Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire rolls out after successful trialsBy Becky Paskin
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire is being rolled out to five additional states following successful trials of the cinnamon-flavoured whiskey this summer.
Brand owner Brown-Forman launched the whiskey liqueur in Tennessee, Oregon and Pennsylvania earlier this year as a means to enter the burgeoning cinnamon shot market.
Its soft launch has been in direct contrast to the introduction of Tennessee Honey, which was simultaneously rolled out to 30 US states before almost immediate overseas expansion.
Upon its unveiling in March 2014, Brown-Forman admitted trials of Tennessee Fire were necessary to avoid cannibalisation of its superstar honey expression, which this year became the first flavoured whiskey to sell over one million cases.
“We’re being much more planned and thoughtful in how we’re rolling out Fire, compared with what we did with Honey,” said Jeff Arnett, master distiller of Jack Daniel’s.
“We are being mindful of how much whiskey we have in the warehouses and not wanting to oversell ourselves. There’s a much bigger opportunity out there for Fire that we’re taking advantage of right now, but as we see that we’ve got whiskey to support new markets we’re opening those up, so the future looks very bright for us.”
Measured launches in Oregon and Pennsylvania, which are both control states, enabled Brown-Forman to monitor any cannibalisation effect Tennessee Fire was having on Honey.
Confident the cinnamon expression will “add incremental value” to the Jack Daniel’s brand, the Louisville, Kentucky-based group is now rolling Fire out to five as yet undisclosed states.
Arnett added that the group hoped Fire would somewhat emulate the success of Honey. “The year Honey launched in the US (2011), all our other established extensions all went way up in volume,” he said.
“I don’t know that all the flavours you see are going to have staying power, but Honey definitely will, it has the best chance of still being out there 20-25 years from now. Cinnamon also has that ability, but there will probably be some other flavours that have just a three-year proposition then drop off.”
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire is designed to tap into the success of Sazerac’s Fireball, which grew sales from US$1.9 million in 2011, to US$61m in 2013.