Pernod Ricard UK’s deluxe Scotch whisky brand, Chivas Regal, is aiming to “demystify” the blended whisky category and in doing so help the trade benefit from the huge – and currently untapped – growth potential for premium blended Scotch whiskies in the UK.
The company has been working closely with both on- and off-trade channels over the past 12 months on large scale educational programmes to help increase knowledge of the category and in turn boost the opportunity to drive sales of blended whisky (which is seen in some quarters as “inferior” to single malt).
Whilst as a total category, the blended whisky segment is in slight decline in volume and value, the premium blended market (average RSP of £15.56 or more) is in strong growth, according to CGA. However, knowledge of blended whisky amongst consumers is low, highlighting, says Pernod Ricard, the need to educate drinkers about the category to really capitalise on its potential.
As a result, the Chivas Regal brand has been delivering on-trade educational activities, such as the Art of Blending tastings, at scale over the past 12 months. Four trained ambassadors – guided by brand ambassador Phil Huckle – have been running the tastings/training and will continue to deliver over 100 more this year across the UK.
In the off-trade, says channel director Ian Peart, “there is still a clear knowledge gap in the UK around blended whiskies and this presents a challenge to brands – how to educate at point of purchase and impact decision making?
Chivas Regal has been working with the off-trade to try and address some of these issues, by telling the category story in-store via educational point of purchase material as well as highlighting the blended whisky story.
“There are clear challenges around demystifying the blended whisky category but consumer demand for these premium offerings is clear. If we can support the trade through these education programmes, we can look to amplify the potential of the category and really drive an impact on sales. We have only just begun to scratch the surface of premium blended whisky in the UK, but looking at the rest of the globe, it is the category we should be looking at to drive growth and maximise sales potential”.