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Canadian Whiskey Gets A Makeover

on 11/02/11 at 11:13 am


New line extensions, products and marketing programs are increasing Canadian whisky visibility.

The global economic crisis hasn’t spared the beverage alcohol industry, but Canadian whisky is one segment that has not been hurt by the downturn. Indeed, the overall category gained 1.1% in 2009 to more than 15.6 million cases, according to the Beverage Information Group, and end-of-year projections for 2010 suggest that the growth is continuing. Long thought of as an affordable spirit, Canadian has also leveraged its light and mixable profile to benefit as the cocktail culture evolves from primarily white spirits to include a wide range of whiskies. Additionally, Canadian whisky and beverage alcohol retailers are getting a boost from consumers’ recent preferences toward dining and drinking at home.

“It’s been a tough struggle over the past few years, but we’re doing well,” said Alan George, Canadian Mist Brand Manager with Brown-Forman. “The economy has definitely posed a lot of challenges, but it’s very encouraging that consumers are still supporting us.”

In fact, Canadian whisky suppliers have been stepping up their activity, introducing new brands and line extensions. For example, the aforementioned Canadian Mist launched its Canadian Mist Black Diamond expression in six U.S. markets in early 2010. The product was created as a result of consumer surveys that indicated people would respond positively to a slightly higher-priced product with more flavor that could be used to celebrate everyday special occasions, according to the company. Blended at 86 proof, the product boasts a higher sherry and rye content to give the whisky more flavor and a smoother finish.

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