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Infinium Spirits Sees Big Things Ahead For Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey

February 4, 2020

It’s been less than two years since San Diego couple Steve and Brittany Yeng launched Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, but the brand is already causing a stir in the U.S. market. After striking a national sales and marketing partnership with the Underwood family’s Infinium Spirits last spring, the Yengs saw Skrewball branch out from its Southern California home base and reach full national distribution by the end of last year. The brand depleted 162,000 9-liter cases in 2019, according to Impact Databank, and with its momentum continuing to increase, Infinium believes it could potentially double in size this year. SND executive editor Daniel Marsteller spoke with Marcel Durand, Infinium’s vice president of marketing, to get the latest on the up-and-coming flavored whiskey label, which is bottled at 70 proof and retails at $27 a 750-ml.

SND: What’s the story behind the Skrewball brand?

Durand: Before this product took off, Steve Yeng previously was an owner in restaurants and bars, and he was known for a peanut butter whiskey shot. For years people were telling him that he needed to bottle it, but he couldn’t seem to replicate anything he would want to market. Steve’s wife Brittany has a degree in chemistry, and eventually she got involved. Ultimately, they were able to come up with a whiskey-based product with peanut butter flavoring that Brittany had figured out. They went to market in their hometown of Ocean Beach in July of 2018, and the momentum just took off. When they connected with Infinium, we began expanding outside of California, and it’s become a phenomenon. So many times people have said, “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

SND: Who are Skrewball’s consumers, and how are they drinking it?

Durand: It’s a natural shot item, but it’s also very versatile. It can be enjoyed neat or on the rocks, and it makes a great complement to an Old Fashioned. You can make a great Martini with it, and people love it in desserts, over ice cream, or in a milkshake. On our social media, it appears to be skewing slightly female, but we’re not exclusively targeting one demographic yet. We’re going after older millennials, both male and female. We’re advertising quite a bit—doing a lot with streaming radio and podcasts—and our social media is very solid. You hear a lot of people saying things like, “I didn’t think I liked whiskey, but I liked this.” It seems to me that Skrewball could be another catalyst for growth for the category, bringing new consumers into whiskey.

SND: Are you seeing much regional variation in its performance so far?

Durand: Skrewball has a head start in California, but it’s also doing great in New York, as well as in some of the Upper Midwest markets that tend to like cordials and sweeter spirits. But we’re seeing consistently strong results across the board.

SND: How big do you think the brand can become by the end of 2020?

Durand: Let’s put it this way: We’re ramping up and getting ourselves prepared to do a few hundred thousand cases. I’ve been involved with incubating lots of brands, and on the one hand, to say we’re going to go from 160,000 to 300,000 or 400,000 almost sounds ridiculous. But it also almost feels, at this point in time, that we could still be undershooting what it could do. Time will tell. We got off to a great start in January, selling more than we did in December.

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