American single malt maker Westward Whiskey has grown quickly in line with rising appreciation for innovation in its home market, and has now singled out Australia as its next opportunity.
Westward, which is one of a growing band of so-called ‘new world’ distillers to settle in the craft brewing hub of Portland
in Oregon, has risen to become one the largest independent distillers of American single malt whiskey.
The construction of its new distillery in 2015, when it became the anchor of Portland’s Distillery Row, enabled it to increase capacity six-fold, and in September last year things ramped up again.
Thanks to a strategic investment from Diageo via its craft spirits accelerator Distill Ventures, Westward announced an ambitious expansion plan to increase production by 40 percent this year.
With new markets in mind, Westward’s first major export push is now kicking off in Australia.
The reasoning behind this choice, according to CEO and co-owner Thomas Mooney, is that Westward brings a style that is “both familiar and revolutionary to whiskey enthusiasts in Australia”.
According to Mooney, Australia is considered a “thought-leader within the global craft whiskey community”.
Australia, along with Canada and the UK, is also one of the top three markets for both US spirits exports and American whiskeys. US exports to Australia have grown 64 per cent over the last decade.
In Australia last month to launch Westward was lead distiller Miles Munroe, who manages the Westward distilling production team and oversees all operations within the distiller’s warehouse – a 28,000 square foot facility that maintains an inventory of more than 3000 barrels of ageing whiskey.