Making Distilled Spirits with Honey

Almost overnight, the whisky category changed. What once was dominated by mainstream brands and traditional products, is now welcoming flavored varieties. The main flavor: honey.

In the distilled spirit category, honey has made a significant impact in the last couple of years as flavored products, ranging from whiskey to vodka, gain market share from their non-flavored counterparts. Honey has moved to the head of the pack as a flavor, not only because of its flavor profile, but also because of the positive impression honey gives consumers.

The whiskey segment of the liquor market has realized the flavor benefits of using honey as evidenced by two of the biggest whiskey producers launching honey varieties. Jack Daniels® Tennessee Honey is the newest line of whiskey that has been launched in nearly a generation by the Lynchburg distillery. The company says the flavor characteristics of honey greatly complement Jack Daniel’s uniquely smooth charcoal-mellowed character, creating a complex taste profile. The honey-flavored liquor features a bee image as the cornerstone of its label, exhibiting not only honey’s flavor, but also its marketability.

Wild Turkey® also has launched a line of honey-infused whiskey. Wild Turkey American Honey is a smooth liqueur blended from pure honey and Wild Turkey Bourbon Whiskey. The company says the sweet honey flavor enables the consumer to serve it chilled straight from the freezer, on the rocks or as a mixed drink.

Beyond just flavor, honey offers marketing benefits as well. When distilled spirits processors use honey, the ingredient’s inclusion becomes key to the product’s marketing strategy. When honey is used in liquors, “honey” is in the name of the product and honey or bee imagery usually appears prominently on labels, packaging and store displays.

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