Beverage Dynamics

Beverage Dynamics Jan-Feb 2016

Beverage Dynamics is the largest national business magazine devoted exclusively to the needs of off-premise beverage alcohol retailers, from single liquor stores to big box chains, through coverage of the latest trends in wine, beer and spirits.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 47 of 71

48 Beverage Dynamics • January/February 2016 Blended Scotch the category s i "Even though a lot of the talk is about malts, blended Scotch is still selling well," says George Ryals, manager at All Star Wine & Spirits in Latham, N.Y. Blended Scotch is a much bigger category than single malts (nearly four times the size) and although growth has been flat, brands are hoping to create some excitement with innovation, especially at the high end. "We're seeing a lot of innovations in the blended arena," says Ewan Morgan, National Master of Whisky for Diageo, whose portfolio includes Johnnie Walker and Buchanan's. Blends make up 90% of global sales, he points out. Ambassadors from Johnnie Walker are about to go on the road again, conducting practical blending classes for trade and consumers. After an explanation of the different styles and the blending process, consumers get to create their own blends. The company recently launched Johnnie Walker Select Casks, showing off different barrel finishes. The first expression is a Rye Cask Finish. Cardhu single malt from Speyside is at the heart of the blend; whiskies with at least 10 years aging in first-fill American oak barrels were then finished in ex-rye whiskey casks and bottled at 46% ABV. The Scotch has fruit and vanilla flavors with a touch of smoke and spiciness from the casks, Morgan says. Rye is trendy right now, and the bottle has an age statement. "It ticks all the right boxes," he adds. "The whisky journey has changed from what it was in the past," says Brian Shaifer, director of Dewar's for Bacardi USA. "Instead of starting with vodka or rum, the Millennials are diving right into whisky." Scotch isn't the old boys' club anymore, he adds, explaining that one-third of whisky drinkers are female. That Dewar's has one of the few female master blenders in the industry should resonate with those con- sumers, he believes. Another message is that Dewar's double-marries its blends. The liquid is aged, blended and then put back into barrels to harmonize. To engage those tech-savvy consumers, Dewar 's created The website transports viewers to the distillery in Scotland, and with a special headset activated through a smartphone, allows 360 degree virtual tours. "It brings the whisky process to life," Shaifer says. Scratched Cask is Dewar's newest expression. "We borrowed tech- niques from our Bourbon cousins," Shaifer says. Dewar's White Label is finished in charred oak barrels with some of that char scratched off. It mellows the liquid and gives soft, oaky vanilla tones. The brand hopes it will appeal to Bourbon drinkers. "We are sticking by our age state- ments," Shaifer declares. White Label is Dewar's base brand. Scratched Cask is a slight premium. "We look at Monkey Shoulder as the naughty nephew of Scotch," says marketing director Andy Nash about William Grant & Sons' newest blend. For the price of a mid-tier Bourbon, consumers are getting a blend of three single malts, he points out. Another blend in the William Grant por tfolio is the eponymous Grant's. "The quality of our blend is brought about through five gen- erations of family ownership," Nash says. Grant's has seen success recently with new variants, such as the Ale Cask reserve, which is finished in casks that have previously held Scottish Ale. "Certainly it's a whisky that should appeal to consumers who are also fans of the fast-growing craft beer category," he says. BD LEADING BRANDS OF SCOTCH WHISKY, 2013-2014 (Thousands 9-Liter Cases) '13/'14 Brand Type Supplier 2013 2014 % Change House of Dewar's FB Bacardi USA 1,243 1,186 -4.6% Johnnie Walker Black FB Diageo 940 886 -5.7% Johnnie Walker Red FB Diageo 710 712 0.3% Clan MacGregor USB William Grant & Sons 470 463 -1.5% Buchanan FB Diageo 335 430 28.4% The Glenlivet SM Pernod Ricard USA 387 387 0.0% Chivas Regal FB Pernod Ricard USA 392 358 -8.7% The Macallan SM Edrington Americas 186 209 12.4% Inver House USB Sazerac 197 186 -5.6% Cluny USB Whyte & Mackay Americas 185 181 -2.2% Total Leading Brands 5,045 4,998 -0.9% Others 3,790 3,712 -2.1% Total Scotch Whisky 8,835 8,710 -1.4% FB=Foreign Bottled; USB=U.S. Bottled; SM=Single Malts.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Beverage Dynamics - Beverage Dynamics Jan-Feb 2016