Asahi Premium Beverages is set to take advantage of Japanese whisky’s growing popularity with the launch of the Nikka Coffey Range into the Australian market, which will see new whisky, gin and vodka heading Down Under.
The Coffey Range comes from the Coffey still column at the Nikka distillery, with the whisky being made mainly from corn grain which is distilled in the still column and then aged in American oak casks. Following on from the launch of the whisky will come the Coffey Gin and Coffey Vodka, which Emiko Kaji, Nikka’s International Business Development Manager, told BARS&clubs is part of the company’s plan to expand its range in Australia.
“What we have to do now is catch up with the leading markets, like Europe or the US,” Kaji said. “Australia has a potential market but it’s very slow – we need to motivate and accelerate growth. The important thing is to set up a long term goal, to synchronise sales and production, to secure sustainable growth.
“We need to learn from past lessons, because we made a lot of mistakes in the past. In many markets, we decided to reduce shipments to control the speed of growth – but the Australian market is the exception, we are ready to expand our product range because our range is still narrow here. Ideally we should have the same portfolio in each market – there are a lot of missing pieces in Australia.”
Nikka International Business Development Representative, Naoki Tomoyoshi, added: “We have a very rare still which produces an incredible liquid. We think Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky was a breakthrough product for the grain whisky category when it was first introduced in 2012.”
He also told BARS&clubs that the company sees a lot of potential in Australia.
“We see a lot of potential here,” he said. “It represents one of the world’s top bar scenes, and we see the bartender culture in Australia as a big part of that. This is why it makes sense for us to be here – otherwise we wouldn’t [be here].
“We wish we could be the ones that are more at scale – we do need to be selective in a way. We hate to be selective, but we’re a very small producer, we’re a team of two, and there’s only so much we can do.”
Asahi Premium Beverages spokesperson Michael Edmonds says, “We’re so excited to officially be launching the Nikka Coffey range into the Australian market and especially the Coffey Grain Whisky. The whisky has received a lot of love from bartenders globally and we’re excited to see what bartenders in Australia create with it.”
Nikka’s Coffey Grain Whisky (700ml, 45 per cent ABV) is RRP $129.99 and is available at select premium venues and stores. Other products in the current range include Nikka From the Barrel and Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt; the Coffey Gin and Coffey Vodka will be available here soon.