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Diageo’s Buchanan’s Bidding To Transcend Scotch Whisky Category

November 29, 2016

Propelled by a strong following within the Latino community, Buchanan’s is currently the fastest-growing Scotch whisky brand in the U.S. market, having expanded by 55% since 2012, according to Impact Databank. After a 7% bump to 455,000 case depletions last year, the blended Scotch label is within striking distance of the half-million-case mark for 2016. Growth is being led by the core Buchanan’s 12-year-old DeLuxe ($32), as well as the brand’s Special Reserve 18-year-old ($75), notes Brian Cox, Diageo’s director of Scotch whisky for North America.

“Buchanan’s momentum is increasing this year. We intend to break some significant milestones in the next 12 months,” Cox tells SND. “Buchanan’s lives and breathes within a unique brand territory, which we call ‘energetic luxury’. (It has) the vibrancy and edge of super-premium Tequila and luxury vodkas.” Backed by a new “Es Nuestro Momento” (It’s Our Moment) campaign and fueled by favorable demographic trends, Cox says Buchanan’s “could one day transcend the Scotch category, just as other successful brands have transcended the Canadian whisky, Cognac or Tequila categories,” such as Crown Royal, Hennessy and Patrón.

With the Es Nuestro Momento campaign, Buchanan’s is doubling its media spend this fiscal year to capitalize on the favorable conditions, Cox adds. The campaign, which rolled out this fall, stars Grammy-winning musician J Balvin. It encourages younger Latinos to embrace their heritage and highlights the increasing Latino influence on mainstream culture in the U.S. The push includes both English- and Spanish-language spots and is running across TV, digital and out-of-home channels.

“We’re increasingly recruiting new young adult male Scotch drinkers in the older Millennial age group in top markets like California, New Jersey, New York, and Florida,” Cox explains. “And while the brand has long been adored by Mexican-Americans, we’re seeing a huge rise in popularity among U.S. consumers of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent, as well as second-generation, bi-cultural consumers of Mexican descent.”

To further boost growth, Buchanan’s is adding smaller package sizes like 200-ml. and 50-ml. bottles, which are key for certain occasions in urban multicultural markets, and attacking the on-premise with new initiatives including Casa Buchanan’s feature nights and bottle service programs. Additionally, the brand recently underwent a repackaging effort aimed at delivering a more contemporary, premium feel. —Daniel Marsteller

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