Stateways Sept-Oct 2011

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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55 5 Cask of Stars 32 American whiskeys are taking center stage, applauded by a wider and more appreciative audience. By Tom Strenk "T hings are good in the world of North American whiskey," exclaims Yvonne Briese, vice president of marketing for Diageo North American Whisky, whose portfolio includes the Bulleit and George Dickel brands. "The category is exciting, very dynamic, a lot of great things are happening." Indeed, American whiskey is a vibrant category these days. Consumer interest has never been higher. Growth is up, especially in the premium and super- premium segments, where there has been a proliferation of new products, often limited editions that are much sought after. The rising tide has also floated a few previously moribund subsegments, like rye whiskey and unaged potions — a.k.a. white dog. American whiskey is finally taking center stage. "The product's time has come in terms of critical appreciation and consumer acceptance," posits Larry Kass, director of corporate communications for Heaven Hill Distilleries, whose wide-ranging whiskey portfolio includes flagship Evan Williams Black Label and Rittenhouse Rye as well as Elijah Craig and Parker's Heritage. "For years, bourbon was almost a second-class citizen to Scotch. Certainly that's not the case anymore; bourbon has taken its place in the pantheon of great whiskeys." In fact, in the superpremium category, bourbon kept pace with single-malt Scotch, growing in volume 16.2% in 2010, comparable to single-malt Scotch's 16.8% growth, according to industry statistics from the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS). Indeed, the American Straight Whiskey category gained 2.3% in volume in 2010, to just under 12.6 million 9-liter cases, according to the Beverage Information Group's 2011 Liquor Handbook. Jack Daniel's still leads the category, with sales of more than 4.6 million cases, followed by Jim Beam, with sales of more than 3 million cases. Other top sellers include Evan Williams (up 4.0%) at sales of slightly less than 3 million cases, and Maker's Mark, which increased a whopping 13.9% to 915,000 cases. In fact, high-end bourbon had a stellar 2010, according to DISCUS (Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S.), StateWays s s September/October 2011

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