In Vino Veritas. Or Is It Veritas?
By John Henry
The Word on the street rules. But the CHO elements (and I mean Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen of molecular alcohol) can definitely pit one’s word against another’s. We are in a business fueled by gossip and hearsay. From the outside, the modern corporate cubicle workplace looking in, it would seem that spirits business is a freewheeling one where people, drink, chat and maybe even wind up in strange sheets at the end of the night.
There is some truth to that. As there are in the divorces, whiskey widows, lipstick on the glass and strange flower expenses on the American Express bill. But a greater truth we seek. Just like the old Roman adage, in vino veritas. At least according to that imbiber. Let’s zero in a bit on the “word on the street.”
Rumors run rampant in this business. Especially amongst folks not often found out on the street. For instance, how about these gems: St Germain was offered $111 million by Heaven Hill and turned it down. Seeks 240 mil…William Grant has bought Tuthilltown…Pegu Club doesn’t serve Vodka…The check is in the mail…_________has run out of money. I’ve even heard a few rumors in the past year that our own company, PipeLine Brand Agents, had disbanded. That saddened me.
The way I see it, there is hyper reality time in our business. The same folks often get together and in the same way fuel a sort of time warp of alcohol fired chatter. That puts the timeline askew on what really may be business in the works or what may work better for any business at hand. We live and work by the biggest water cooler daily.
Being an ex-Military Intelligence Officer (and Counter Intel 35E at that), I take the last man standing approach. The most informed is the best listener and the last man standing. Taking notes is advised. Like a journalist. Who, what, where, when, why, how, if possible.
For me, I use the Parallax principle. I need to hear a cogent story from at least three sources (at least two of them sober) before I grant veritas or gravity to the hearsay. Best is if I hear the story unprompted. Call that word on the street “on tap.”
I think we could all learn to be a bit more discreet and keep our business true. That may be the real word on the street. Just like taking a sales order, paying for the product and selling it through. Just the facts ma’am. Just the facts. Face to face. On the street the real truth is: are you buying or selling? And if it is indeed true that the “sale is in the service” then all else is costly hearsay. Less is more.