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Anchor Distilling Targets 100,000 Cases This Year

February 7, 2013

Since launching in 2010, spirits producer and importer Anchor Distilling has built a portfolio of artisanal, upscale offerings. The San Francisco-based company, which is the spirits arm of Anchor Brewers & Distillers, now handles nearly 43 brands. The portfolio grew by 30% to 70,000 nine-liter cases in 2012. This year, driven by recent portfolio expansion, Anchor Distilling is projected to hit 100,000 cases.

Anchor Distilling handles Berry Bros. & Rudd-owned brands such as No. 3 Gin, The King’s Ginger Liqueur and Pink Pigeon rum, in addition to other agency brands including Chinaco Tequila, Hirsch Bourbon and the BenRiach and GlenDronach single malts. It also produces its own brands like Old Potrero American whiskey and Junipero gin.

Anchor’s largest brand is the Luxardo liqueur franchise, which is projected to hit around 20,000 cases this year. Featuring Amaretto, Limoncello and Sambuca offshoots among others, the range has been gaining momentum with its flagship Maraschino expression, which is now a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts. Retailing at around $29.95 a 750-ml., Luxardo Maraschino was one of Anchor’s fastest-growing labels last year, rising by 45% to 7,000 cases.

Another top-seller is Berry Bros. & Rudd’s single malt Scotch The Glenrothes, which moved from Campari America to Anchor last May. Currently projected at around 10,000 cases in the U.S., The Glenrothes is led by its Select Reserve label ($49.99), which accounts for approximately 8,000 cases. “Because we’re more niche and premium, a brand like Glenrothes works well in our portfolio,” says Anchor Distilling president David King, adding that sales for Glenrothes were significantly higher in the last quarter of 2012 than in the same period for 2011.

Anchor also is ramping up focus for some of its more recent additions, including Nikka Japanese whisky, which joined the portfolio in November with two expressions—Taketsuru Pure Malt and Yoichi Single Malt ($69.99-$129.99). Anchor’s first two orders of Nikka whisky sold out immediately, and the company has increased order volumes and plans to add additional Nikka expressions. Anchor is similarly bullish on Hophead vodka ($29.99), a new beer-inspired spirit with a distinctive “hoppy” flavor.

Anchor is currently looking to add its first Mezcal brand. According to King, other categories with potential include Cognac and American and Irish whiskies, where Anchor already plays. “It’s a brave new world out there,” he says. “We’re seeing people move away from light beers and plain vodkas and toward brown spirits and stronger flavors.”


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