The Flavored Whiskey All Frat Boys Want: Piehole Apple Pie

Last week, Diageo announced its new flavored whiskey lineup, including extensions of Jeremiah Weed and Crown Royal, as well as the new brand “Piehole.”

The company said: “Piehole was inspired by grandma’s favorite pie recipes. They are a delicious blend of Canadian whisky and pie flavored liqueur. This new-to-world product is available in three tempting flavors: Apple Pie, Cherry Pie and Pecan Pie. Piehole Whiskies will be available beginning in November for a suggested retail price of $14.99 for a 750 mL bottle.”

Piehole - Cherry Pie Piehole - Apple PieI’ve made my opinions on flavored whiskey fairly public in Whisky Magazine columns and my blog post “Flavored Whiskey, Big Money & The Toilet Bowl.” I don’t like the stuff and never will. But I completely understand there is a market for flavored products. Last year, according to Nielsen research, flavored North American Whiskey grew 63 percent with all other market signs pointing toward more room to grow.

Distilleries are going to keep making this stuff, no matter how much I protest it. So, let’s acknowledge the category for what it is–Frat Boy Liqueurs.

For the first time, a spirits company has come right out of the gate with a product and not hidden its intentions whatsoever. With busty women holding pies and sitting on pies, Piehole will appeal perfectly to the 21-year-old “what’s up, dude?” demographic in the fraternity houses.

Piehole will be a success in every circle that includes immature men. So, kudos to Diageo for not trying to hide from this fact.

But in a time when society is trying to move away from sexism and 1950s-era female stereotypes, Piehole is a huge fail. In its marketing, Diageo says Piehole is inspired by grandma. If that’s the case, why are there mid-20th Century strippers on the label? If we’re really trying to sell grandma’s recipes, how about a tasteful image of a grandma? Oh, yeah, that’s not going to appeal to Johnny Frat Boy.

With that said, I do not believe Piehole violates any industry edicts that the Dewar’s advertisement was guilty of last year. The women sitting on pies evokes imagination, but likely manages to comply within industry code.

Much like what we saw with the Woodford Reserve television commercials, which many deemed sexist, we’ll probably see a social media outcry, but Diageo will likely not budge on its Pieohole marketing. After all, Diageo’s job is to make money for shareholders. And Pieohole will capture the targeted demographic.

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11 Replies to “The Flavored Whiskey All Frat Boys Want: Piehole Apple Pie”

  1. While I certainly agree that these sound nasty and that I am unlikely to ever confirm that myself because I have no interest in trying them at least they use what is probably at best bottom shelf whiskey as the base so that no significant whiskey is harmed in the process! But referring to the label illustrations as “mid-20th Century strippers” is a bit of a reach. Granted they aren’t a picture of a grandma but “mid-20th Century farm implement manufacturer calendar models” seems closer to the mark!

  2. You are right as rain. This is similar to Miller Light Beer-water it down enough to sell lots of it to the frat boys. Give me good whiskey at a less than usurious price and I’ll be happier than a pig in s..mud!

  3. Fred:

    OK, now Fred…I would have never thought you were so stuffy. You like whisk(e)y, I think. You even like most things about whiskey. And now you go and take a shot at my grandmother’s pies. Sure, her cherry pie was better than her apple pie. And get this Fred, she wrote the “Miss Manners” column in her local newspaper, so she really was tasteful. I know it is hard to write something even remotely nice about folks like us who makes lots of different kind of products for lots of different types of people (including your type who I know favors George Dickel and Bulleit). So lighten up on both folks who might find that combining a shot of fine whisk(e)y with a piece of Grandma’s awesome pie is a good thing. I was a frat boy (not a very good academic one tho) and if we had had Piehole the world would have been better (and maybe I would have been a better student too!). So instead of being a stick–the-mud, try giving them a shot a (a great way to enjoy them) or at least give a little slack to folks who might even be new to the world of whiskey, instead of aficionados like you are. As always, your Obed. Servant….guy

    Guy L. Smith
    Diageo
    (and Vice Chairman, The Piehole Company)

    1. Guy,

      You didn’t respond to one of the major points being made in this piece about the sexism and objectification of women in your marketing choices. As a female buyer for a chain of liquor stores (we do about 20 million a year in sales and we’re expanding soon), I can tell you that I will absolutely be avoiding the purchase of your products, and perhaps enlightening customers as to why if they inquire.

      Sincerely,

      One of many women who will be on the front lines deciding if your product is worthy of shelf space.

      1. Lmao little girl your attitude isn’t going to get you far. If this stuff sells and you don’t buy it, you’re out of a job. You’re not a trendsetter. You’re not in a powerful position. You’re a tool that’s being used to do a job. Do it correctly and keep your fat girl opinions to yourself.

        And btw, I doubt your chain does $20m in business, but even if it did that’s about 0.0004% of US liquor sales. Small fish in a gigantic pond.

        1. I’ve been buying for this chain for 10 years, and while we may only hold a fraction of a percent of the overall liquor market, you would have to be absolutely brainless to think that a chain with that much buying power in an individual market isn’t going to make a difference to whether or not a distributor in a particular state decides to purchase in mass quantities.

          I guarantee you I can make a decision to not buy something based on marketing. It happens very often, in fact – and for far less interesting and valid reasons, like the font looks dumb.

          Do you have any idea how much pie flavored shit is on the market already? This isn’t new. This isn’t exciting. Nobody cares about Piehole, and most likely… nobody will.

          You’re right, if Piehole becomes the next Fireball, there will probably be pressure from consumers to carry it… and i will absolutely purchase on request and send it out the door, but I don’t have to give shelf space. And I sure as HELL won’t be out of job over rejecting it. Wine and beer pay the bills – make no mistake.

  4. Uggh. I’m just learning the flavors and history of whiskey; even without that “snobbery,” if you don’t like the taste of whiskey, then choose another libation or get a cocktail. The only people I’ve met who would actually contemplate drinking pie flavored anything are sad consumers looking for the next sticky solution to their woes. May grilled cheese moonshine ease them out of their mortal coils.

  5. I Just tried Piehole Apple last night and must say it was surprisingly great. I don’t really think of it as whiskey but more a flavored liquor. Rather than than just guess at how awful it is you snobs should just try it! I can’t speak for the other flavors but if i see them at my local watering hole i’ll give them a try. At 39 I must be one of the immature fraternity boys Fred refers to above. Feels good to be young again.

  6. Why do certain, or most individuals have to be so judgemental? A new line of liquor came from diageo with 3 flavors to choose from. Thats pretty good for introducing a new drink. I understand it isnt no king louie xiii or dom perignon, but I have no reason to dislike all these new flavors in whiskey and vodka even tequila. If thats what the consumers want then thats exactly what these companies are going to produce. I personally think crown royal regal apple, piehole, ciroc pineapple, wild turkey sting, dr mcgillicuddys fireball, seagrams 7 american spiced, belvedere mango passion are delicous. Times are changing people want variety. Wake up be opened minded. Drink em all

  7. I am so addicted to this. I fucking love peacon lie and this stuff is delicious. And I don’t even like whiskey. But I must admit, the cherry flavor tastes like straight medicine. The original is the best!

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