales, Lynch said.

Not that Woodford Reserve needs the help. In August, Brown-Forman reported that sales were up 29 percent for the previous three months. The brand is on track to sell one million cases in five or six years, the company has said.

Brown-Forman is in the midst of a $36 million expansion of the distillery outside Versailles, adding three new warehouses to hold 165,000 more barrels, with plans to eventually add three more copper pot stills to double distilling capacity.

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