SB’s most-read stories in May
From underdog stories and celebrity spirits launches to iconic bottle makeovers and award-winning whiskies, we’ve rounded up the 10 most popular articles on thespiritsbusiness.com last month.
The UK might have had its fair share of Bank Holidays in May, but that didn’t stop the world from producing newsworthy headlines every day of the month, many of which caught our readers’ attention.
Keep scrolling to find out our 10 most popular stories in May.
10. House Tequila beats named brands in US bars
The news that consumers are still opting for ‘house/well’ Tequila over premium brand names was our 10th most-read story last month.
According to Union, a data-driven hospitality engagement platform, unspecified brands not listed on menus are still the most popular Tequila orders among guests at Union venues, and Tequila is responsible for almost one-third of all spirits sales at Union venues throughout the US – putting the category ahead of whisky.
9. Campari unveils new bottle design
For the first time in a decade, Italian brand Campari gave its bottle design a shake-up, and who doesn’t love a good makeover story? Not our readers.
The new look aims to be a visual homage to the city, which Julka Villa, group head of marketing, Campari Group, said combined “effortlessness and understated elegance, just like Milano itself”.
The bottles boasts “sharp, bold and confident lines” created to reflect “the sleek minimalist fashion and contemporary design that Milano is known for,” with a modern and straightforward edge representing true Milanese craftsmanship.
8. Lagavulin and Caol Ila unveil Fèis Ìle whiskies
To mark Fèis Ìle festival, one of the biggest events in the Scotch whisky calendar, Diageo-owned Islay distilleries Lagavulin and Caol Ila created limited edition single malt whiskies.
Lagavulin produced the Fèis Ìle 2023 14-Year-Old, which had matured in a combination of American and European oak, and finished in Armagnac casks for the first time, while the Caol Ila Fèis Ìle 2023 13-Year-Old was matured in Pedro Ximénez and oloroso Sherry-seasoned butts, and contains sweet fruit notes complementing a peat and peppery spice.
7. Top 10 spirits launches in April
Another month, another appearance for our round-up of the best spirits launches to have graced the shelves and bars of the world.
April saw an eclectic month of releases, from the perfect base for your non-alcoholic ‘G&T’ this summer, to a coffee liqueur with a tropical kick for those looking to level-up their Espresso Martinis.
6. Brad Pitt debuts The Gardener Gin
There must have been something in the water in May, because the month saw more celebrity gin launches than we in the UK saw sunny days. The most popular of the launches we covered was Ocean’s Eleven star Brad Pitt’s debut of The Gardener Gin, created in partnership with former Tanqueray master distiller Tom Nichol.
The Gardener is a London Dry gin that celebrates the ‘night and day art de vivre’ (art of living) embodied by the French Riviera.
5. Around the world in 10 award-winning whiskies
To mark World Whisky Day (20 May), we took our readers on an around-the-world adventure, one award-winning whisky at a time.
From single malt expressions to creative mash bill experiments, there was something for every whisky drinker in our top 10 list, and all of them had previously walked away with a Master or Gold medal at one of our blind-tasting competitions.
4. Whisky brands bottle coronation specials
Whisky producers couldn’t help but jump on the coronation bandwagon in May, and our readership didn’t seem to be mad about it, making our coverage of the commemorative releases the fourth most-read story of the month.
English whisky producer Bimber, Scotland’s oldest privately owned Scotch distillery Bladnoch, and even the King’s Aberdeenshire retreat, Balmoral, all bottled celebratory drams to mark the historic occasion.
3. Jack Daniel’s loses trademark dispute
We love an underdog story, and so too do our readers it would appear, as the news that the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) ruled in favour of two comedians in a trademark dispute against whiskey giant Jack Daniel’s last month was the third most-read story of the month.
Greg Hemphill and Ford Kiernan launched their whisky Jack & Victor in 2021, which is named after their characters in the BBC Scotland sitcom Still Game.
The Tennessee whiskey brand argued Jack & Victor could mislead consumers into thinking it was endorsed by the brand, and that Jack & Victor would benefit from its global reputation, but the UKIPO disagreed and ordered Jack Daniel’s to pay £3,200 (US$3,958) to Jack & Victor to cover the costs of the hearing.
2. What is the most-ordered whisky in US bars?
Our readers were intrigued to learn which whisky comes out on top in US bars last month, making it the second most-read story of May.
According to data-driven hospitality platform Union’s OnPrem Insights report, Irish brand Jameson is the top whisky consumed at Union bars and restaurants in the States.
For brand retention, the report examined the likelihood that a guest who bought a specific brand would repurchase the same brand on their next visit if they consumed the same spirit category, and the report found Jameson had the strongest retention of any whisky brand at 48%.
1. Beam Suntory teams up with Keanu Reeves
Is Keanu Reeves one of the most-liked actors in the world right now? All of our data points to yes, as the story that the Speed actor collaborated with House of Suntory on a campaign to mark the brand’s centenary was the most popular for the whole of May.
The short Suntory Anniversary Tribute campaign video was created by Sofia Coppola, director of Tokyo-based film Lost in Translation, and tells the story behind the Japanese whisky maker. It stars Reeves, who previously appeared in a Suntory Reserve advert in 1992.