In an article titled “Whiskey Innovation 2021: Must-Visit New Projects in Whiskey,” Forbes praised established distilleries and start-ups that are finding new ways to bring unique and quality products to the marketplace. The American Business magazine went on to illustrate how ingenuity is not in short supply in the world of whiskey and bourbon.
In fact, many new brands are making waves with their innovations, not to mention competing with the finest beverage developers in the industry. Their consumers are not only purchasing more American whiskey, they also are finding more products that suit their personal tastes, including finer selections. This, in turn, is incentivizing both old and new alcohol beverage brands to go back to the drawing board.
New Storytelling Methods
History has always been a major selling factor for whiskey in general. In fact, whiskey’s history is what formed its sophisticated, unadulterated identity and set it apart from other spirits like vodka. As such, distillers and brands understood that their ability to compete with these other spirits depended on a narrative rooted in their carefully crafted product.
Today, well-established whiskey and bourbon brands are finding themselves faced with numerous “new kids” in the business. In response, they are evolving to meet the storytelling expectations of modern times. While celebrity endorsements are a popular go-to marketing strategy, many distilleries and brands are embracing storybranding and social media tactics, for example, to create stronger brand connections with their customers.
Fighting the old perception that whiskey is for middle-aged men, some beverage brands are aiming to redefine and market themselves to a younger audience. Now, whiskey is a beverage that can be mixed, shot, and – according to one source – set on fire. These diverse and exciting developments are shaking-up whiskey’s once subdued nature.
Flavored whiskey is another new trend. Particularly popular with millennials, flavored whiskey sales grew to a 6.4% share of the overall whiskey sales category from 2021 to date – an increase from 5.5% in 2020 and 4.8% in 2019. A few top-selling flavors range from cinnamon and vanilla to American honey, apple, and even peanut butter.
A “revival” is occurring in every aspect of the whiskey distilling process according to lifestyle source Truly. Distillers are experimenting with, completely altering, and adding their own flair to a once cut-and-dry formula. For example, more distilleries are matching casks with the type of whiskey they’re maturing, such as using larger casks, lighter char levels, and finishing casks specific to that region. Some are even revisiting the age-old idea of aging their whiskey casks aboard ships.
With the increasing accessibility of whiskey and affordable ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails, many high-end and exclusive brands are working to educate their new and old customers alike about the value and quality of their product. And the data shows that such a business endeavor is promising.
American millennials, for starters, have shown their interest in luxury goods. On a larger scale, high-end and super-premium spirit brand sales accounted for 82% of the revenue increase in 2021. American whiskey was among the top five spirit categories in 2021, as well, and jumped from $288 million in sales to $4.6 billion.
If you have an idea for a brand, business, or distilling process, you are in the right place. At Brindiamo Group, we like to think of ourselves as the one-stop-shop for businesses operating in the alcohol beverage space.
Contact us today about strategy, branding and marketing, and more. We look forward to working with you.