We currently stock 113 bourbons and American whiskies, which we believe to be the largest selection in Scotland.
We notice a younger crowd getting into bourbon/American whiskey; this in part can be due to the higher levels of smoothness and sweetness than, say, a Scottish whisky.
Also, bourbons blend very well into cocktails and for us this is many of our customers’ first introduction to it. Furthermore bourbon and American whiskies always have great backstories, which customers love learning – something we continually push through our social media and also our Bourbon Bible.
For us single barrel offerings will see a real surge this year; each different barrel offers a slightly different flavour profile and also at a higher strength, in a consumer market where the customer wants uniqueness, this is the perfect product, at what’s still a relatively affordable price.
Led by the likes of Blanton’s, many other bourbon houses are now creating single barrel bottles which we think will prove highly popular.
We actively promote a separate bottle each week, with our Bourbon/American Whiskey of the Week where we offer one of our range at £5; over the past few weeks we have had offerings featuring Noah’s Mill, Maker’s 46, Michter’s Bourbon, Whistlepig, Four Roses Single Barrel and many more.
Research and knowledge is the key. Most customers are still a little lost when it comes to buying bourbon and American whiskey, so being able to make suggestions to suit a customer’s taste will keep them coming back.
From our current stocking, my personal favourite is Blanton’s Gold Edition. A hand-bottled single barrel Kentucky straight bourbon that really is like liquid gold; you get a great caramel smoothness to begin with, which then makes way for a great spicy finish.
Being an American-influenced bar, we try and hold a wide and varied selection at all times, although it is always fluctuating according to availability and whatever we might be excited by at the time! Generally though, we tend to stock around 35 to 40 American whiskies and bourbons.
Being based in Inverness, tourism forms a large part of our trade over the course of the year. By offering a wide selection and being able to talk and be excited ourselves about the American whiskey and bourbon category, it forms a good, steady portion of spirits sales year round.
I am also finding that our home market is branching out more and more into American whiskies and bourbon. They are more familiar with the category – and they are willing to pay for it. Jack and Coke is still popular as ever, but it’s refreshing to see that people are now open to education and to trying new and exciting whiskies and bourbons.
The Old Fashioned will never go out of fashion. I also think innovation will ramp up a notch soon, taking the lead from brands like Glenfiddich and Hudson, employing new techniques and approaches in order to continue to make the category as exciting and appealing as possible.
Education: if the bartender can talk about it, the bartender can sell it.
Give brands a shout; get some training and support, POS, glassware, recommended serves, etc.
For flavour, my go-to just now is the Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. For versatility, it’s got to be Buffalo Trace.