Brown-Forman to help bars develop American whiskey


JW Steakhouse whiskey back bar

Leading drinks company Brown-Forman is to help the UK’s on-trade to tap into the opportunities for American whiskey including guidance on styles, display and serves.

As part of its new “American whiskey vision”, the company has identified areas in which the category is currently under-trading and how to harness its potential in the on-trade and support the spirit’s continued growth.

Education is at the heart of the strategy, seeking to demystify the category and build a clearer understanding among the trade and consumers about the different styles of American whiskey available in the UK.

The company has developed a flavour code that identifies three distinct flavour profiles – laid back and mellow, full and spicy, and big and bold – that can be used to map the different styles of whiskey.

This is to help bars and restaurants to select a balance of styles and flavours appropriate to their establishment and clientele and to help their customers to trade up and explore the category with the whiskeys that are right for them.

Brown-Forman’s vision for American whiskey in the UK, titled “Welcome to the World of American Whiskey: The Story of Man and Oak” also offers guidance on how to display, merchandise and serve American whiskey to encourage consumers to explore the category further.

The company is embarking on an American Whiskey trail by taking “The Story of Man and Oak” on the road over the next 12 months, showcasing its vision for the category to customers around the UK.

Pictured is the back bar of JW Steakhouse, the restaurant specialising in American whiskey at Grosvenor House hotel in London.

American whiskey is currently worth over £540million in the UK and is growing by 14.8%, according to figures from research groups AC Nielsen and CGA Strategy. It is thriving on the back of the continuing trend for premiumisation, casual dining and craft cocktail culture.

Brown-Forman is the world’s number-one producer of crafted American whiskey with brands such as Jack Daniel’s Old No 7 Tennessee Whiskey and Woodford Reserve as well as whiskey liqueur Southern Comfort, distributed in the UK through Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands.

Crispin Stephens, head of commercial planning and activation for Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands, said: “Premium spirits are driving value in the on-trade, and American whiskey is absolutely key to this growth, making this a very exciting time for the category.

“As the category leader, Brown-Forman is committed to ensuring growth is maintained by supporting our customers in their efforts to engage and educate consumers.

“With this new vision, we hope to revolutionise the way our customers approach management of the category and give them the tools to unlock the great potential of American whiskey.

“American whiskeys have great stories to tell and we have invested significant resources in doing so through the American whiskey vision, which takes an impartial category approach to ensure its credibility with our customers.

“The response from customers so far has been overwhelmingly positive as they realise the potential commercial value that a new approach to American whiskey category management could bring.”

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