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Chicken Cock Whiskey: Stolen Whiskey will ‘Build Awareness’

Only a whiskey company could benefit from somebody stealing its stock.

Matti Anttila, owner and president of Chicken Cock Whiskey, offered a $10,000 reward for the return of 884 cases stolen at a Florence County, S.C., truck stop this past weekend. Chicken Cock sent a national press release June 13 about the estimated $200,000 (retail) to $1.4 million (restaurants) worth of stolen whiskey. The little known brand is already receiving significant attention.

“This is going to help build awareness for the product,” Anttila says.

Anttila told me he’s already given 30 interviews talking about the incident, including the Houston Chronicle and Charleston television stations. And with a name like Chicken Cock, who would be surprised if this story became the butt of a Jay Leno joke?

Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 4.43.20 PMA non-distillery product, Chicken Cock was first established in 1856  in Kentucky. They moved to Canada during Prohibition and smuggled product into New York speakeasies. The brand returned March 2013 to capture the flavored whiskey market with its Southern Spice, Cinnamon and Root Beer products.

The stolen whiskey was the brand’s first Texas shipments. Anttila said he learned about the highjacking from his trucking company. “As an entrepreneur, I’ve come to expect the unexpected,” he told me. “I was shocked, but not surprised—of course, something like this would happen.”

Florence County sheriff officials have yet to return my calls for comment.

According to the police report, the truck’s load was worth $106,000 and also contained the truck driver’s laptop, Samsung Galaxy tablet, digital photographs, a TV and a refrigerator. The driver, Howard Herring, called police complaining his truck was missing. When police arrived, Herring found his truck, but the property was missing.

Even if police don’t catch the guy, this was probably the best thing to happen to Chicken Cock Whiskey.

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