Beam Global Spirits & Wine is to launch an "ultra premium" rye whiskey across the US this month, devised to capture more of the premium cocktail market.

Beam said that (ri)1, pronounced 'rye one', was being rolled out in limited quantities in order to take advantage of demand for luxury spirits and the growing popularity of rye whiskey.

The new brand will be priced at approximately US$46-48 per 750ml bottle, said Beam, announcing the launch yesterday (27 October).

"The traditional rye whiskey category takes on a modern look and feel with the introduction of (ri)1," said brand manager Mara Melamed. "(ri)1 is a cutting-edge spirit for today's top tastemakers and cocktail drinkers who are looking to expand their ultra-premium spirits repertoire."

In its tasting notes, Beam said that the whiskey, which is bottled at 92 proof, features a light, slightly spicy flavour and a long finish. Straight, the nose offers a gentle, peppery nod to its rye heritage.

US drinks industry leaders remain cautious about the potential effects of the current economic slowdown, although many believe top-end spirits will survive relatively unscathed. Last month, Pernod Ricard said that it had noticed a consumer shift to the off-trade in the US.