The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2011

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Page 52 of 120

COVER STORY he angels above Kentucky must be pretty happy. After all, for as long as bourbon has been made in the Bluegrass State (and else- where) they’ve been getting the “angels’ share”—or all the whiskey that evaporates during the aging process. But Beam Global recently decided that if the angels were getting their portion of America’s most distinctive spirit, then the devil deserved his cut as well. Enter Beam’s new Devil’s Cut t Bourbon. To create this fiendishly tasty whiskey, Beam uses a propri- etary process to extract the liquid trapped inside the wood of barrels that have held extra-aged, six-year-old Jim Beam bourbon. (The process involves “agitation,” but we signed a pact not to disclose any more than that.) After this rare extracted elixir is mellowed and balanced, it is re-added to extra-aged Jim Beam to create 90-proof Devil’s Cut. Devil’s Cut is the latest in a series of recent innovations that has put Beam at the top of the bourbon industry and is keeping it there. In fact, while the bourbon market was up 4.3 percent in the past 12 months, Beam outpaced the industry with sales gains well over 11 percent. This success in part can be attributed to some of the company’s new, cutting-edge bourbon prod- ucts—Red Stag, Maker’s 46 and Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve—and the recently launched Devil’s Cut is designed as yet another strategic path forward in Beam’s bourbon juggernaut. Setting Priorities “Bourbon is the number-one prior- ity at Beam,” states Kevin George, the company’s Global CMO, who is charged with keeping his finger on the pulse of fluctuating consumer preferences, ever-shifting worldwide drinking trends and endlessly branch- ing marketing avenues. With a roster of bourbons that spans the range from front-porch traditional to downtown avant-garde, “Our ability to talk to consumers end-to-end in bourbon is unique,” says George. Just as restaurant-goers are looking for more spice on their plates, today’s consumers are looking for more full-flavored products when it comes to 52 / the tasting panel / july 201 1 New 90-proof Devil’s Cut is the latest bourbon innovation from Beam, made by a unique proprietary process. spirits, George notes. Devil’s Cut, with its higher proof and dose of wood- extracted elixir, is answering this call. And, George notes, the audience for bourbon has begun to swing from the “silver-haired demographic” toward younger 20-somethings coupled with today’s cocktail culture. Thanks to flavor innovations like Red Stag, women, too, are now making up a swelling percentage of bourbon drinkers. These factors help explain why Beam’s bourbons are growing by leaps and bounds; Maker’s Mark is up 16 percent and Basil Hayden’s is up “in the high double digits,” according to George. The new Devil’s Cut will only add fuel to this growing trend. PHOTO: FRED MINNICK

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