Buried in Bloomberg Businessweek‘s short feature on Gwyneth Paltrow (thesis: Gwyneth’s laughing at her haters’ GOOP-induced rage all the way to the bank, so joke’s on them) is an interesting factoid about Paltrow’s slightly less classy but still very successful counterpart, Bethenny Frankel. The reality-TV star’s Skinnygirl line of cocktails—the kind of stuff designed to be used as an ice-cream chaser while marathoning Real Housewives in one’s sweatpants—sold one million cases in its first year and a half on the market, a benchmark it took premium bourbon Maker’s Mark fifty years to reach.
Social media’s already started grumbling about Frankel’s questionably deserved success, we’d like to offer a few caveats before the outrage hits full stride. First off, of course it took Maker’s Mark a while to gather steam: When it first launched the brand in Kentucky in the 1950s, there wasn’t much of a domestic bourbon market to speak of, whereas Frankel is currently riding on the coattails of America’s post-Sex and the City proclivity for stereotypically girly cocktails.
Then there’s the simple truth that Skinnygirl and Maker’s Mark aren’t even remotely competing for the same market, so there’s not much of a point in begrudging Frankel’s business acumen. Think about it: When was the last time you saw a low calorie pre-mixed drink on the same liquor shelf as a bottle of Maker’s? Complaining about Skinnygirl coexisting with Maker’s is kind of like bemoaning Panda Express being more popular than Mission Chinese. Can’t we all just get along?