Crown Royal unveils newest flavour

Canadian whisky brand Crown Royal is hopeful that Blackberry will be the latest in a recent string of successful flavours.

With an eye towards innovation, Diageo-owned Crown Royal has cornered the flavoured whisky market, and thinks it has another hit on its hands. Following the success of Peach, Salted Caramel, and the 23-year-aged Golden Apple, the famed Canadian whisky house has released Blackberry, a limited edition available across the US.

There’s just something really, really special about identifying a flavour profile that’s both unique, differentiated and versatile,” Jesse Damashek, senior vice-president North American Whiskeys at Diageo, said, “and that’s what we think we have in Blackberry.”

Crown Royal Blackberry is bottled at 35% ABV and is priced at US$27. Damashek said they predict Blackberry and lemonade will be the drink of the summer, and they are positioning the release, as they have with other flavours, around cocktails such as the Bramble, Collins, and Mojito. Crown has also added a Blackberry Lemonade canned cocktail.

“The recipe for increased success is certainly finding flavour profiles and innovation that meets consumers around their evolving occasions. Whether it’s a shift towards more mid-tempo [or] towards desiring more premium flavours,” Damashek says, pointing to the different serves that flavours can occupy. “Really making sure that we’re meeting consumers around a desire for more versatility, in terms of usage across cocktails.”

Crown Royal released its first flavoured whisky, Crown Royal Maple, in 2013. The brand’s flavoured portfolio reached new heights in 2019, however, as its Peach variant achieved cult status, selling out in US key markets. As a result, Crown shifted the expression from limited edition to permanent offering, and Damashek said the company would continue to use limited editions as a way to test out new flavours.

“We put the consumer at the heart of everything,” he said. “We look to certainly anticipate and shape consumer demand around differentiated profiles.”

Yet Damashek and Crown Royal are doing more for flavours than simply creating new ones. Flavours are largely considered an on-ramp for non-whisky drinkers to enter the category. However, the 23-year-old Golden Apple released in September of 2023, was priced at US$250, reflecting a potential shift upwards towards premiumisation.

It is all about redefining the flavour category, but also meeting consumers’ demand for better, more premium flavours,” Damashek said. “The flavoured whisky consumer is far and away now looking for more premium, more better, liquid quality experiences.”

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