A quick and efficient drink meant to be enjoyed by the people should be accessible to the people. Cheapness is a virtue. At least in this case. Its low price allows it to be drank in high volumes, with minimal care; there's no need to sip it over ice, or ration it. And it's also perfect for mixing. It just is. Fact: nobody has ever asked a bartender for a Pappy Van Winkle and Coke and lived to tell about it.
For just a few dollars, shots of cheap can fly, and the tumblers can flow like salmon in a cool Alaskan stream! Or something. The intrinsic value of well whiskey, the generic fallback for barkeeps the world over, is knowing exactly what you'll get when you order it, at any bar across the nation. It's the same reason people go to Starbucks on vacation: it's low risk, medium reward.
But I'm also on a first-name basis with the cheap stuff. It's Jim. It's Evan. It's Old Gran-Dad! They are my friends and family. They were there in college. They will be there at my wedding. There's statistically a 50% chance they'll be there at my divorce. And whether I like it or not, they'll likely be at my funeral, in the clammy hands of my cousin Jerry. They were there when my parents were young, too -- one of them may be the reason I exist in the first place (ew).