Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sole Agents & Sole Proprietors

Reading the information that our old hombre from the Cajon Zone posted on McMillian & Kester started me thinking about the use of the terms “sole agent” and “sole proprietors”.
Ol’ Dr. Barnes posted an ad that stated McMillian & Kester were “Sole Proprietors” for Dr. Wonser’s USA Bitters but referred to them as “Sole Agents”

The rampant misuse of the words proprietors and agents is like fingernails on a blackboard to this old collector. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not riding a high horse, but maybe it’s time to explain what these two terms mean.

Ask any western whiskey collector the difference between sole agent and sole proprietor and they can tell you right off who’s who and what’s what. They specialize in bottles with the words “sole agent” embossed right there in the glass. Heck, the big bull goose Looney over on the whiskey blog goes by the moniker “Soleagentdoesn’t he? Do you think he knows what sole agent means?

Let’s start with the word “Sole”- Sole means, as we all know, not divided, not shared or exclusive.

“Agent” is the party that has express authority to act for another. An agent is under the control (is obligated to) the principal, and (when acting within the scope of authority delegated by the principal) binds the principal with his or her acts. The agent, however, does not have title to the principals goods in his or her possession.

Proprietor, on the other hand, is the Sole owner, or one of the owners of the goods that the agent is selling or distributing. You know, the person who has the legal right or exclusive title to something.

So, in lay men’s terms - Sole Agent - working for owner.
Sole Proprietor – Owner.

Hey, shouldn’t that guy running the whiskey blog be the “Sole Proprietor”?
Or is he just an agent for some overseas consortium trying to inflate the value of Cutter whiskey bottles?


  1. HaHa....Good Stuff, I actually went off my fading memory and realized it after I posted it, Dohhhh!! Into my notes this will go. DB

  2. Doc,
    Ever wonder why you see a lot more Sole Proprietor's on bitters bottles & meds then on whiskies? That might be something I will research when it starts snowing again.

  3. Good one Rick! I go for the last sentence in your post.Andy

  4. Nope, the ol' Sole Agent will always just be the "agent". Can't claim ownership of the information. Readers.. it's your world, we're just rentin space.

  5. A Cutter shill? You too funny. That's highly doubtful, though. Cutters need no outside influence to boost interest.