In an increasingly deep and wide whiskey market, it takes a lot to stand out.
Chicken Cock Whiskey has two things. For starters, that name will make anyone stop in their tracks. Second, the bottle is out of this world and perhaps the coolest container for a spirit out there — save for the goofy vodka bottle sculptures.
Recently, the brand announced a new Reserve Cask Program. The program has several editions, but its partnership with PGA Tour pro Kevin Kisner might be my favorite. Along with the special small barrel pick for Kisner, Chicken Cock also signed a multi-year partnership earlier this year.
I caught up with Kyle Harder, chief marketing officer for Chicken Cock’s parent company Grain & Barrel Spirits. Chicken Cock, a brand that dates back to 1856 but disappeared after a distillery fire in the 1950s, was revived in 2011.
Pat: With a world of whiskey that is increasingly competitive, how do you stand out?
Kyle: There are always challenges in the spirits industry, especially whiskey, a super competitive category. Fortunately for Chicken Cock we have the benefit of a strong and interesting brand name that significantly stands out with the consumer. And on a shelf, the packaging looks really good. For a variety of reasons, the brand history it all stands out in the category.
Pat: Can you fill readers in on the Reserve Cask Program?
Kyle: I think it stems to a trend you’re seeing more broadly in consumer product marketing. It’s all about how important partnerships are in building brands — whether that’s a media brand, a professional athlete as a brand, or a whiskey brand.
Partnerships really benefit both parties if done right and they have a common thread between them. With Kevin Kisner, or other partners, they have an audience. We have an audience and not a ton of overlap. When we can tap into those audiences it is a two-plus-two equals five situation.
That is the rationale behind the Reserve Cask Program.
Pat: What is about the Kisner/Golf world that makes sense?
Kyle: The Kevin bottle was the first cask pick. That was because we have a long-standing relationship with Kevin, or as I know him, Kiz.
That was the first one to introduce because the audience was already familiar with Kevin and his Chicken Cock partnership.
One of the reasons he was a great partner is a multi-faceted individual, but he’s also into other things not on the course, like hunting, fishing and his Kisner Foundation. He likes to do a variety of things, a lot of things. That’s a lot of opportunities to enjoy whiskey.
I recently came across another beautiful brand looking to capitalize on a growing trend: Lo-Fi Aperitifs.
The brand has three core products at the moment: Gentian Amaro, Dry Vermouth and Sweet Vermouth.
All are solid representations of their style and fit well in cocktails. Here are some fun examples they suggest:
2 parts Lo-Fi Gentian Amaro
2 parts sparkling wine
Splash of soda
Grapefruit slice garnish
Method: Build in a white wine glass over ice and garnish with a grapefruit slice.
1 oz Lo-Fi Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Lof-Fi Gentian Amaro
1 oz Gin
Method: Build over ice in glass and lightly stir to mix. Garnish with an orange peel.
2 oz Lo-Fi Dry Vermouth
Top with tonic water
Lemon wedge garnish
Method: Build in a Collins glass. Garnish with lemon.