Canadian Whisky Awards 2010 - Brand Extension


Award of Excellence – Brand Extension: Crown Royal BlackWhen a distiller can’t keep up with demand everyone takes note. Crown Royal Black, a new and more robust version of Canada’s best selling whisky, was welcomed so enthusiastically by American whisky drinkers that Diageo was faced with the challenge of having a truly runaway success on its hands. To the average American whisky drinker, Crown Royal Black was THE big whisky news of 2010.Sam Bronfman created Crown Royal in 1939 to capitalize on a visit to Canada by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, using it as a marketing opportunity for Seagram’s whisky. Bronfman’s firm, Distillers Corporation Limited, had earlier acquired the respected, Waterloo-based Seagram’s distillery. Mr. Sam managed to get a case of his new blend onto the train carrying the royal couple across the country and the success of Crown Royal was assured.Bronfman had made quite a fortune during – and particularly immediately following – Prohibition in the U.S. In 1934, he opened distilleries he had purchased in Lawrenceburg, Indiana and Relay, Maryland, to supply American demand for whisky following Repeal. But it didn’t occur to Bronfman for some years to release Crown Royal in the U.S. However, once it entered the American market, the whisky soon made up for lost time and is now the best-selling Canadian whisky south of the border, and a favourite, incidentally, of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.Perhaps history is repeating itself, but in mirror image, since Crown Royal Black, though developed, distilled, matured, blended, and bottled in Canada, is currently only available for purchase in the U.S. It didn’t take long this time to develop plans to bring it to the Canadian market, though. It’s still not clear if high demand in the U.S. will hasten or delay the implementation of these plans.Just a little bit richer, just a little bit bolder, and just a little bit stronger than the classic Crown Royal Deluxe, Black brings demand for Canada’s favourite export whisky to new heights, a feat justifying its Canadian Whisky Award of Excellence – Brand Extension.Crown Royal Black is reviewed here.All Canadian Whisky Awards winners for 2010 are listed here.