Beam Suntory Makes Agency Moves on Two Bourbon Brands

Preacher of Austin Named AOR on Knob Creek and Basil Hayden's

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Knob Creek Credit: Knob Creek/Beam Suntory
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Beam Suntory has named Preacher of Austin, Texas, the creative agency-of-record for bourbon brands Knob Creek and Basil Hayden's. The shop has also been assigned strategic and creative duties across Beam Suntory's Irish Whiskey portfolio, with a focus on Kilbeggan and Tyrconnell in the U.S.

Walton Isaacson had previously handled Knob Creek and Basil Hayden's. The agency was behind Knob Creek's first TV ad in 2014.

New work for Basil Hayden's is expected to hit this fall, while new Knob Creek advertising will launch in 2017.

"We were looking for a true partner, who could take these beloved brands and bring them to life in a compelling and premium way," Greg Hughes, general manager for North America at Beam Suntory, said in a statement. "After a successful RFP process, we found the right fit in Preacher."

The moves come less than five months after Beam Suntory named former Coca-Cola exec Rebecca Messina as its global chief marketing officer.

Knob Creek controls less than 1% market share of the U.S. whiskey category, but volume surged nearly 21% in 2015, according to Euromonitor International. Dollar sales for Knob Creek's main variety grew by 13% to $14 million in the 52 weeks ending July 10, according to IRI, which does not include bar sales. Basil Hayden's grew by 69% in that period to $5 million.

Preacher was founded in 2014 by three former employees of Mother, New York. The agency has done work for marketers including Nike, Squarespace and Golfsmith, according to its website.

Beam Suntory spent $5.2 million in measured media on Knob Creek in 2015, according to Kantar Media. Basil Hayden's has received minimal measured media support, with just $62,700 last year.

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