The Hiram Walker & Sons distillery in Windsor, Ontario, where our Canadian whisky brands are produced, was recognized as Distillery of the Year by the Canadian Whisky Awards for the second year in a row.
Still in their development phase, but catching on quickly, our craft whiskies continued to outperform the dynamic North American super-premium whisky category. Pike Creek, Lot No. 40 and Gooderham & Worts (collectively known as the Northern Border Collection) are winning people over in droves – from trendy millennials to serious whisky enthusiasts. Retail volume grew 14.7% and value was up 13.4% compared to fiscal 2018.
There was a noticeable uptick in Pike Creek sales following a packaging refresh and price repositioning. To introduce this accessible craft whisky to a wider audience, Pike Creek also sponsored the final two events in the Grand Slam of Curling schedule and ran television commercials for the first time.
With Lot No. 40, we’ve traditionally focused on the bartender community and key influencers, with an expert team of brand ambassadors travelling across Canada, and recently into select US and western European markets, to share their brand love. In fiscal 2019, we added a number of consumer-facing activations including The New Old Fashioned Night Market, which ran over two nights in Toronto and attracted more than 1,000 people. Guests were able to enjoy Lot No. 40 cocktails, support local artists over the holiday season, and experience unique visual and interactive installations while listening to live music.
Having entered into a five-year agreement with Hotaling to represent the Northern Border Collection in the US, which took effect July 1, 2018, we were pleased to see an increase in distribution of 14%, driven largely by Pike Creek, Gooderham & Worts and Ungava gin.
Of course, our craft whiskies wouldn’t go anywhere were it not for their superior quality. All three won top awards in prestigious competitions:
- Pike Creek, Lot No. 40 and Gooderham & Worts were awarded Gold medals at the 2019 Canadian Whisky Awards. In addition, Pike Creek Rum Barrel Finish was awarded Sipping Whisky of the Year.
- Pike Creek 21 Years Old European Oak Finish won World’s Best Corn Whisky at the 2019 World Whiskies Awards while Lot No. 40 11 Years Old Cask Strength won World’s Best Canadian Rye Whisky. Gooderham & Worts Little Trinity (17 Years Old) was awarded Best Canadian Blended Limited Release at the World Whiskies Award for 2018.