Sunday, December 9, 2012

Nikka Whisky to the US Market

Editor's note: We are pleased to welcome Chris - who co-writes for the blog WhiskyWall - to the Nonjatta team. Chris will be our man in the US, keeping an eye on the exciting developments surrounding the increased presence of Japanese whisky there. In his first post written for Nonjatta, he spotlights the entry of Nikka into the US market.

Post by Chris of the WhiskyWall.

We in the US have been waiting and waiting and waiting for Nikka's whiskies to be available here. After years of being tortured by rumors and whispers of Nikka's impending arrival, it has finally become a reality. Following up on a hugely successful campaign to expand into the European market, Nikka Whisky is making a move to establish a presence in the US. Like much of the rest of the world the US has seen a huge increase in the popularity of Scotch whisky as well as Japanese whisky. Unfortunately, there just wasn't much Japanese whisky to be had here. Now after long being the sole stomping ground of Suntory, we in the US will finally have another Japanese whisky option.

Anchor Distilling Company, based in San Francisco, is responsible for importing and assisting with the distribution of Nikka's whisky. Anchor is focused on being the bridge between fine spirits and the consumer. At this time Anchor imports spirits from over 20 different countries for distribution in the US, including several Scotch whiskies. You might also be familiar with some of Anchor's own products such as their very popular Old Potrero line of rye whiskies and Junipero Gin. Anchor's close relative Anchor Brewing, one of the pioneers in the craft beer movement here in the US with their Anchor Steam Beer might also ring a familiar bell.
To much excited anticipation the beginning of December saw the launch of Nikka's Taketsuru 12 (Pure Malt) and Yoichi 15 (Single Malt). These two expressions were initially rolled out in major cities such as San Francisco, New York and Chicago. However, many were able to get an early sampling of them at WhiskyFest San Francisco and WhiskyFest New York. The Nikka booth at WhiskyFest San Francisco in early October was one of the most crowded ones there the whole night.

Nikka plans to target authentic/specialty bars and whisky shops to market to. The goal is to expand the current two expression line up as Nikka's popularity grows. At this time the US allocation for 2013 is set at 36,000 bottles. This seems like a healthy initial allocation but my local whisky shop here in San Francisco went through its first delivery within a couple of hours. I'm hoping that the excitement for Nikka's whiskies continues and that sales are high enough for them to feel comfortable expanding the line up past 2 expressions. But for now I am happy that I don't have to hop on a plane to pick up a bottle of Nikka.

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