Spirit Highlight

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Canadian Whisky Riding Segment’s Surge, Enjoying Growth

Just as the overall whisk(e)y segment has enjoyed growth in recent years, Canadian whisky is holding up its end of the bargain, recording 2.2 percent growth in 2015, according to Distilled Spirits Council data.

Compare that to sales of vodka, says Hood River Distillers Senior Brand Manager Tia Bledsoe. During the same period, the clear spirit logged only half a percentage point of growth.

“I believe Canadian whisky fares well in a bar’s hierarchy,” Bledsoe said. “Recent reports indicate a steady upward trend for Canadian whiskies.”

She credits Hood River’s Pendleton products — blended Canadian whiskies featuring an “exceptionally smooth finish,” making for an easily enjoyable and drinkable spirit — for some of the segment’s success. It can be sipped neat, on the rocks or integrated into any classic whisky cocktail.

“Or really mix it up and use in place of vodka,” she suggested.

Another influence on the segment’s success is the ongoing cocktail craze that has no end in sight with mixologists bound by only basic elements.

“The effects of the cocktail craze are nothing but positive,” Bledsoe said. “Bartenders continue to defy the traditional norms of cocktail making by exploring new recipes with new spirits — like Canadian whisky.

“These cocktails are just another avenue for consumers to experience and enjoy the taste and complexities of Canadian whisky.”

Especially for those who might be intimidated by the idea of trying a new spirit either neat or on the rocks.

“For Canadian whisky, it’s really about education and trial: Find local spirits tastings, research tasting notes and the product’s history,” she suggested. “The whisky segment, in general, offers a wide variety of options.

“It takes spending time with the products and understanding the different noses and flavors that really helps beginners understand and appreciate what they are consuming.”

Bledsoe said the seasoned connoisseurs of the spirit are well acquainted with the smooth finish of their favorite Canadian whisky on the rocks, neat or with a splash of water.

“People are drinking Canadian whisky in all forms and fashions,” she said. “One hot trend that seems to be making an impact in the cocktail-making industry is replacing bourbon in traditional cocktails — like the Kentucky Mule, Old Fashioned, or Sazerac — with Canadian whisky.

Bledsoe said she has just put away her Canadian Mule mug now that chillier fall temperatures have become the norm.

“Now that the weather is changing, I’m back to my go-to Pendleton on the rocks with a splash of water and a lime,” she said.

As for what the future holds for Canadian whiskey, Bledsoe said she expects to see a continuation of the good times.

“The growth of whisky continues to dominate formerly leading spirits, like vodka,” she said. “We’re definitely excited about the potential for premium whiskies based on the current trends.”

J.P. Wiser’s

J.P. Wiser’s is a family of Canadian whiskies that are crafted with the finest ingredients and aged a minimum of three years to deliver a light and smooth taste.

In the late-1800s, John Philip Wiser began a long tradition of Canadian whisky making with a simple goal: produce the highest quality whisky that pleased the eye, nose and tongue. More than 150 years later, J.P. Wiser’s whisky is still made using traditional recipes to ensure that the final product lives up to the standards set out by J.P. Wiser many generations ago.

J.P. Wiser’s Deluxe received an “Excellent, Highly Recommended” score of 89 and the Tried & True Award at the 2015 Ultimate Spirits Challenge. Other whiskies available in Ohio Include J.P. Wiser’s Rye and Spiced Vanilla.

J.P. Wiser’s Canadian whiskies can be enjoyed neat or on the rocks, or as part of your favorite whisky cocktail.

Pendleton

Pendleton whisky delivers an uncommonly smooth taste and rich, complex flavor.

A product of Hood River Distillers, Pendleton is an oak barrel-aged, super-premium blended whisky distilled in Canada using the finest ingredients. Before bottling, Hood River adds only the purest glacier-fed spring water from Mt. Hood, Oregon’s highest peak.

Pendleton whisky was specifically created to celebrate the bold spirit of independence and hard-work ethic of the American cowboy and cowgirl. Each Pendleton whisky bottle prominently features the rodeo’s famous bucking horse symbol and Let’er Buck slogan.

Pendleton whisky can be enjoyed straight, on the rocks or with your favorite mixer. Since its launch in 2003, Pendleton has won numerous awards, including a gold medal at the 2011 Spirits International Prestige (SIP) competition and a gold medal at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.