How William Grant & Sons is growing its whisky market in Australia

July 20, 2020
By Alana House

William Grant & Sons Australia & NZ General Manager Colin Rochester has revealed how the distiller is expanding whisky appreciation in the region.

Rochester noted in the Drinks Guide 2020-21 edition: “The William Grant & Sons Australia business performed strongly over the last 12 months, growing share to 4.9% of spirits with double digit growth well ahead of the spirits category.

‘The whisky category continues to show strong evolution in the Australian market, however for many consumers there is still an intimidation factor that prevents them from trialling.

“Through high-profile marketing programs and delivering education via our brand ambassador team we want to demystify the category to help all our customers get their fair share of the $70million RSV opportunity that exists within malt whisky.”

Rochester said that Glenfiddich, the worlds’ most awarded single malt whisky, had maintained its leadership position during the past year, growing share versus the category.

“A more distinctive and premium execution of the flagship 12YO and 15YO bottles hit market in early 2020, which in addition to the launch of the Whisky Wanderer bus and personalised bottle gifting program throughout 2019, helped deliver growth across all channels,” he said.

Monkey Shoulder truck

Rochester noted that Monkey Shoulder continues to welcome new drinkers to the whisky category, with its “playful personality helping break down traditional preconceptions of Scotch to introduce new drinkers to whisky through the art of accessible cocktails”.

According to the 2019 Brands Report, compiled by industry magazine Drinks International, bartenders named Monkey Shoulder the best-selling and trendiest Scotch whisky on the market. It finished ahead of Johnnie Walker as the second best-selling Scotch, with Laphroaig in third place.

Monkey Shoulder launched a free door-to-door cocktail delivery service in May, partnering with some of Sydney’s top bars. Kicking off on World Cocktail Day (May 13), the Monkey Mixer – Australia’s Largest Cocktail Mixer Truck (above) – made its way across Sydney, delivering cocktails created by some of the city’s most talented bartenders.

Gin on the rise

Gin continues to perform strongly in Australia, leading the growth of all spirits categories over the last year.

According to IRI data gin was also the best performer during the ‘COVID quarter’ in the off-premise. Dollar growth change and share of total glass spirits growth for gin was +33% and +28% respectively.

“Hendricks maintains its leadership position within super premium gin and to support the growing consumer demand for discovery, Hendricks Mid Summer Solstice was launched across all channels in late 2019,” Rochester said.

“This, the first major innovation from the brand offers drinkers a refreshing floral gin that is perfect for long drinks and summer spritzes and has proven to be a great recruitment tool for bringing new drinkers into gin from adjacent spirits categories.”

Sailor Jerry launches Savage Apple

Spring 2019 saw Sailor Jerry enter the RTD segment with the launch of Sailor and Dry and Sailor and Cola, targeting shoppers looking for the convenience of a ready made serve to enjoy at home.

Savage Apple

“This July will see the launch of Savage Apple, an apple infused Sailor Jerry that can be enjoyed neat or in a long drink with ginger as part of a broader initiative to expand occasions on the Sailor Jerry brand,” Rochester said.

The 70 proof spiced rum joins the booming apple-flavoured spirits market and was released into the on-premise in March before its retail debut.

William Grant’s #StandFast campaign during shutdown

Rochester also discussed local initiatives by William Grant & Sons as part of the global #StandFast campaign to help the on-premise during shutdown.

StandFast Family Dinners

The ambassador team in Australia organised a three-phase campaign that kicked off with a Family Dinners program, providing more than 8000 meal boxes of fresh food being sent to over 800 bartenders around the country. Each pack came with William Grant & Sons products to enjoy alongside the meal.

Phase 2 offered upskilling, education and brand immersion, while phase 3 is focused on helping businesses rebuild for re-opening.

Have you tried the new Drinks Guide website?

The new-look Drinks Guide website features William Grant & Sons products plus much more.

Products are listed by category, sub category, brand, variety, ABV plus pack/unit size and also provides you with the ability to search by supplier, category or product.


Read Rochester’s full Drinks Guide article, plus viewpoints from other industry leaders here.

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