Capitalizing on the strong growth – and growth potential — of its American whiskey portfolio, Pernod Ricard is creating a dedicated business unit – The American Whiskey Collective — to manage marketing and production of its premium, challenger American whiskey brands.
Ann Mukherjee, Chairman and CEO, Pernod Ricard North America, said the new entity will accelerate the company’s journey to become a leading player in American whiskey in both U.S. and global markets. “American whiskey is an extremely vibrant spirits category, and our investments over the last few years in Jefferson’s, Rabbit Hole, Smooth Ambler and TX have proven very successful,” Mukherjee said. “Now it’s time to drive even more outsized growth for these brands by managing and building a world class marketing and operations approach.”
The American Whiskey Collective will be led by Pernod Ricard veteran marketing leader Craig Johnson, who is appointed to Pernod Ricard USA’s executive team, and Jessica Chen, a seasoned Operations executive who is named VP, Operations, American whiskies. Johnson will report to Mukherjee, and Chen will report to Pierre Joncourt, SVP, Operations, Pernod Ricard North America.
The new dedicated unit will be responsible for achieving the business objectives – and leading future strategy development – for Pernod Ricard’s American whiskey brands, while also leveraging the company’s broad network to drive global growth. In recent years, Pernod Ricard created two similar entities — the Gin Hub and House of Tequila – to drive even greater success in their respective spirits categories.
American whiskey volume in the U.S. has been accelerating over the last decade, shooting up from 16 million 9-liter cases in 2011 to 29.7 million in 2021, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. Exports of American whiskey also have been enjoying strong growth, with annual sales now exceeding 20 million cases.
American whiskey sales are expected to account for a significant amount of Pernod Ricard USA’s total volumes within the next 5-10 years, and the company’s American whiskey export business also has enormous growth potential, Mukherjee said. To help achieve Pernod Ricard USA’s ambitious performance goals, the American Whiskey Collective will create more uniform ways of working based on best practice sharing among brands. Said Mukherjee: “We are committed to ensuring that the infrastructure, marketing investment levels and innovation support behind each of our brands are in line with our overall ambition. The result will be further accelerated growth from a ‘new fashioned’ whiskey portfolio focused on pushing boundaries rather than adhering strictly to tradition.”