A recent study from the Italian National Institute of Health shows the rise in home deliveries during the pandemic caused alcohol consumption at home to shoot up by more than 250 percent. And not only are consumers drinking more they’re getting snobbier, preferring quality over quantity. The entire whiskey industry benefited from this trend resulting in innovative new products and brewers turning to producing spirits. Coors is another major brewer that has jumped on the action by launching its own whiskey.
Five Trail blended American whiskey started rolling into stores on September 1 and is the first product produced under the new Coors Whiskey Co. banner — and the first full-strength spirit ever from the Molson Coors Beverage Company, America’s second largest brewer. Molson Coors says Five Trail is made with Coors malt and Rocky Mountain water, which is the same as their beer. RackHouse Whiskey Club members will be excited to know the whiskey is produced in partnership with Kentucky’s Bardstown Bourbon Co., one of our partner distilleries. The company said in a statement that it’s “made from a blend of Colorado single-malt whiskey and three bourbons, cut to proof with Rocky Mountain water.”
Kimberli Fox, Molson Coors’ marketing manager for wine and spirits, says the decision to launch the “ultra-premium whiskey” was in part because of the spirit’s strong growth over the last two decades. Since 2002, American-made whiskey sales have skyrocketed 227 percent, reaching $4.3 billion in 2020, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
“This is not just about acquiring a brand or working with a distiller on a blend,” she says. “This is a true collaboration that marries Colorado provenance with innovative distilling techniques of pioneering Kentucky-based distillers.”
The company also doesn’t plan on this to be the last whiskey that they produce. By working with barley from Coors’ Golden, Colorado malthouse, they believe plenty of opportunities exist to create limited-edition whiskeys or offer recipes that change every year. “Five Trail isn’t planned as a one-off proposition,” Fox added.
And Bardstown shares that enthusiasm for keeping the whiskey industry modern and on the cutting edge of innovation. Herb Heneman, executive vice president of sales and marketing predicted this whiskey trend back in 2020. He told us, “I was in a retailer the other day and counted a dozen different bourbon brands that had the word ‘Old’ in the title. You just have to wonder how exciting that is to a 20-something consumer. While we absolutely respect the tradition and heritage of bourbon, we’re laser sharp focused on the future and what it can become, from our brand aesthetic to our distillery experience, and that seems to be drawing in a much younger, more diverse set of consumers.”
Fox agreed. “While whiskey drinkers are a very loyal group, discovery is a key theme. They love to explore, expand their collections and try new things,” she says. “That makes this a very interesting place for us to play as a beverage company. Within whiskey, there’s so much rich territory to explore and you don’t have to stay within the confines of a singular consumer expectation.”
Colorado will be one of the first of four states where the spirit hits shelves, alongside New York, Georgia and Nevada.
If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy craft whiskey and see these trends play out for yourself, check out RackHouse Whiskey Club. RackHouse scours the U.S. looking for the best distilleries with the most interesting stories to curate a unique subscription box filled with full-sized bottles of hard-to-find small batch whiskey. We’re building a community of premium craft whiskey drinkers and you’re invited. Join us!