Insights from Drizly’s Top 5 Single-Barrel Whiskeys
Up 12 percent in 2021, single-barrel whiskeys offer an opportunity to differentiate and capture new customers
The number of specialty, single-barrel whiskey offerings on Drizly has expanded by 12 percent in 2021 as brands attempt to reach adventurous, curious consumers. The largest liquor category on Drizly, whiskey makes up 15 percent share of total sales this year, and the rise of single-barrel offerings suggests that consumers are branching out and trading up.
A closer look at the most popular single-barrel whiskeys on Drizly reveals that growth in this segment largely mirrors broad whiskey and liquor trends: Three of the top five brands are bourbons – which is the largest whiskey subcategory on Drizly by far, holding 37 percent of share in 2021 to date – and all five sit at higher price points, indicating single-barrel growth is likely tied to ongoing premiumization trends in the whiskey and spirits categories.
“There is increased demand for these products, specifically as there are shortages of standard products and consumers seek new and unique offerings,” explains Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights.
Drizly’s top five single-barrel whiskey SKUs have remained relatively stable in 2020 and 2021, featuring prominent brands with strong nationwide distribution and significant brand recognition. This data suggests that as consumers trade up and explore new single-barrel offerings, they do so within the confines of familiar brands.
Made up of three bourbons, one Scotch whisky, and one American whiskey, the top five reveal commonalities across styles: Three of the most popular SKUs come in at 100 proof, suggesting single-barrel drinkers may reach for higher-proof offerings. Similarly, four of the top five brands produce multiple single-barrel options, indicating brands are likely looking to capitalize on potential growth in this segment as consumers experiment and discover new whiskey preferences.
Several of the top brands boast awards from top spirits competitions as well, adding a layer of perceived value for consumers who may be new to the single-barrel category. Overall, these shared factors point to a combination of strong distribution, quality-based marketing, and higher alcoholic strengths as three indicators of success in the category.
Despite the dominance of established legacy brands with large marketing budgets in the top five, Paquette notes this growing product segment presents an opportunity for retailers to differentiate: “Retailers should not feel limited to single-barrel offerings in just the bourbon category. Other whiskey subcategories like Scotch, Japanese whisky, and rye are on the rise this year too,” she says. “Consumers may be likewise seeking harder to find or unique SKUs.”
Read on to explore the top five most popular single-barrel whiskeys on Drizly, which Paquette calls “a starting lineup for best-sellers.”
Blanton’s Single-Barrel Bourbon
Known as the “original single-barrel,” Blanton’s signature bourbon is the lowest-proof offering among Drizly’s top five single-barrel whiskey SKUs at 93 proof. A traditional Kentucky bourbon that has been on the market since 1984, Blanton’s year-over-year dominance in the category suggests consumers may prefer single-barrel offerings from well-recognized brands.
Four Roses Single-Barrel Bourbon
Four Roses’ 100-proof single-barrel bourbon comes from the heart of Kentucky’s distilling country and boasts over 150 years of history in the United States. Now owned and backed by Kirin Brewing Ltd., Four Roses has a strong domestic and international following. Aged for between seven and nine years, this single-barrel release is a consistent medal winner in whiskey and bourbon competitions.
Henry McKenna Single-Barrel Bourbon (10-Year Bottled-in-Bond)
The youngest brand among the Drizly’s top five, Henry McKenna distillery was founded in 1935 and their single-barrel bourbon is the lone 10-year-aged offering on the list. A division of Heaven Hill distillery, the Henry McKenna brand is an homage to the distillery’s Irish founder and remains one of the longest-aged single-barrel releases on Drizly.
The Balvenie 15-Year-Old Sherry Cask Single-Barrel Scotch Whisky
The lone Scotch whisky among Drizly’s top five, The Balvenie’s 15-Year-Old offering combines single-malt whisky with flavors from extended aging in a retired Oloroso sherry cask. Unlike the bourbons and American whiskey on the list, The Balvenie is made from estate-grown grains and a single malt.
Jack Daniel’s Single-Barrel Select Tennessee Whiskey
The first registered distillery in the United States, Jack Daniel’s Single-Barrel Select Tennessee Whiskey is the lone American whiskey to make Drizly’s top five. Bottled at a lower 94 proof, Jack Daniel’s offering is one of four single-barrel offerings from the legacy brand, suggesting Jack Daniel’s is hoping to capitalize on the popularity of single-barrel releases while offering a range of flavors to loyal consumers.