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.

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Page 52 of 71 January/February 2016• Beverage Dynamics 53 Small Batch Canadian Whisky blend that is a full-bodied, quintessentially Canadian offering. And Caribou Crossing Single Barrel, he adds, is a super-premium bottling created by Master Canadian Whisky Maker Drew Mayville. "We've seen amazing results with fl avored Canadian whiskies," says retailer Jabour at Twin Liquors. Crown Royal Regal Apple, a brand introduced a year ago, is already selling at nearly half the original Crown Royal, he says. There is a proliferation of new Canadian flavors—maple, peach, pecan and more. "The success of Regal Apple may breed opportunities for other Canadian producers," Jabour says. Crown Royal also has a maple fl avor. "Look for more fl avor innovations in 2016," Morgan promises. Many predict Canadian will move into the world of whisky geekdom and wider interest. But the interest is already there, says Diageo's Morgan. "People are more interested in the minutia of whisky production — the grain bills and the kinds of barrels. Our brand ambassadors get asked very nerdy questions." "Canadian whisky has the budget players, as well as high-end expressions and more flavored products," Smith adds. "They are covering all bases." BD DEMAND FOR JAPANESE WHISKY IN AMERICA OUTWEIGHS SUPPLY BY KYLE SWARTZ BOTTLES DO NOT LAST LONG on store shelves. Shipments are limited. Connoisseurs and curious drinkers grab what they can. The cost to purchase can rise well beyond the suggested retail price. This may sound like a de- scription of the diffi culty in ac- quiring Pappy Van Winkle Bourbons, whose quality and scarcity have lifted the brand into legendary (and expensive) sta- tus, but it's not. The entire Japanese whisky category currently experiences the same challenges. Is this good for the category? And how did we get here? MEASURED EXPOSURE Numerous factors are behind the current Japanese whisky craze. Distillers set aside a good portion of their output for domestic markets, which leaves less juice for the rest of the world. How- ever, America was not always receiving large allocations, since the category's fi rst big push was carefully controlled. "By only exporting a limited quantity to the United States in the early 2000s, the Japanese were able to hook a niche group of whiskey drinkers," explains Erin Robertie, Liquor De- partment Manager of Hazel's Beverage World, a 35,000-square foot retail store in Boulder, Colorado. "Almost a novelty, Jap- anese malts entered the market as something different. Some- thing a little weird." In this way, connoisseurs were encouraged to set the reputation of Japanese whisky. They liked what they drank. Japanese whisky gained status among American consumers as an ap- proachable, nuanced alternative to Scotch. Demand increased. Then, when Suntory whiskies won a slew of global awards between 2010 and 2012, demand exploded. "The growth has been unprecedented," says Beam Suntory Brand Ambassador Johnnie Mundell. "One day we'll look back at this period and say that this really was a unique time and place. I've never seen anything like this in whisky." Japanese whiskies have leveraged this sudden and immense popularity to expand infl uence far beyond their home country. "Their presence in the industry is catapulting them to the forefront of world whiskey," Robertie says. "When Suntory purchased Jim Beam, Japanese whisky became a huge player in the inter- national market." MEETING DEMAND Tracking down Japanese whisky has become a diffi cult task. "The Yamazakis and all older exten- sions of Nikka are incredibly hard to fi nd," Robertie says. "In our state, all of Suntory's whiskies are allocated, so we receive a case or two of non-age statements or Hibiki 12- whose quality and scarcity have lifted the

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