Did you know that you can “Like” George Dickel on Facebook, and you can “Follow” George Dickel on Instagram, or you can “Subscribe” to George Dickel on YouTube, but you will not find George Dickel on Twitter? As an adult who partakes of both social media and George Dickel Tennessee Whisky, I’ve wondered why.
George Dickel’s No. 8 has been my whisky of choice for more than twenty years. I started drinking it in the late 1990s – after turning 21, of course – at the suggestion of a guy we all called Pops. Pops was a portly Southern gentleman of the old ways, a cigar salesmen with a rolling deep-voiced drawl and a bad haircut that may well have been a bad wig, and he hung out at 1048 Jazz & Blues, where I worked after college. He was in the bar often when he wasn’t traveling, and he took his Dickel heavily poured and mixed with Coke in a rocks glass. What Pops considered a drink most people would consider a triple, and what Pops drank nightly would keep many people in the bed the next day. Taking my cues from his choice of drink, but not from his choices about volume, I tried Dickel-and-Coke and was hooked. (Not literally.)
On January 4, 2001, I became a member of the George Dickel Tennessee Whisky Water Conservation Society. After seeing a series of ads called “The Dickel Diaries” that was then running in magazines, I applied for membership and soon received a membership card and a proclamation acknowledging that I had been “declared, by virtue of unanimous acclamation, a valued member.” The latter part of the quasi-society’s name – Water Conservation Society – points to very important understanding of our preferred libation: “Water’s for washin’, Dickel’s for drinkin’,” a slogan that was perpetuated out of a 1980s ad campaign.
One reason that George Dickel is not on Twitter could be that he died in 1894. Unlike Frederick Douglass, who has a thriving following on the platform, I assume that the post-mortem Mr. Dickel has chosen to remain more low-key. His social media feeds tend more toward product-centered imagery than toward festering antagonisms about the president.
There’s one thing I’ve learned both from life and from teaching: if you don’t know something, and you want to know, then ask. So I did. The Contact Us link on the George Dickel website isn’t easy to find – it’s very small and at the bottom – and I sent the current distillers an email to inquire why George Dickel isn’t on Twitter. Sadly, that email came back undeliverable the next day, but you never know ’til you try. There’s a phone number I could call, but it’s really not that big a deal.
In the meantime, Old No. 8 will continue to suffice, tweets or no tweets, as it has for the last two decades. Though I will admit that, when I’m on my phone scrolling through Twitter’s electronic torrent of news stories, backbiting quips, concert dates, and taproom hours, I probably would miss old George Dickel— if he weren’t usually in my other hand.