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Eyeing Bourbon Drinkers, Edrington Relaunches Naked Grouse As A Blended Malt

April 5, 2018

Edrington is targeting the small but growing blended malt Scotch whisky market with a revamp of its Naked Grouse label. Originally part of the Famous Grouse blended Scotch lineup, the new Naked Grouse is a mix of four single malt Scotch whiskies: The Macallan, Highland Park, Glenturret, and Glenrothes. Retailing at $35 a 750-ml., the 43%-abv expression was matured in first-fill Oloroso Sherry casks for six months, then chill-filtered prior to bottling.

Edrington is initially focusing the relaunch on three U.S. markets—Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. The company tells SND the release was driven in part by the rising popularity of single malt Scotch, as well as its desire to capitalize on a new generation of experimental whisk(e)y enthusiasts.

“The consumer we’re going after with Naked Grouse is far different from that of Famous Grouse,” says brand manager Chris Vogt. “We’re targeting a younger whisk(e)y drinker, a Bourbon drinker, someone looking for a different sort of liquid. Naked Grouse is our way of reaching Millennials, through a fun brand which doesn’t take itself as seriously as other Scotch labels out there.”

Vogt says the new whisky offers an approachable alternative to single malts at retail, but will also see a push in the on-premise. “The price point allows bartenders to actually put it on the menu and see it turn well, too,” he notes. “Ultimately the goal is to get into more markets each year, and eventually have a national footprint,” Vogt says. “But we want to grow Naked Grouse the right way, by educating consumers and getting the trade interested in what blended malts have to offer.”

Naked Grouse will take on William Grant & Sons’ Monkey Shoulder whisky in the blended malt Scotch market. Monkey Shoulder, which also retails around $35, has been growing strongly in recent years, rising 30% to 58,000 cases in the U.S. in 2017, according to Impact Databank. —Julia Higgins

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