Local rye whiskey producers The Gospel Distillers have announced the appointment of their first ever national brand ambassador, Zach Morgan, who comes from managing the Attic at Black Pearl.
Ben Bowles, co-founder of The Gospel Distillers, said they are excited to be welcoming an ambassador with such passion and experience for the rye whiskey category.
“Zach has been in the industry for over 12 years and has gained some impressive experience. It was his love of rye whiskey and appreciation for the experience and simplicity when creating drink concepts that really impressed us,” Bowles said.
The connection to rye whiskey is a personal one for Morgan, having grown up in the US where rye whiskey is often a spirit of choice. But he said it’s his recent experience in the industry that really developed his appreciation for the spirit.
“Most of my appreciation for rye whiskey came through my time over the past four years working with and studying classic cocktails, which kind of popularised rye as a whole in society, and the cocktail revolution which we’ve experienced over the past 20 or so years now,” Morgan told Bars&Clubs.
“Studying old classics and learning from them… brings you back to rye being the original whiskey choice when these drinks were created. That’s probably when you start paying attention to rye whiskey as a whole.”
As The Gospel brand ambassador, Morgan’s focus will largely be on education about the rye whiskey category. Although rye whiskey is already a popular choice for bartenders, Morgan believes there is still more to be done in consumer education.
He said that the type of customer who is interested in spirits and classic cocktails will be more likely to try American style rye whiskey in their drinks.
“The more they learn, the more educated they are, the more interested they are in rye over bourbon,” Morgan said.
But there is another type of consumer who is often overlooked, and that’s the bourbon and cola drinker. Morgan says there is significant opportunity in this group, and predicts a shift in what American whisky these consumers opt for.
“I think what we’re going to see in the next few years is a turning point of treating rye whiskey as a spirit which can be mixed in many ways, whether it be with a bit of soda or ginger ale in a cleaner highball style drink, or as a choice of spirit with mixers, as your vodka soda or gin and tonic has been in recent times,” Morgan said.
It’s not just the rye whiskey category that excites Morgan about his new role though. As he tells Bars&Clubs, it’s the company itself that was a real drawcard.
“The project’s exciting in its own right, but the whisky itself is delicious, grain forward and local. The team that has been put together, from the back of our distillery to our marketing side, is quite phenomenal,” Morgan said.
“It’s going to be great to see how being a part of developing these different sectors can help a brand from the ground up, rather than just carrying the ball down the field where it was left, starting from the beginning and making it everything it can be. It’s got a lot of potential to grow within this market and more.”
“It is such an exciting time in the Australian spirits industry, products in all categories are growing and collecting countless international awards. There is no sign of it stopping anytime soon. To me The Gospel is an exceptionally exciting addition to the Australian scene, a range of an American style rye that is entirely Australian.”
The appointment comes after the release of The Gospel’s first product last year, The Gospel Solera Rye. The team also plan to soon release their next product, The Gospel Straight Rye Whiskey.
Image courtesy of Ryan Noreiks via The Gospel Distillers.