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Jim Beam, Jack Daniel’s To Extend With White Whiskies

October 23, 2012

Propelled by the craft distilling and mixology movements, white whiskies have been increasing in visibility in recent years. Now, whiskey heavyweights Beam Inc. and Brown-Forman are set to enter the segment through their Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s franchises.

Beam’s new entry, Jim Beam Jacob’s Ghost (named for founding distiller Jacob Beam), is a clear whiskey aged one year in charred, white oak barrels. The 40%-abv offering will roll out next February, retailing at $22 a bottle.

Meanwhile, Jack Daniel’s Unaged Rye is slated to begin hitting Tennessee in December, with other selected U.S. markets to follow in January. A combination of 70% rye, 18% corn and 12% malted barley, the new Jack extension is also 40% abv, but will sell at a hefty premium to Jacob’s Ghost, retailing around $50 a bottle.

The new products from Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s will join a host of craft-distilled white whiskies already on the market, including California-based Craft Distillers’ Low Gap ($40), which won Whisky Advocate’s Artisan Whiskey of the Year (North America) award. Bigger players in the segment include Heaven Hill—with its Trybox New Make and Rye New Make offerings ($25)—and Sazerac’s Buffalo Trace Distillery with its White Dog Mash No. 1, White Dog Wheated Mash and White Dog Rye Mash ($16 a 375-ml.).

While maintaining a presence in the category, Buffalo Trace thinks white whiskey will remain a niche segment in the U.S. “A little variety is nice, but a decade from now I don’t think you’ll find a hundred different White Dogs available at your local liquor store,” says Kris Comstock, Bourbon brand manager at Buffalo Trace. “As they try white whiskies, consumers are discovering there are good reasons for aging, to give the spirit depth, flavor and sweetness.”

 

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