Beam Suntory eyes Japanese white spirits

6th October, 2016 by Kristiane Sherry

Following a Japanese whisky push in global travel retail, Beam Suntory is now “looking at” opportunities in Japanese white spirits, including the potential development of a vodka or gin.

Beam Suntory is to release single grain The Chita into select TR markets

After a Japanese whisky push in GTR, Beam Suntory is now considering developing a Japanese vodka or gin

Speaking at the TFWA World Exhibition, currently held in Cannes, France, Michael Cockram, global marketing director for travel retail, said the company is currently introducing display units in the channel to give its Japanese whisky brands a “home”.

“It also means in the future we can expand into other Japanese spirit areas so we’re interested in looking at ideas like eventually white spirits, vodka, gin, maybe,” he said. “We’re looking into it,”

Cockram added that more news on the development of a Japanese white spirit would follow early next year.

Beam Suntory GTR is currently marketing a series of Japanese whisky releases in the channel, including single grain expression The Chita, and Hibiki Harmony.

For the first half of 2016, the drinks group’s global net sales – spanning spirits, wine, RTDs and beer, all channels – fell from 477 billion yen (US$4.7bn) year-on-year to 468bn yen (US$4.6bn).

Despite the losses, “strong sales” were noted internationally, with “robust” growth in Western Europe, Russia, Australia, India, Southeast Asia and Global Travel Retail, thanks to Beam Suntory’s Peated Malts of Distinction campaign and the performance of Canadian Club, Courvoisier and Maker’s Mark.

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