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Diageo relaunches I.W. Harper Bourbon in US

Diageo has relaunched its I.W.Harper whiskey brand in the US with two new Bourbon expressions, following a 20-year absence in the country.

I.W. Harper Bourbon will return to the US with new packaging and two new expressions

First founded in 1879 by Isaac Wolfe Bernheim, I.W.Harper was predominantly sold in the US.

However, when the popularity of brown spirits surged in Asia during the 1990s, the brand’s focus shifted overseas, particularly to Japan, and distribution in its home market was halted.

Now brand owner Diageo intends to relaunch the brand in America with two new expressions: I.W. Harper Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (41% abv) and the limited edition I.W. Harper 15 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (43% abv).

While both expressions have been aged “most recently” at the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, the liquid itself is from different sources.

The 15-year-old variant was distilled at the Bernheim Distillery while owned by United Distillers, while the NAS contains Bernheim whiskey blended with “other fine whiskeys”.

Doug Kragel, Diageo North American whiskey ambassador, said: “I.W. Bernheim was an innovator and true captain of the bourbon industry. It’s a real pleasure to pay homage to his classic, beloved whiskeys with two new versions for today’s Bourbon aficionados.”

I.W. Harper’s packaging has also been given a modern twist with an updated diamond label and signature “Bowing Man”.

The brand will be rolled out across the US in tandem with an integrated marketing initiative, which will involve sampling at local whisky shows.

I.W. Harper Straight Bourbon will carry an RRP of US$34.99, while the 15-year-old will retail for US$74.99.

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