There has never been a better time to be a whisky drinker in Australia. Consumers are spoiled for choice with a wide variety of domestic and international offerings lining the shelves of liquor stores across the country.
For distillers this is something of a mixed blessing. The growing range of whiskies and other spirits is indicative of a booming market, but also one in which there is fierce competition for new and existing customers. The challenge for distillers is finding a way to cut through the noise and differentiate themselves.
William Grant & Sons, the world’s third largest producer of Scotch whisky, is experimenting with a new way to break out from the pack. It has recently launched its Ailsa Bay brand in Australia, with a subtle tweak to its packaging to highlight the unique flavour offered by this single malt.
The label carries the traditional ‘PPPM’ measure – a quantitative indicator of the ‘smokiness’ of the whisky – that can be found on competitors’ products. However, in a world first, Ailsa Bay also includes an ‘SPPM’ measure, which is intended to provide an indication of the sweetness of the whisky’s aftertaste. The hope is that this will help differentiate the product from other whisky offerings.
Moreover, it is also hoped it will draw in consumers who might typically pass whisky over because of the perception it is a smoky, bitter drink. At a tasting event hosted in Sydney on Monday evening, the push to broaden the consumer base was clear. Cocktails mixing Ailsa Bay single malt with Fever Tree tonic water highlighted the desire to reach out to gin drinkers and other who favour a sweeter drink.