Absolut vodka rebounded after a challenging fiscal 2018, with retail volume growing by 1.7%. Much of the growth was attributed to our new consumer engagement platform, which resonated strongly with Canadians (read our top story “Driving Sustainable Progress”). Piloted in Canada in the fall of 2018, the platform focuses on Absolut’s deeply held commitment to a more progressive society and a more sustainable planet.
Results were also buoyed by special activations such as compelling store and window displays created with liquor board customers for Absolut Sequin Limited Edition. The perfect gift, this limited edition bottle has a unique sequin coating that reveals unexpected dimensions and colours when touched.
Absolut Lime continued its strong growth trajectory. Flavoured vodka is the fastest growing category in the vodka market, and we’re expanding our offering to capitalize on the trend. Our latest addition, Absolut Grapefruit, was on store shelves as of June 2019. Made with grapefruit and other natural flavours, Absolut Grapefruit has no added sugar, which enhances its appeal.
Jameson Irish Whiskey
Jameson Irish whiskey remained the clear leader in the dynamic Irish whiskey category and was the top value-gaining spirits brand in Canada. Not only did Jameson surpass the 250,000-cases-shipped milestone, but it also captured market share – both causes for celebration.
New innovations, creative activations and the Canadian launch of the brand’s global Taste, That’s Why campaign contributed to Jameson’s strong performance, while supporting long-term brand building. The Taste, That’s Why messaging serves as an ongoing reminder that Jameson has always been about the exceptional taste of its whiskey.
In March, we launched Jameson Caskmates IPA, a triple-distilled, blended Irish whiskey finished in Irish pale ale–seasoned barrels, nationally. We also launched Jameson Ginger & Lime ready-to-drink cans in British Columbia, Alberta and Québec, as a way of recruiting the next generation of Irish whiskey drinkers and extending Jameson into new occasions.
In Ontario, there was strong sell-through of Jameson Caskmates Beau’s Edition, which was a partnership with the LCBO and Beau’s Brewery, a family-and-friends-run Canadian craft brewery. For this LCBO exclusive, Jameson Irish whiskey was finished in Beau’s Strong Patrick Irish red ale casks.
On St. Patrick’s Day, Jameson partnered with the Toronto Transit Commission for the second year in a row, wrapping certain Queen and King Street streetcars in green and giving free rides to passengers. While strong digital campaigns supported “Jameson verified” parties taking place in Toronto and Vancouver on St. Patrick’s Day, Jameson also ran national, retail and on-premise activations to keep the brand top of mind throughout the month of March.
Finished in Irish Pale Ale-seasoned barrels, Jameson Caskmates IPA Edition is an Irish whiskey with a little extra hop.
The Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch
The market for single malt Scotch whisky has continued to grow, and The Glenlivet is exceeding the category trend. In fiscal 2019, The Glenlivet regained top position as the number one brand family by volume in the single malt category. While The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve remained the top performer by far, shipments of The Glenlivet 12 Years Old, 15 Years Old and 18 Years Old also increased.
A key innovation was The Glenlivet Captain’s Reserve, a no-age-statement single malt whisky distinctively finished in American sherry and ex-cognac casks. Launched in Québec and then Ontario in fiscal 2019, this new product is off to a promising start.
Throughout the year, The Glenlivet was heavily supported through digital and social media, a strong brand ambassador program, collaborations with liquor boards on retail tastings, and a custom label program for gifting occasions. Also bringing the brand experience to life for target consumers were new partnerships with Golf Town and the RBC PGA Scramble. The Golf Town activation included in-store sampling connected to Father’s Day, while The Glenlivet Wild Card offered the chance to win a wild card entry into the RBC PGA Scramble to teams who opted-in for The Glenlivet Guardian membership.
With the cognac category booming globally, Martell cognac has become a strategic brand for Corby, and we’re working with the brand owner to put more resources behind it.
Our focus is on innovations like Martell Blue Swift, a unique spirit made of VSOP cognac that has been matured in French oak casks and finished in Kentucky bourbon casks – the first-ever spirit of its kind to enter the market. In addition to its distinctive taste, Martell Blue Swift boasts a contemporary bottle design – its sleek cylinder recalls the shape of bourbon casks, while the elaborate cut-glass detail on its base evokes classic crystal decanters.
As it redefines the boundaries of cognac, Martell Blue Swift is attracting new and younger drinkers. We’re partnering with our customers to ensure these consumers can find Martell Blue Swift on shelves in all the right retail locations. The brand will also be introducing Blue Swift to a higher-energy moment of consumption – and we hope to see it soon in our favourite night spots.