Friday, November 22, 2013

Diageo Announces New Bourbons, Not That It Needs Them, It Says

According to Shanken News Daily, Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes revealed on Tuesday that the company is prepping two new bourbon brands for release next year. The first, Orphan Barrel, will be priced from $75 to $125 a bottle and is scheduled to appear in the first quarter of 2014.

The other will be called Blade & Bow and come out later in 2014.

Menezes provided no details about either product but Diageo reps are telling on-premise accounts that Orphan Barrel will be sold only to them. ('On-premise' means bars and restaurants, as opposed to stores.) It supposedly will be made up of 'lost' barrels 'discovered' at Diageo's Stitzel-Weller Distillery (SW). Diageo stopped distilling there in 1992 but has continued to use the facility for maturation and blending.

Diageo has long been secretive to the point of paranoia about what it's actually doing at Stitzel-Weller, so it's hard to believe anything they say. A Diageo rep also claimed Orphan Barrel will be given only to four exclusive accounts in the Chicago area.

Diageo is particularly secretive about what it matures at SW, but it is widely believed that Bulleit Bourbon is among the products aged there. In his remarks Tuesday, Menezes predicted that Bulleit will reach the precious million-case threshold "over time," which is not exactly a bold prediction. It's at 600,000 now. Sales in the U.S. grew by 27% last year, but 60% of Bulleit's sales are outside the U.S., in Canada, Australia, Mexico and the U.K.

In response to continuing speculation that Diageo will acquire Beam Inc., Menezes noted that Diageo's share of the North American whiskey market is 23%. Most of that is attributable to Crown Royal Canadian Blended Whisky. The next biggest chunk is Seagram's Seven Crown American Blended Whiskey. He claims that means Diageo and Brown-Forman are tied for #1. Brown-Forman's flagship, of course, is Jack Daniel's.

This week Diageo also announced "a multiyear marketing partnership with the NBA, which will make Diageo the exclusive spirits partner of the league." The main brand beneficiaries are Crown Royal and Ciroc Vodka with the men's league and Baileys with the women's.

“Our brands have the unique privilege of participating in some of life’s greatest celebratory moments the world over and what better partner to bring those moments to life than the NBA,” said Peter McDonough, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, Diageo. “From the players and competition to fashion, music and nightlife, the NBA opens the door for us to leave a lasting impression with adult fans in truly innovative and meaningful ways around the game.”

1 comment:

Colin said...

Diageo may not need to buy Beam, but they might need to a better marketing staff. Blade & Bow? They know here in America, we didn't have knights and medieval stuff right? Kentucky's best medieval whiskey? I guess frontier whiskey wasn't old timey enough.