Jim Beam is the latest booze brand to jump on the apple bandwagon. Or is it the apple cart?
The bourbon brand in August will launch Jim Beam Apple in the U.S., which will be marketed as an "apple liqueur with Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey," according to a bottle image.
"As category leaders in bourbon innovation, we take pride in delivering flavors that complement the tasting notes of the world's No. 1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon," Chris Bauder, general manager for U.S. whiskies for Jim Beam owner Beam Suntory, said in a statement to Ad Age. "With Jim Beam Apple … we are thrilled to bring another option to both whiskey fans and those looking to discover new refreshing cocktails."
The new flavor is launching in Germany first. A reporter for trade publication Just-Drinks tweeted an image of the new flavor on Monday that showed marketing materials promoting it as "refreshingly crisp."
Beam Suntory launches Jim Beam Apple. The new flavour in the Jim Beam portfolio. pic.twitter.com/Gb76KDNE4K— Andy Morton (@AndyJMMorton) March 30, 2015
Whiskey marketers have have increasingly tried new flavor extensions following the well-worn path of vodka brands, which have been using the tactic for many years. Jim Beam's flavor line-up includes Kentucky Fire (cinnamon), honey, maple and Red Stag black cherry.
Late last year, Diageo launched Crown Royal Regal Apple, which is described as having "a slightly tart, crisp, apple flavor balanced with signature Crown Royal whisky with notes of caramel and light spice."
On an earnings call in January, Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes said the marketer was "scrambling to keep up [with] demand." He said the line extension is "cutting across demographics. It is showing up in non-core Crown Royal markets like in the northeast." He added: "You'll find it in New York and Brooklyn now where Crown Royal didn't have much of a franchise."
Beer marketers have taken a bite out of the apple craze by launching an increasing number of hard cider brands. They are also trying apple-flavored beer like Redd's Apple Ale, which MillerCoors launched in the U.S. in 2012. The brand recently came out with a line extension called Redd's Green Apple. An ad by WPP's Cavalry supporting the launch features an old lady character named "Granny Smith."