The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2013

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BRANDS TO WATCH Pointing Toward Success by Fred Minnick / photos by Edward Zeltser BIRD DOG WHISKEY IS POISED TO BECOME A CATEGORY LEADER Bird Dog Whiskey ready for action at Atlanta's Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits. F lavored whiskey is on fire right now. The market is calling—loudly—for flavored whiskeys as fast as distillers can come up with them. The first quarter of 2012 showed a 154.8 percent sales increase in this category, according to Nielsen. More recent research from ConsumerEdge Insight indicates that nearly 45 percent of whiskey drinkers drink flavored brands at least some of the time—and that 27 percent of flavored whiskey drinkers don't like the taste of the unflavored version. It's safe to say that flavored whiskey is more than just a category extension—it's a certified category in and of itself. Here to Stay There's no doubt that the flavored whiskey category is here for the long haul, says David Halliday, General Manager for Atlanta's Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits. "Flavored whiskey is certainly in its infancy, but the category is here to stay," says Halliday, a long-time spirits retailer who's seen his share of liquor fads. 48  /  the tasting panel  /  april 2013 And there's one flavored whiskey brand that Halliday believes deserves prominent placement in American liquor stores—Bird Dog Whiskey. "Bird Dog is very visible and aggressive," Halliday says. "They want to be front row and center. Unlike someone that rolls out a brand and you never see them again, these people are not only hands-on, but they are here to help liquor stores." With the catchy slogan Bird Dog Whiskey—This Dog Don't Bite, the 80-proof Bird Dog Blackberry earned a Gold Medal at the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. And the brand has stayed true to its outdoorsy, all-American "field and stream" name, partnering with conservation-oriented organizations such as the Coastal Conservation Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Ducks Unlimited to help preserve scarce wildlife habitat. As with the hunt-club set, Bird Dog's appeal to the Millennial generation is palpable for Halliday: "It's for a generation behind me that likes sweetness—and that's what the market is calling for these days."

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