Jan 11 2012
THE BOOZE BIN
By Rosalie Morton (@rosaliemo)
A love of bourbon simply runs in my family. I forever will fondly remember my very southern grandmother, Kitty, sipping her Jim Beam Manhattan on rocks. This appreciation was passed straight down to me, and what can I say? I’m a trendsetter. Bourbon and whiskey sales are booming.
Okay, so it’s not me. But seriously, what is it? Is it the sexy Don Draper and his Canadian Club? Does the recession have us embracing those prohibition days, especially with HBO’s Boardwalk Empire intriguing audiences? Or is it simply for the love of our country, despite these hard times? After all, in 1964, Congress declared bourbon “a distinctive product of the United States.”
In the past, those wanting to ride the whiskey wave might have taken one sip and decided its distinctive taste was not for them… But we have a very interesting case on our hands, and I believe it’s the perfect storm. Don Draper made bourbon cool, and distilleries have a solution for those who can’t stomach the real deal—flavored whiskeys.
Guess what? It’s working. Sales of flavored whiskey have risen 136% this year over last (Nielsen).
According to a recent New York Times piece, although traditional bourbon sales still skew 80-20 male to female, with the recent release of flavored bourbon, gone are the days of attracting solely stereotypical older white males. Distilleries have found that African-Americans, Hispanics and women are enjoying their new creations. In fact, Red Stag, the black cherry bourbon from Jim Beam, skews 50-50 male/female and a bit younger in age than traditional Jim Beam.
Distilleries are being very smart about how they market these flavored whiskey wunderkinds.
Take Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey. Website? Not so much: http://www.jackdaniels.com/jackhoney/
But the Facebook page? Try 502,136 fans, for the win: http://www.facebook.com/jackdanielshoney. And, these fans are engaged. Last week’s simple, tongue-in-cheek status update: “The night is yours. Don’t screw it up.” 868 likes. I’m in PR, and I’m envious.
Jim Beam’s Red Stag isn’t one to be shown up. The team at Red Stag made a smart move, sponsoring Kid Rock’s Born Free Tour. Women love him. Men like him too. He attracts the right age. He mixes country and rock and roll. Good call, Jim Beam, good call.
So is the bourbon trend here to stay? Ask everyone in line at my favorite whiskey bar in LA, Seven Grand, or whispering their password to enter the super secretive speakeasy, The Bourbon and Branch in San Francisco.
My money says this is only the beginning. What do you think?
Photo credits: Mad Men (MadMenDVD.org) and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey.
For more on bourbon trends and news, I’d suggest taking a peek at the bourbon blog