Stateways Sept-Oct 2014

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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Page 27 of 51

StateWays Q Q September/October 2014 28 By Kate Strandness I t's a good time to be born and bottled in America—that is, if you're a whiskey. The numbers don't lie: Accord- ing to the Beverage Information Group, the straight whiskey category showed a 6.7 percent increase from 2012 to 2013. "That growth was driven by high-end premium and super-premium brands—the categories saw 31-percent and 104-percent growth, respectively, over the past fi ve years," explains Andrew Floor, Senior Marketing Direc- tor, Dark Spirits at Campari America. "Bourbon is on fi re and the surge has been lasting for years now," says Dan Cohen, PR Director at Beam Suntory. "We're fi nding whiskey around the world is growing and doing really well and Bourbon is really leading the charge." Cohen attributes that growth to three factors: in- novation, premiumization and authenticity. "We know that everyone is looking to discover new options," Cohen says. "They're interested in unique production; they're interested in a va- riety of different styles and types of Bourbon." But they're not just interested in the products. "Now more than ever, whiskey consumers are fi ercely interested in learn- ing about stories behind the brands they consume, and whiskey is no exception" says Yvonne Briese, VP Marketing for Diageo North American whisky. "They want to know the history, production, and especially, the people behind the brands." As a result, there's plenty of attention paid to the category. "This category is so white hot right now," says Larry Kass, Director of Corporate Communications of Heaven Hill Distilleries. "It's getting so much interest as not only a distilled spirits product and consumer pack- aged goods product, but a cultural phenomenon; that's a lot of what's driving this interest. We've just never seen the amount of attention and interest that's being paid to Bourbon and straight American whiskey. It's never been at this level clearly." The more apt question might be: What's not happen- ing among straight whiskey? Matt Blevins, Senior Brand Manager, Jack Daniel's Craft Portfolio at Brown-Forman, sums it up: "It's a dynamic and exciting place to be." Innovative Offerings A s it celebrates its namesake's 150th birthday, Jim Beam is rolling out several new additions to its portfolio. In August, the brand released its third fl avored whiskey, Jim Beam Kentucky Fire, which pairs Jim Beam's signature Kentucky Bourbon with cinnamon liqueur. Coming in at 70 proof, the 750 ml bottle has a suggested re- tail price of $15.99. "It hit a few select markets a few months ago and is now starting to reach every market nationally," Cohen says. "In the fi rst 13 weeks it's the sixth most successful in- novation in all of spirits. We're expecting a lot of positive momentum for Kentucky Fire." Cohen credits Beam's 2009 Red Stag launch as the pioneer for the brand's fl avor innovations. "It started a wave of innova- tion across fl avors and also was a catalyst for Classic Americana Heaven Hill's Bernheim Original Straight Wheat Whiskey American brown spirits—straight whiskey, Bourbon and rye—are booming. A TASTE FOR

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