Beam Global Spirits & Wine to link Jim Beam with sport in the UK

Beam Global Spirits & Wine to link Jim Beam with sport in the UK

Beam Global Spirits & Wine wants to link its Jim Beam brand to sport in order to combat Brown Forman's Jack Daniel's in the promising UK market for imported American whiskey and Bourbon.

Beam Global's distributor, Maxxium UK, will use the upcoming Super Bowl American Football match in the US to hone new marketing techniques for its flagship Jim Beam Bourbon in the UK. This year's Super Bowl will be broadcast live on the BBC and Sky Sports in the UK on 6 February.

Maxxium has chosen the city of Newcastle to trial sports-themed campaigns around Jim Beam, including sending cheerleaders to sports bars, sampling activities and competitions in the off-trade.

Bourbon sales are predicted to rise strongly in the UK and Maxxium believes that it can capitalise on that demand via sport. "Jim Beam is looking to focus on sports in order to differentiate itself from Jack Daniel's," a UK-based spokesperson for the group's Super Bowl campaign told just-drinks today (2 February).

"We have chosen to trial new activation techniques to win fans of the brand, by testing and evaluating in one UK city," she said, adding: "We could choose any (UK-based) sport as our theme in future, but the Super Bowl is coming up."

The group chose to trial in Newcastle because imported whisk(e)y is particularly popular in the north-east of England, Maxxium said.

US spirits companies are increasingly looking to export markets for growth and the US Distilled Spirits Council said last month that 2010 exports of US-made spirits could top the US$1.1bn record set in 2008.

Brown Forman's Jack Daniel's whiskey, although not a true Bourbon, has dominated the imported American whiskey sector in the UK for the last decade. However, opportunities for other brands are expected to open up.

Bourbon sales in the UK rose by 25% in volume between 2005 and 2009 and are forecast to increase by another 22% up to 2014, to 1.5m nine-litre cases, according to IWSR figures released last month.

If proved correct, demand for Bourbon will grow twice as fast as that of any other spirits category up to 2014, although volumes will remain way behind Scotch whisky, which sells around 6.5m cases annually in the country.