US – American multinational drink and brewing company Molson Coors is set to launch its first blended American whiskey as part of its beyond the beer aisle campaign.
Named Five Trail, the new whisky made with Coors malt and Rocky Mountain water is scheduled for launch in September under the banner of the new Coors Whiskey Co.
According to a statement from Molson Coors, the 95-proof, ultra-premium whiskey, was distilled, blended, and bottled in partnership with Bardstown Bourbon Co. in Bardstown, Ky.
It’s made from a blend of Colorado single-malt whiskey and three bourbons, cut to proof with Rocky Mountain water and packaged in 750-milliliter bottles.
The whiskey is the first full-strength spirit from Molson Coors and represents the company’s latest step beyond the beer aisle, a key part of a strategy to diversify and premiumize its portfolio of beverages.
“This is not just about acquiring a brand or working with a distiller on a blend,” says Kimberli Fox, Molson Coors’ marketing manager for wine and spirits.
“This is a true collaboration that marries Colorado provenance with innovative distilling techniques of pioneering Kentucky-based distillers.”
Molson Coors’ decision to begin its spirits journey with a whiskey is premised on the fact that the spirit has been enjoying unbridled growth over the past two decades.
According to IWSR data, in 2020, Whisky outpaced Vodka to become the fastest-growing spirit category, clocking a growth of 4.6%.
Beer which is Molson Coors’ forte has however been experiencing declines as consumer taste and preferences shift.
In 2020, IWSR data showed that the beer market in the US continued its annual volume decline finishing the year down -2.8% mainly driven by the domestic beer category which finished the year down -4.4%.
This declining local consumption has already influenced Molson Coors kickstarting plans to retire 11 of its economy beer brands.
With up to 11 beers getting off the shelves, Whisky seems to be the best bet for Molson Coors with the company hoping that the built-in affinity of beer drinkers for a whiskey produced by a brewery will help it gain a footing in the rapidly expanding market.
“While whiskey drinkers are a very loyal group, discovery is a key theme. They love to explore, expand their collections and try new things,” Fox says.
“That makes this a very interesting place for us to play as a beverage company. Within whiskey, there’s so much rich territory to explore and you don’t have to stay within the confines of a singular consumer expectation.”
That gives Coors Whiskey Co. an opportunity to deliver what Fox says is unique, limited-edition whiskeys made with high-country barley from its malthouse in Golden, Colo., and recipes that could change year-to-year.
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