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Impact’s “Hot Prospects” Showcase A Bevy Of Whiskies In Growth Mode

October 30, 2018

With brown goods driving growth across the U.S. spirits market, Impact’s “Hot Prospects” list features a wealth of up-and-coming whiskies increasingly making their presence felt. Of the total 33 spirits brands to earn Hot Prospect awards this year, 13 brands—or nearly 40% of the list—were whiskies, with American, Irish, Canadian, and Scotch offerings all represented.

Among the American whiskey brands on the list is the largest spirits Hot Prospect, Basil Hayden’s. The Beam Suntory brand, which is now at more than 180,000 cases in the U.S., has been active on the innovation front, releasing its first-ever permanent extension—Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye ($40 a 750-ml.)—late last year. In July, Basil Hayden’s further tapped into growing demand for rye whiskey with its limited edition Two By Two Rye label ($45), which blends 5- and 7-year-old Kentucky straight rye with 6- and 13-year old Kentucky straight Bourbon.

Elijah Craig Small Batch and Larceny, two of Heaven Hill’s Bourbon labels, also made the grade. Launched into select U.S. markets in 2012, Larceny has grown exponentially despite a relatively short time on the market. The wheated Bourbon—which has performed particularly well among male consumers—sold 85,000 cases on 42% growth last year. Portfoliomate Elijah Craig Small Batch is now above 110,000 cases.

Constellation’s High West was also named a Hot Prospect, after doubling to 80,000 cases over the past three years. Incoming Constellation CEO Bill Newlands recently told SND that High West has been among the company’s most successful acquisitions of recent years, and that the Utah-based distillery is working hard to meet rising demand.

Other American whiskies meeting Hot Prospect criteria include Rebel Yell, Jefferson’s, Eagle Rare, Tin Cup, and Redemption. A newcomer to the Hot Prospects list, Redemption jumped from 14,000 cases in 2014 to 53,000 cases last year, bolstered by a pipeline of high-end specialty offshoots like Barrel Proof Rye ($400) and a 36-year-old Bourbon ($1,200). Redemption was acquired by Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits in 2015, and continues to expand its production and distribution.

From the Irish whiskey category, Jameson Caskmates continues to rise, roughly tripling in size to above 120,000 cases in the past two years. And William Grant & Sons’ Monkey Shoulder represents the Scotch category, nearing 80,000 cases last year. Two flavored whiskies also earned Hot Prospect honors, Jim Beam Vanilla and Crown Royal Salted Caramel, reflecting the successful efforts of marketers in bringing new consumers into the whisk(e)y category.

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