In response to the constantly evolving U.S. beer market, Scottish barrel-aging pioneer Innis & Gunn has revamped its retail strategy for the United States. Innis & Gunn was one of the first breweries to introduce barrel aging to the United States when it launched in 2003. The brand built its success through its flagship styles — a scotch whisky barrel-aged ale and a rum barrel-aged ale.
The brewery evolved aiming to meet the demand of U.S. consumers by introducing different styles over the years, one of which was an Irish whiskey-barrel aged stout. This Irish whiskey stout became the most popular seller and continues to be a seasonal favorite among retailers and consumers alike.
In 2018 Innis & Gunn revamped its packaging as part of a global strategy to make the brand more current in today’s craft beer market. Prior to that, the packaging hadn’t changed since it launched 16 years ago, well before the influx of craft beer brands we see today. This new packaging generated 13 percent growth in its home market of Scotland and showed early signs of success in other export markets.
As with many international breweries, the strive to be globally consistent is challenged by local market differences. Based on the feedback from the U.S. market, Innis & Gunn decided to simplify its packaging with a focus on the casks in which the beer is matured and offer flagship styles that remained consistent over the years: 1) The Original — Scotch Whisky Cask, 2) Caribbean Rum Cask and 3) Irish Whiskey Cask, its seasonal style launching this month, in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
“We recognize that the U.S. beer market is both larger and more complex than other markets,” remarked Crawford Sinclair, Innis & Gunn Sales director for the United States. “We want to focus our packaging around flavor styles and unique cask maturation — the latter of which we are a renowned global authority — clean and simple design and messaging will help us stand out among a noisy and cluttered beer shelf.”
Kris Sjolander, vice president of brand development for United States beverage, Innis & Gunn’s importer, added: “Retailers and distributors are overwhelmed by the number of styles and new product launches emerging each year. We decided to focus Innis & Gunn’s offerings this year to highlight three different styles with a history of success among our consumer base: a scotch whisky barrel ale, a rum barrel red beer and an Irish whiskey barrel aged stout.”
Innis & Gunn’s seasonal Irish Whiskey Stout is arriving in markets now in four-packs. The refreshed packaging designs for both The Original and Blood Red Sky are starting to hit shelves and will be available year-round in four-packs. Draft will also be available for The Original Scotch Whisky Cask in 50-L barrels.