UK launch for Bulleit rye and higher-ABV bourbon

Bulleit Rye BourbonDiageo is launching a higher-ABV version of Bulleit Bourbon alongside Bulleit’s rye whiskey in the UK on the back of increased demand for premium US whiskey.

Previously available in the UK at 40% ABV, Bulleit Bourbon is being introduced at 45%, making it consistent with the brand’s original US proof.

It otherwise retains the original recipe, which is 28% rye – double that of standard bourbons. It has also kept its familiar bottle design inspired by the American frontier era.

Founder Tom Bulleit, who was in the UK for the launch this month, said the move was welcomed by cocktail bartenders who preferred using a stronger bourbon with an especially high rye content and bold spicy character.

Bulleit Rye, which was launched in the US in 2011, is being introduced into the UK for the first time, also bottled at 45% ABV.

Made with 95% rye instead of the industry standard of 51%, it has a dry and spicy finish, suitable for classic cocktails such as a Manhattan, Old Fashioned and Sazerac.

Since its launch, Bulleit Rye has grown to become the largest rye whiskey in the US and has been consistently recognised in international spirits competitions including a Double Gold Medal at the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Nick Temperley, head of Diageo Reserve Brands GB, said: “In the UK, American whiskey is out-performing total spirits, with the bourbon category in particular showing strong growth.

“Both Bulleit Bourbon and Bulleit Rye meet this growing consumer demand for premium US whiskey, while responding to a current trend set by bartenders for rye whiskey-led cocktails.

“With rye being the cornerstone of the Bulleit Bourbon recipe, Bulleit Rye was a natural extension for the brand and we are confident that both our on- and off-trade customers will find both whiskeys an exceptional addition to their American whiskey offering.”

Tom founded the Bulleit Distilling Company and launched the brand 25 years ago after resurrecting a 150-year-old bourbon recipe that had been passed down through five generations, originating from his great-great-grandfather Augustus Bulleit.

The bourbon is crafted in small batches in Kentucky using pure limestone-filtered water and aged in charred American white oak barrels for four to six years. The ABV was reduced to 40% in Western Europe 12 years ago because of the popularity of lighter whiskeys.

Tom said: “My family’s whiskey-making legacy spans back to a time when opportunities in America were endless, and it is a dream come true that it is still thriving today.

“Much of our continued growth can be attributed to those who have fallen in love with our brand and recommended it to their friends, family and colleagues. We look forward to introducing these new whiskeys to UK consumers.”

Bulleit Bourbon and Bulleit Rye will be available at selected bars. Initial listings in London include NOLA Bar, Callooh Callay and Beard To Tail in Shoreditch, Steam & Rye in the City and the Nightjar at Old Street.

In the off-trade, the bourbon has a recommended retail price of £27 while the rye is £32.50, both in 70cl bottles.

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