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The Balvenie Launches New Roadshow, Building On Double-Digit Growth

August 2, 2013

William Grant & Sons’ The Balvenie single malt is hoping to reach new consumers and burnish its artisanal image this year with a roadshow that will feature whisky tastings and masterclasses along with a collection of handcrafted products curated by fashion designer Todd Snyder.

The tour, which will run from August through November and hit Pebble Beach, Dallas, New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, will showcase The Balvenie’s malts and honor the craftspeople behind Optimo Hats, Kelly Guitars, Offerman Woodshop and Golden Bear Sportswear among others. A related Balvenie-sponsored film, “Handmade: A Celebration of American Craftsmanship,” will debut on Discovery Channel in October.

The Balvenie’s senior brand manager, Andrew Weir, said the roadshow and Discovery Channel documentary will reinforce the brand’s reputation for craftsmanship, which has contributed to its strong U.S. performance in recent years. After a 16% increase to more than 70,000 cases in 2012, The Balvenie is up about 40% since 2009, and growth is continuing this year.

“The term ‘handcrafted’ is somewhat overused these days, but we can demonstrate it with our distillery, which still does floor malting, has its own cooperage and coppersmith and a malt master, David Stewart, who’s been there 50 years,” said Weir.

The Balvenie’s value is growing well ahead of volume due to its high on-premise skew and the increasing share of older, upscale variants in the product mix, like 14-year-old Caribbean Cask ($66), Port Wood 21-year-old ($170) and the recently launched Double Wood 17-year-old ($130). Further up the ladder, one of Balvenie’s recent limited releases, Tun 1401 Batch 5 ($250), was named Whisky Advocate’s Speyside Malt of the Year for 2012. “We’re very fortunate to have a good supply of older whiskies to draw from. The 14-year-old Caribbean Cask is one of the fastest-growing single malts on the market,” said Weir.

While male professionals continue to account for much of the Balvenie’s audience, Weir sees single malt’s consumer base becoming increasingly diverse. “We’re seeing more women come into the category, and in general a younger demographic,” he noted. “And most of those newcomers are experimenting with malts in the on-premise.”

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