Confusing Kinseys

In doing research into the Syroco Knight and the Kinsey Knight connection, I ran across an amusing article in The New Yorker...  Apparently, consumers were confusing the producers of Kinsey Whiskey and Gin and The Kinsey Report: Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.

The following appeared in The New Yorker, on September 18, 1948:


One of our enterprising young assistants stopped off in Philadelphia to get to the bottom of those stories that the hullaballo over the Kinsey Report has resulted in substantial rise in the sale of Kinsey, the Unhurried Whiskey.  Kinsey Distilling is now part of a corporate agglomeration known as Publicker Industries, Inc., of 1429 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, and our man beat his way there and had a talk with Mr. T. A. DuBois, the Kinsey sales manager, who was found to be a mild, unhurried gentleman in horn-rimmed glasses.  Mr. DuBois stated that, despite a general slump in the liquor business, Kinsey whiskey has been selling briskly all summer, and that the Kinsey Report has indeed had much to do with this gratifying phenomenon.  “The Report,” he said, “has impressed our brand name on the public consciousness.  We keep denying that it has any connection with our product, but people choose to go on confusing them.  It may be silly, but…”  He sighed comfortably, and added that the company has received several hundred letters asking for copies of the Report and that some of the writers of these letters have gone to the trouble of enclosing a label, soaked off a fifth of Kinsey, in the belief that these entitles them to a free copy.  There seems to be a rumor to this effect in several sections of the country.

Fairly early in the game, Mr. DuBois prepared a form letter explaining to hopeful correspondents that the Kinsey Distilling Corporation and Dr. Kinsey are working in altogether different fields, and that the Report may be purchased at bookstores for $6.50.  Along with his reply, Mr. DuBois has lately been enclosing a brochure entitled, “Kinsey’s Own Report on the Kinsey Report.”  The cover of this booklet bears a reproduction of a knight in full armor, the advertising symbol of Kinsey Whiskey; he is depicted reading a copy of the Kinsey Report.  The contents consist chiefly of reprints of newspaper accounts of incidents, most of them transparently apocryphal, resulting from a confusion of the two Kinseys.  Retail liquors frequently write in for a Report, on the assumption that it is a piece of promotional material put out by the whiskey company, and Mr. DuBois is, naturally, more generous with them than he is with the lay public, sending them a copy but advising them that he had to pay $6.50 for it (he has made no effort to get a special professional discount) and warning them that if they want further copies, they will have to go out and buy them.

A liquor dealer in New Haven has filled one of this display windows with equal portions of Kinsey whiskey, Kinsey gin, and Kinsey Reports, and a dealer in Washington wrote Mr. DuBois a while back that he was planning to rent out to his regular customers, on a weekly basis, a copy of the Report that Mr. DuBois had sent to him.  Helpful strangers keep handing in suggestions on how to exploit what seems like the chance of a lifetime.  A novelty manufacturer offered to make up a plastic reproduction of the Kinsey Report, with a niche inside to fit a pint bottle of Kinsey.  “it would have been wonderful for the Christmas trade,” Mr. DuBois said, “but we’re not interested in any unethical attempts to muscle in on Dr. Kinsey’s pitch.”

The Kinsey of Kinsey Distilling Corporation is Jacob G., no relation to Dr. Alfred C.  The forebears of Jacob G. were named McKenzie, Mr. DuBois told our man, and this was first shortened to Kinzie and then changed to Kinsey.  Mr. DuBois had no dope on the evolution of Dr. Alfred C.’s name.  Jacob G., a facsimile of whose signature appears on every bottle, founded Kinsey Distilling in 1892 and ran it until 1942, when it sold out to Publicker as a consultant.  Jacob G., now ninety, is retained by Publicker as a consultant.  Mr. DuBois has no idea what he thinks of all the hubbub.