Southern Comfort: Nobody drinks this horrid piss.

The marketing minds at Southern Comfort have, since I have lived here, been engaged in a behemoth marketing campaign aimed at tourists and locals alike. Their mission is to convince people that the swill they produce is actually consumable in some form. Of course, it isn’t, but that hasn’t stopped them from penetrating all possible advertising outlets… They’re everywhere, all over the conventional billboards, busses, newspapers, etc. They have street teams out in bars, they have party busses, and even a citywide “best bartender” contest– the bartenders are required to create a cocktail based on Southern Comfort. They claim it’s the city’s native beverage – created by a local bartender in the 1800’s – a guy who was most definitely trying to get some 17 year old girls out of their bustles and hoop skirts.

I generally ignore this crass, obnoxious propaganda, figuring that the only people who drink this syrupy trash are either 18, or retarded. But Southern Comfort won’t quit. In fact, they’re opening a “museum” in the French Quarter and have just gotten a nod from the state senate to serve liquor there.

Laughable as this is, I find one line in today’s Times-Picayune article a bit troubling. It reads “Murray said his bill is tailored to allow the special liquor permit to be issued only to the Southern Comfort Museum in the French Quarter and could not be extended to include serving liquor at other museums.” I’m not quite sure how to read this, but it almost sounds like this grants Southern Comfort exclusivity and that another museum, the Museum of the American Cocktail would not ever be able to serve alcohol. That’s probably an overreaction on my part, but it does seem kinda fishy.

I would just like to clear something up for everyone, especially the unwitting visitor who is caught up in the SoCo marketing blitz. We don’t drink Southern Comfort down here. Southern Comfort has absolutely nothing to do with the history of New Orleans. If it was invented here as they claim, it has since been bought by a major liquor company and is made somewhere in Kentucky. Only recently have they decided to spend millions of dollars trying to attach our city’s good name to their shitty beverage. Please don’t fall for it. Thanks.

22 Comments so far

  1. jfbiii (unregistered) on May 4th, 2005 @ 11:30 am

    As an occasional SoCo drinker, it’s not nearly as offensive as you make it sound. Although the advertising is.

    On the bill, it probably isn’t written to specifically ban every other museum from ever serving liquor. It probably just means that any other museum that wanted to would have to go through the same process that SoCo did.

  2. Clay (unregistered) on May 4th, 2005 @ 12:19 pm

    does anyone that contributes content to this blog ever like anything about this city? is it this blogs purpose to slam every single thing that happens in this town as lame, based only on the opinions of the 8 bloggers that are allowed to start posts? i’m not for or against SoCo, the way it tastes, where its made, who invented it, or how its marketed, and frankly who gives a crap, just wondering.

    and where are you 8 people from to begin with? i know one of you is from Baltimore. and please dont start calling me a bigot, redneck, or a frat boy as you all do when you get upset by someone speaking out of turn, i am neither and it only exposes your insecurities when you do this.

    just a simple questionee, looking for answers.

  3. Chris Martel (unregistered) on May 4th, 2005 @ 6:10 pm

    Since when does me not liking Southern Comfort and their ad campaign mean I don’t like this city? My entire point was that I didn’t like Southern Comfort trying to ride the coattails of this city’s great traditions and history, because SoCo has nothing to do with either.

    Seriously, what should we be posting about? How everything is peachy, the police are doing a great job, nobody’s racist, and an 18 year old kid didn’t just get shot in the head on my friend’s doorstep? Give me a break. Where do you live?

  4. Clay (unregistered) on May 5th, 2005 @ 11:03 am

    i live uptown. i know all about the crime, the racism, and the shootings. so save it.

    MW Heron developed SoCo in 1874, in his bar near La Rue Bourbon in New Orleans. moved to Memphis several years later and began selling it, in 1934 the company changed the label to include an image of the Woodland Plantation, 40 miles south of New Orleans. So actually SoCo has a bit of claim to New Orleans, but I guess that depends on what you choose to believe. or dismiss sarcastically as information that cannot possibly true, because it is so laughable that anyone from “your” new orleans would ever drink such a drink, so it must be some bullshit marketing coat-tail incident made for profit and blah, blah, blah.

    and i dont drink it much, so who cares, that was not my point.

  5. Tyler (unregistered) on May 5th, 2005 @ 12:48 pm

    It is interesting that many people claim a right to market a product something based on authenticity (the product we are hawking was here on such-and-such a date in some specified past, though one not too near to our own, and was made by locals, presumably out of necessity) versus marking the product based on quality (this liquor tastes good, this restaurant has good debris).

    Southern Comfort seems to have the worst of both worlds: neither particularly local nor sufficently old, it doesn’t taste that good either.

    Well, there you have it. The spectrum of how New Orleans sells itself. I think that talent and taste should do its best to make a comeback, however; but that’s just me.

  6. Clay (unregistered) on May 5th, 2005 @ 1:21 pm

    here here!

  7. pidge (unregistered) on May 5th, 2005 @ 5:53 pm

    I am amused by your tirade… I saw the ads, and was not entirely fooled – and I’m an ignorant tourist in your country.

    One of the real local things in Louisiana is dying out (as pipe-smoking ceases to be fashionable):

    I managed to meet Mr. Percy Martin and two of his sons, and they were the real people that the Southern Comfort ads are trying so hard to create. Good to know that the interesting characters in black and white photos can exist, and are much better in person. We met them in the middle of squirrel hunting season, and they were skinning a number of the little beasties – something I never would have seen in a soft-focus billboard ad!

