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Beam Suntory ‘foremost a Bourbon company’

With the world’s most diverse whisky portfolio following the merger of Beam and Suntory brands, Beam Suntory will always be, “first and foremost a Bourbon company”, the firm’s CMO has declared.

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CMO Kevin George insists Beam Suntory is, and will always be “first and foremost a Bourbon company”

Beam Suntory remains the only company with Irish, American, Scotch, Canadian and Japanese whisky in its portfolio.

However, the brand’s CMO Kevin George insists Bourbon will continue to be a key focus in travel retail, especially in the US with the launch of small batch Bourbon Legends activations.

“Our focus will continue to be on Bourbon, which we are the world leader of, not only in the US but in export markets as well,” George told The Spirits Business.

“Japanese whisky is now next on that list because of the size and importance of the Japanese market to the business.

“The top places we are investing in are malt whisky, Scotch, Japanese and premium Bourbon for sure.”

While maintaining Bourbon at the core of the company, in addition, the brand will also be looking to drive growth among its peated malts under the collective title of Peated Malts of Distinction.

According to IWSR figures cited by Maxxium Travel Retail – which Beam Suntory is set to cut ties with in 2015 – peated malts gained 6.7% CAGR between 2010-2013 in EMEA, compared to just 2.3% for malts and 0.8% for blends.

“We are talking about whisky in the way consumers like to think about brands, so people who are into peat can get a great transition through the portfolio,” George continued.

“Then at the same time we may talk about all of our Bourbon whiskeys to consumers at once.”

Suntory’s spirits merged with Beam’s portfolio in September, following the completion of Suntory’s $16bn acquisition of the drinks firm in May. 

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