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 23 C ream liqueurs are more that just blends that contain Irish whiskey. Rising consumer interest in craft and premium products has extended into the category. New products coming out include high-end tequilas and rums blended with cream — along with other fl avor innovations. And the cate- gory has benefi tted greatly from the mixology movement. A number of producers have helped lead this transition as the category continues to grow beyond Irish cream. Here are two com- panies that have helped bring greater innovation and fl avor variety to the category. MCCORMICK DISTILLING Tequila Rose from McCormick Distilling was among the fi rst cream liqueurs on the shelf that did not feature Irish whiskey. A mix of tequila with strawberry liqueur, the brand launched in 1993. Twenty-fi ve years later, it has blossomed into a consistently successful seller worldwide. "It's always had appeal for women as an easy-drinking way to participate in the tequila category," explains Mick Harris, McCormick Distilling managing director. "People will tag their girlfriends in photos of Tequila Rose with the line 'This makes me think of you'," says Noelle Hale, McCormick Distilling communications director. "The brand has a very viral nature. That's what's kept up its buzz. People will post, 'You gotta go try that pink tequila liqueur'." McCormick Distilling also produces Keke (pronounced key-key) Key Lime Pie Cream Liqueur. Launched in 2000, the brand tastes very much like its name suggests. Consumers can drink it straight, over ice or, as McCormick Distilling increasingly advertises, in cocktails. Keke is produced in a way that allows for mixed drinks, where other cream li- queurs might come up short. "Because of its PH profi le, you can mix it with other citrus liqueurs and not have a curdling ef- fect that you would get with other cream liqueurs," Harris explains. "If you did that with other similar products, normally you would get a glass full of sludge." Originally the brand was conceived as a follow-up to the success of Tequila Rose. Keke, unfortunately, didn't fi nd as large a market as its tequila-based predecessor. By Harris' own admission, the brand was a "tremendous loss" for McCormick Distilling. Undeterred, the company recently rebranded and reimagined Keke. Harris and his team believe they can tap into the current mixology movement. New marketing has focused on cocktails, in- cluding a relaunched website that offers up recipes with photos. McCormick Distilling also offers a craft take on Irish Cream. Five Farms is a farm-to-bottle, single-batch Irish Cream. The company co-ops with fi ve farms in Cork County, Ireland to source the dairy cream, which is mixed within 48 hours of creation with triple-distilled Irish whiskey. "The concentration of Irish whiskey also sets the brand apart," Harris says. "Most Irish creams contain less than 1% Irish whiskey. The rest of the alcohol is neutral grain spirits. Five Farms contains 10% Irish whiskey. You can really note the depth of the whiskey content and the lux- urious mouth-feel from the farm cream." by KYLE SWARTZ DEFINING THE CREAM LIQUEUR CATEGORY

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