    I have to agree that Southern Comfort is awful. When I was a bartender, I shivered every time I had to mix one. You can’t give people taste…

  8. Mike Hoffman (unregistered) on May 5th, 2005 @ 7:34 pm

    Clay – for a moment, you’ve lost the big picture of the purpose of this blog. We’re here to give a hyper-local view of the city. We don’t play ourselves to be the end-all be-all New Orleans representatives. Positive or negative we accomplish this goal. New Orleans Metblogs doesn’t try to come off as the Fox news of the blogosphere (I hate that word.) – we have no responsibility to be fair and balanced. That’s partially why there are comment threads – you’re free to add your two cents and create a continuing dialogue.

    SoCo riding on New Orleans’ coat tails does seem a bit disingenuous like the infamous Takka billboards. The best thing you can do is speak up about how you feel (done) and not buy the product, which it seems most of you don’t do anyways. Affect the bottom line and they’ll listen.

  9. Jboo (unregistered) on May 6th, 2005 @ 8:00 am

    How does one get to be a metblogger anyway? I’m sure somebody would be happy to add a positive voice to this mix.

    btw Clay, you are 100% right on with your assessment. As I read the SoCo article, I thought the same thing you did and laughed out loud as I read your comments.

  10. Metroblogging Head Cholo (unregistered) on May 6th, 2005 @ 8:57 am

    Metroblogging is not unlike a Latino street gang, joining requires a lengthy hazing process. Those unaccustomed to torture and being forced to commit brazen acts of violence are encouraged not to join.

  11. Robert (unregistered) on May 6th, 2005 @ 10:34 am

    No offense guys, but y’all are not exactly “hyperlocal.” Or maybe I should say, y’all are not paticularly representative of the community as a whole?

    I’m enjoying the blog, don’t get me wrong, but “hyperlocal?” ;)

  12. midnightferret (unregistered) on May 6th, 2005 @ 10:45 am

    Yes, I also think that Southern Comfort is pretty vile, having served it often and drank it once or twice. I think that the billboards, etc, advertising the stuff are pretty contrived, and honestly, if someone is going to be fooled enough by them and would drink the stuff because they think it’s authentic N.O.L.A. and that is “kewl”, then perhaps they deserve what they get? It would be like the Darwin motorcycle helmet laws…

    Of course, how about the “Only one coffee” ads? Where do they fit in this scheme?

    Also, I wouldn’t mind seeing a N.O. metroblogger who is from here. Maybe one of you is, and I just missed it. However, I can’t really talk, because I don’t think I would even qualify: I was born here, but not completely raised here, and also we don’t have a cool apartment downtown because we live by the Blue Plate Fine Foods sign. They have a blue plate on the door of their establishment. I do get to go to the Rendon Inn a lot and eat burgers and watch very young Tulane students drink beer. Ayup.

  13. Clay (unregistered) on May 6th, 2005 @ 11:12 am

    maybe I could take an interim position as a “hyper-local” metblogger since Mike is officially on his Best Buy World Tour and can’t possibly be considered “hyper-local” till at least Thanksgiving.

    Just a thought. ;o)

  14. Chris Martel (unregistered) on May 6th, 2005 @ 11:33 am

    I live near the Blue Plate sign also. Despite the fact that most of the people who write for this site aren’t natives, I do think we all share a common love for New Orleans and we’re not a bunch of transplants who’ve come here solely to piss and moan about everything. I just think we’re cynics and frankly, negativity generates more attention than positivity. I’d love for some natives to write for this site, and I’d also love for the natives who read this site to stop taking every negative comment posted on here as a personal attack on them. I too have met my fare share of yankee transplants who are so quick to point out this city’s ills, and I assure you this is not my mission, and I don’t think it’s the mission of anyone else who writes here.

  15. Tyler (unregistered) on May 6th, 2005 @ 11:39 am

    I am not from NOLA. I don’t live in NOLA. Quite frankly, I have no account of why it is I continue to be fascinated with NOLA (and Louisana in general).

    I do enjoy reading the complaints about NOLA and the FQ. One doesn’t always go to the local coffee shop or pub to chat amiably; rather, one goes to grouse. Nothing solidifies identity within and among a group so much as a common irritant. NOLA is the sand, the oyster and the pearl.

  16. Clay (unregistered) on May 6th, 2005 @ 11:45 am

    sarcasm is funny, but negativity is better than positiviy? im not so sure, but that is IMO.

    i cant speak for everyone else, but i just think we need a wider variety of “hyper-local” viewpoints, that’s all. cause afterall, … “The best thing you can do is speak up about how you feel (done) and not buy the product, which it seems most of you don’t do anyways. Affect the bottom line and they’ll listen.”

    tru dat!

  17. ishme (unregistered) on May 6th, 2005 @ 12:28 pm

    An active native here. *waves* I don’t think that criticizing SoCo is criticizing New Orleans. Most of us drive past those signs and rolls our eyes because we know that they’re not designed for us. If they were, then they would realize we have more than one local coffee. And as a New Orleanian, most of us are used to having trashy things represent our city that aren’t even from here. (eg: Britney Spears, Emeril Lagasse, etc.)The list goes on and on.

  18. . (unregistered) on May 7th, 2005 @ 10:38 pm

    Metblogs isn’t from New Orleans, either.

  19. Mike Hoffman (unregistered) on May 8th, 2005 @ 5:27 pm

    One time when I first moved to New Orleans someone told me “It’s not where y’from, it’s where yat.”

    Enough said.

  20. Max Sparber (unregistered) on May 8th, 2005 @ 10:35 pm

    If you want to contribute to the New Orleans Metblog, go ahead and apply. It’s what I did.

  21. T (unregistered) on May 10th, 2005 @ 10:54 am

    SoCo is pretty much vile. I used to know a guy that would drink shots of it and chase them with swigs off a 2 liter bottle of Grape Crush. Not that I hung around with drunks, or anything…

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