Irish whiskey giant, Jameson Irish Whiskey, are quickly growing their supporter base of beer cask whiskey finished series, ‘Caskmates’. This overnight success has seen an estimated quarter million 9litre case increase for the behemoth of the category. A fantastic feat when they have seen almost no cannibalization of their Jameson ‘original’ market share either.
Stemming from the original “Drinking Buddies” concept launched in 2014, Jameson have been busy over the last number of years, loaning their empty whiskey barrels to craft breweries the world over. These breweries create Jameson whiskey barrel finished beers, which are adored by the Jameson branding and in return, Jameson create a region specific version of that Caskmates expression. A few previous releases Toronto’s Beau’s Jameson Caskmates, Sydney’s Young Henry’s Edition as well as Great Divide Brewing Company’s Caskmates from Denver Colorado.
I actually love this idea from a marketing and consumer point of view. From a marketing point of view this is an extreme but great example of ‘glocalisation’, a global company giving a local offering to engage with the local/craft-centric consumers. It is a form of business that can engage consumers that would otherwise not consume products from globally available companies. It appeals to local tastes in a way that the Jameson original, a globally homogeneous product could never do. This plays into the consumer side also, which is great to see a win, win marketing approach that gives consumers a great value for money offering also. Playing on the point above, the consumes are suddenly getting a completely localised product that is identifiably different to everything else on the market in their area. This allows consumers to engage with a globalised company but consuming their products in a localised and often “craft” format, this usually greatly increases the perceived value for money offering of the product.
All that said, Jameson caskmates is a train that has no plans of slowly down and the TTB has just approved two new labels which have unveiled two new collaborations between Jameson Irish Whiskey and Revelation Brewing in Chicago as well as Bale Breaker Brewery in Washington state.
Chicago’s Revolution Brewing Brewing’s Caskmates edition will be First City – Pale Ale seasoned barrel, this beer is a pale ale that uses two row and red wheat as well as some specialty malts for a golden base beer with some great dry hopping for a slight tropical fruit tones. This will be an interesting addition to the caskmates family and while I will likely never try this whiskey, as it will not be released outside of Illinois, it serves as an interesting base for another Caskmates SKU.
The second addition to the range is the Bale Breaker, which I am personally most excited about. Bale Breaker’s brewery is situated in the heart of Yakima Valley, which is the literal home for American hops. These barrels, couldn’t have been, shouldn’t have been, and weren’t filled with anything other than a West Coast IPA, as such, the number one style of beer famous for these Yamika hops!
These barrels were filled with Bale Breaker’s flagship ‘Topcutter IPA’, which of course is a classic West Coast IPA, which showcases some of the best hop varieties that Yakima has to offer; Simcoe, Citra, Loral, as well as Mosiac. These hops give the beer its massively citrus forward, fruity and floral flavour which, if the flagship Caskmates IPA has taught us anything, should deliver a great hop aroma in the finished whiskey.
The release date has not been announced yet, nor the RRP. If you are in these areas, keep an eye out on Jameson social media, as I’m sure you’ll be the first to know when it’s time for general release!
Until then! Keep sipping!