JanFeb 2018 Stateways

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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StateWays | | January/February 2018 13 W hile all the talk the past few years has been about the astounding rebirth of the American whiskey category, pro- ducers of many of the world's best- known imported whiskeys are similarly counting their lucky stars. In fact, most marketers no longer think of whiskey in terms of discrete national styles but rather as one giant category, with consumers shifting back and forth on a journey of discovery of the various qualities of the spirits (from wherever they are made). "We see that consumers aren't following a traditional whiskey journey anymore, but instead they are experi- menting among all the whiskeys - Scotch, Irish, Ameri- can. They're not category-loyal at all," says Sona Bajaria, vice president, Glenlivet and high-end Irish Whiskey at Pernod Ricard USA. That mode of experimentation has opened the doors for distillers all over the world to fi nd new ways to innovate and enhance core brands, with limited-time offerings as well as new line extensions that appeal to newcomers to the category and create broader brand understanding and interest. "The single malts category is gaining momentum and shares since there is a growing consumer interest in 'craft' products," says Sandhya Padmanabhan, senior brand manager, Johnnie Walker for Diageo. "This has caused a shift in experimentation when it comes to consumer purchase habits, as they are curious to seek out what's new or seemingly trendy in the spirits space. Consumers are looking to enjoy more quality, craft cocktails featur- ing specialty ingredients, and we see Single Malt Scotch whisky being used as a key ingredient in combination (not substitution) with bourbon and Irish whiskey." Both the growth in bourbon and rye, and the fas- cination with small distiller wares, are fueling new in- terest in whiskeys. "All whiskey categories are seeing growth correlated with the popularity of American whiskey, as well as the boom of craft whiskey," says Heather Howell, brand director, Emerging Brands for Brown-Forman. "Consumer palates are continually changing, which has led to exploration across all cate- gories. The consumer profi le for Irish whiskey and sin- gle malt Scotch is evolving, with an increase in female drinkers and younger drinkers." WHISKEYS are Growing, Regardless of Origin by JACK ROBERTIELLO

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