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Diageo Plans New Bourbon Launches For 2014, Sees Bulleit Reaching 1 Million Cases

November 20, 2013

Diageo says it will take the innovation route in its bid to increase its presence in the thriving Bourbon sector. Speaking to reporters in London yesterday, Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes revealed that the company is prepping two new Bourbon brands for next year. The first, Orphan Barrel, will be priced from $75 to $125 a bottle and is scheduled to roll out in limited quanities starting in the first quarter of 2014. Another new Bourbon label, Blade & Bow, is slated to launch later in the year.

Menezes added that Diageo continues to see strong growth on its existing Bourbon, Impact “Hot Brand” Bulleit, which has been doubling in size each of the past few years. This year, Menezes said Bulleit will probably get to 600,000 cases globally, and can reach 1 million cases over time. In addition to the U.S., where Bulleit was up 27% to 235,000 cases last year, according to Impact Databank, the brand is sold in Canada, Australia, Mexico and the U.K. “We’ll continue to look at opportunities to expand our distribution further,” Trish Mannion, Diageo North America’s senior brand manager, American whiskey, told SND recently.

While analysts have suggested that Diageo could look to acquire Jim Beam or another established Bourbon to expand in the segment, Menezes also pointed out that the drinks giant already holds a 23% share of the total North American whisk(e)y market, including not only Bulleit and other American whiskies like 7 Crown, but also Canadian whisky Crown Royal. That share ties Diageo with Brown-Forman for the top position in the North American whisk(e)y category, he noted.

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