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Knob Creek Enjoys High-End Growth, Unveils First Flavored Entry

June 24, 2013

As the upscale segment continues to fuel Bourbon’s rise, Beam Inc.’s super-premium Knob Creek brand is well positioned to continue its U.S. climb. The franchise, which was up more than 15% last year to reach 193,000 cases, has been bolstered largely by a recent wave of high-end innovations, including Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve ($39.99 a 750-ml.) and Knob Creek Rye ($35.99).

Launched in 2011, Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is a 120-proof offering aged for nine years. In its relatively brief time on the market, the expression has already gained notable traction, this year rising 32% by value for the 52 weeks ended May 25, according to recent Nielsen data.

Knob Creek Rye, which made its debut last year, has been similarly well received, says Rob Mason, Beam’s senior director, Bourbon. “We’ve exceeded even our own expectations (with Knob Creek Rye), and are receiving extremely positive responses from consumers and bartenders,” he says, adding that Beam is well equipped to deal with a tightened rye supply. “We have plenty of liquid that’s aging and plenty of capacity to continue producing. We’re bullish on Knob Creek Rye and our other rye brands.”

This fall, the brand plans to enter yet another burgeoning segment with its first flavored Bourbon, Knob Creek Smoked Maple. Rolling out nationwide this September, the new offering was created to commemorate Knob Creek founder Booker Noe, who enjoyed smoking meat and crafting his own maple syrup. Flavored whisk(e)y is currently the fastest-growing spirits segment in the U.S. market, according to Nielsen, which reports that its volume jumped by 117% to 990,000 cases for the 52 weeks ended May 25.

Although pricing for Smoked Maple has yet to be announced, the entry will join its Knob Creek counterparts in the super-premium range, according to Mason.

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