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Next-gen whisk(e)y drinkers ‘more experimental’

New consumers to the global whisk(e)y category will be “more experimental” than the last generation, according to Fiona West, Brown-Forman’s new global brand director, BenRiach Distilleries.

Brown-Forman's Fiona West believes the next generation of whisk(e)y drinkers will be "more experimental"
Brown-Forman’s Fiona West believes the next generation of whisk(e)y drinkers will be “more experimental”

Speaking at the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes, which closed today (7 October), West said Brown-Forman’s recent acquisition of the BenRiach Distillery Company and its trio of Scotch brands would see them built for the “next generation”.

Brown-Forman, historically a stalwart of the American whiskey category with brands including Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve, completed its US$405m deal – and its return to Scotch – in June 2016.

The company entered the Irish whiskey category in 2015 with the acquisition of Slane Castle Irish Whiskey.

West, who took up her role four months ago to develop the BenRiach brand, along with GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh, said Brown-Forman is investing in its Scotch footprint for the long term. She previously served as Brown-Forman’s marketing director for Northern Europe.

“The next generation of premium whisk(e)y drinkers will be even more experimental that the last,” she said, adding that she would expect more cross-over in consumption between the different world regions.

While she cautioned it would “take time to get under the skin of these brands”, she spoke of “extremely exciting inventory” in the BenRiach Distillery Company warehouses, hinting at a variety of finished Scotch releases to come.

She also pointed to Brown-Forman’s distribution network of 165 countries and the new routes to market the BenRiach trio will benefit from.

Earlier in the week, Brown-Forman used its press conference at the TFWA World Exhibition to reinforce its commitment to its struggling Finlandia vodka brand.


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