We’d like to remind our readers that our food marketing agency is the Canadian agency of record for DISCUS. Here’s an insightful article by Nicola Carruthers, published on January 23, 2024, discussing the positive trajectory of rye whiskey in the market.
Titled “Rye Smile: America’s Original Spirit Gains Momentum,” the piece delves into the challenges faced by rye whiskey producers, who remain optimistic about its growth potential across global markets. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus), rye whisky volumes have surged by an impressive 1,275% between 2009 and 2019.
Discus economist Hasan Bakir notes that the recent performance of rye whiskey has been remarkable, with supplier sales doubling to US$356 million in 2022 from US$175 million in 2017. The category has also witnessed a rise in market share, reaching 7% in 2022 from less than 1% in 2009.
The article emphasizes that the small subcategory still has room to grow, attributing its success to ongoing premiumization trends and the proliferation of craft distilleries in the US. Experts, including Greg Mefford, international sales director for whiskey producer Luxco, believe that rye whiskey’s resurgence is driven by its role in classic American cocktails and the growing appreciation for fuller-bodied American whiskeys.
Mefford highlights Luxco’s double-digit growth in the past year, particularly in established whisky markets like the UK, Germany, and Australia. The article explores the perspectives of various whiskey producers, such as Redemption Whiskey and Stauning, showcasing their innovative approaches and growth strategies.
Jeff Kozak, CEO of Vermont rye whiskey producer WhistlePig, identifies strong markets for rye in the UK, Japan, Korea, and Australia. He plans to build small hotspots of activity in countries like Dubai and work with ambassadors to spread the WhistlePig brand message.
The long-term growth of the rye whiskey category is seen as dependent on a thriving on-trade craft cocktail culture. Chris Morris, Brown-Forman’s master distiller emeritus, believes that markets with established craft cocktail scenes, including the US, the UK, Germany, France, Australia, and Canada, have been successful for premium rye whiskeys.
Despite the challenges of producing rye whiskey, characterized by its spicier and more peppery flavor profile, the article highlights efforts by distilleries such as Woodford Reserve to address these challenges. Woodford Reserve made a commitment to buy grain from local farmers in Kentucky to bring rye production back to the region.
In conclusion, the article underscores the global growth of rye whiskey production, emphasizing its positive impact on the overall whisky category. It suggests that increased competition and growing awareness contribute to the growth of the rye whiskey category, making it an exciting and dynamic market to watch.