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Western Spirits’ Innovation-Driven Portfolio Making Waves In Flavored Whiskey, Vodka

October 6, 2015

With the flavored whiskey category asserting itself in the U.S. market, Western Spirits’ Bird Dog line of American whiskies has been soaring since its 2010 launch. Last year, the brand grew 86% to 115,000 nine-liter cases, earning Impact “Hot Prospect” honors.

Following the rapid success of its original Blackberry offering, Bird Dog received additional flavors Peach, Maple, Hot Cinnamon and a straight Bourbon. Early this year, the brand added Apple and Chocolate expressions, while last month Jalapeño Honey and Spiced ($19.99 a 750-ml.) debuted nationwide. Western Spirits tells SND its best-selling variants are the Blackberry and Peach offerings, and the line has done particularly well among its target Millennial consumers in markets like Texas, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida.

Western Spirits vice president of marketing, Jon Holecz, says the key differentiator with Bird Dog’s flavored whiskies is its higher proof. “We keep Bird Dog at 80 proof in all flavors, which allows you to experience the Bourbon base with the flavor. Other brands drop down to 66 proof or 70 proof on flavors, which we feel is too sweet,” he explains.

Joining Bird Dog as an Impact “Hot Prospect” is Western Spirits’ Twenty Grand vodka brand, which shot ahead nearly 39% last year to 75,000 cases. The super-premium, Cognac-infused vodka lineup includes Gold (80 proof) and Black (100 proof) expressions, as well as a straight vodka. Last month, Twenty Grand was extended with a Peach flavor ($29.99) while receiving fresh packaging across the range. The company also produces Bird Dog Peppermint Moonshine, as well as the Lexington and Calumet Bourbon brands. With growth ongoing, the Bowling Green, Kentucky-based Western Spirits is keeping an eye to innovation across the portfolio, with a number of developments in the works, Holecz adds.


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