American Whiskey sails to Australian shores


American Whiskey distillers are inspired by the rise of “premiumisation” in the Australian 'Dark Spirits' segment. This is a great insight for up and coming premium Australian Whisky producers wanting to gain traction in the local market place.


Wednesday 20th June, Sydney – Whether served “neat,” “on the rocks” or in cocktails, American Whiskey is fast becoming Australia’s distilled spirit of choice.

Total retail sales of American Whiskey in Australia have reached the USD$1.03 billion mark, up 44% from 2005, and this figure is only projected to grow as Australians find themselves increasingly choosing American Whiskeys and distilled spirits.


Last week, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, America’s national trade association representing the leading producers of distilled spirits in the U.S., stepped onto Australian shores to showcase some of the finest American distilled spirits, including brands from a number of small American distilleries who are looking to break into a thriving Australian market. These include Corsair Artisan Distillery, the first craft distillery in Nashville since prohibition, House Spirits Distillery, the pioneer of America’s craft-distilling resurgence, and Red Eye Louie's Vodquila, a special blend of ultra-premium vodka and imported super premium tequila, who all participated in The Drinks Industry Trade Show this week in Darling Harbour to showcase the best of American Whiskey and distilled spirits.


The Distilled Spirits Council believes the revival of aged brown spirits in Australia is in part due to premiumisation. As the Australian drinking culture shifts to “quality over quantity,” the desire to drink less and purchase more expensive, exclusive and premium spirits has changed the way consumers treat alcohol.


“Premiumisation continues to drive whiskey sales in Australia with Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey and American Rye Whiskey all enjoying a huge boom. In 2017, U.S. spirits exports to Australia were valued at USD$ 127 million, up 12 percent from 2016 with whiskey accounting for approximately 80 percent of the total making Australia the third largest export market for U.S. distilled spirits,” says Robert Maron, Director of International Affairs at the Distilled Spirits Council.

Australia has also witnessed a cocktail renaissance in recent years with mixologists looking to American Whiskeys due to its versatility and unique mixability. In particular, there is a resurgence of Rye Whiskey, the predominant whiskey in the United States before Prohibition, as mixologists look to the past for inspiration.

“The American whiskey sector is dynamic and there is an American whiskey for every palate; from a sweet Bourbon Whiskey with hints of caramel, to a smooth Tennessee Whiskey with charcoal notes, to an American Rye Whiskey with a spicy and peppery finish,” Robert Maron continues.


With premiumisation on the rise and the renewed interest in cocktail culture, distilled spirits like American Whiskey are fast becoming adult consumers’ tipple of choice and it is a whiskey business indeed.

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