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Flavoured whiskey growth set to soar

Last year’s double-digit growth of Wild Turkey American Honey – achieved five years after the expression was first launched – underlines the bright future for flavoured whiskey.

Wild Turkey American Honey
Wild Turkey American Honey grew 45% in 2012

The Bourbon brand owned by Gruppo Campari, which revealed its 2012 financial results this morning, grew by 45.6% last year, driven by sales in the US and Australia.

The first flavoured whiskey to be launched in 2007, American Honey has led a raft of honey and other flavour innovations from US whiskey brands spotting the potential to be had from the success of flavoured vodka.

According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), over 40% of all spirits in the US have an additional flavoured extension, with over 220 flavours now available.

Beam Inc’s Jim Beam Bourbon brand achieved a 10% sales growth during 2012, driven largely by its successful Honey and Red Stag (cherry) variants, the key markets for which are the US, UK, Germany and Australia.

Jack Daniel’s, which has also seen double-digit growth for its Tennessee Honey release, believes the success of flavoured vodka in the States has driven innovation in the whiskey category.

“There’s a lot of consumer acceptance for flavoured whisky as flavoured vodka is very large in the US,” John Hayes, global marketing director for Jack Daniel’s told The Spirits Business last year.

Jeff Arnett, Jack Daniel’s master distiller, even hinted at the possibility of further flavoured extensions of the brand.

Analysts expect the trend of flavoured whiskey to continue as brands lay roots in more emerging markets.

“This kind of product could have an opportunity in emerging nations as well, which is something that hasn’t been tapped into until now,” added Spiros Malandrakis, alcoholic drinks analyst at Euromonitor International.

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