US – Pernod Ricard, the world’s second-largest wine and spirits seller, is planning to create an American Whiskey business unit to manage the marketing and production of its premium, challenger American whiskey brands.

The French company best known for its anise-flavored pastis apéritifs Pernod Anise and Ricard Pastis said the move is an effort to capitalize on the strong growth and growth potential of its American whiskey portfolio.

The new dedicated unit will be responsible for achieving the business objectives and leading future strategy development for Pernod Ricard’s American whiskey brands, while also leveraging the company’s broad network to drive global growth, the company highlighted.

 The business unit will follow two similar entities, Gin Hub and House of Tequila, that Pernod Ricard created in recent years to drive even greater success in their respective spirits categories.

Ann Mukherjee, Chairman, and CEO of Pernod Ricard North America said the new entity will accelerate the company’s journey to become a leading player in American whiskey in both U.S. and global markets.

Mukherjee added that considering the company’s investments over the last few years in Jefferson’s, Rabbit Hole, Smooth Ambler, and TX have proven very successful, it’s time to drive even more outsized growth for these brands.

This will be by managing and building world-class marketing and operations approach since American whiskey is an extremely vibrant spirits category, she stated.

According to the Distilled Spirits Council, American whiskey volume in the US has been accelerating over the last decade, shooting up from 16 million 9-liter cases in 2011 to 29.7 million in 2021.

 Exports of American whiskey have also shown strong growth, with annual sales now exceeding 20 million cases.

The council expects American whiskey sales to account for a significant amount of Pernod Ricard USA’s total volumes within the next 5-10 years owing to the enormous growth potential that the company’s American whiskey export business has.

Mukherjee continued: “We are committed to ensuring that the infrastructure, marketing investment levels, and innovation support behind each of our brands are in line with our overall ambition.”

The result will be further accelerated growth from a ‘new fashioned’ whiskey portfolio focused on pushing boundaries rather than adhering strictly to tradition.”

The strategic shift comes when the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has successfully registered ‘Scotch Whisky’ as a certification trademark in the US, the industry’s largest global market, worth almost £800million (US$982m) yearly.

Gaining recognition of Scotch Whisky as a trademark strengthens the legal protection for the drink in the US, which is already protected under the US Federal Code, and will make enforcement against counterfeit products being sold or passed off as Scotch Whisky easier, according to Beverage Daily.

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