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Brown-Forman Officially Unveils Tennessee Fire, Taking On Sazerac’s Fireball

March 13, 2014

Brown-Forman has formally announced the test launch of a new cinnamon-flavored Jack Daniel’s offering beginning in April. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire will be available in Oregon, Pennsylvania and Tennessee for a suggested retail price of $22 a 750-ml. The 70-proof offering is crafted with Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 whiskey and infused with a proprietary cinnamon liqueur.

The launch of Tennessee Fire—news of which has been trickling out since Brown-Forman trademarked the name last fall—follows the success of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey. The honey-flavored offshoot has overtaken earlier entrants to the flavored whiskey category such as Jim Beam Red Stag and Wild Turkey American Honey and prospered in the U.S. as well as globally, reaching 1 million cases worldwide last year, according to Impact Databank.

With entry into the cinnamon whisk(e)y segment, however, Jack Daniel’s may be taking on a tougher challenge. In this arena, there’s a dominant player already entrenched—Sazerac’s Fireball brand, which has grown from just 450,000 cases in 2011 to nearly 1.9 million cases last year, including an increase of more than 1 million cases in 2013 alone.

Thriving in the on-premise shot format, Fireball sells a few dollars down the pricing ladder from Tennessee Fire, and also has a slightly lower alcohol content, at 66 proof. While it has the cachet of the Jack Daniel’s trademark behind it, Tennessee Fire and its marketers will need to convince the younger consumers driving cinnamon whisk(e)y that a trade-up is in order.

In other Brown-Forman news, this month the company is releasing Early Times Kentucky whisky’s Mint Julep 2014 commemorative Kentucky Derby bottle nationwide ahead of the May 3 event. The 30%-abv pre-mix bottle will be available in limited quantities at a suggested retail price of $15.99 a 1-liter and will feature the artwork of Louisville native Ashley Cecil.

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