Stillhouse Whiskey bridges the gap between the whiskey and vodka drinker, CEO & Founder Brad Beckerman tells TMI. With its bright red, stainless steel can presentation it is also an interesting new option for travel retail, where it is partnering with Chase International for the U.S. travel retail and Caribbean markets. Stillhouse, a clear American whiskey distilled in copper whiskey stills and charcoal-filtered in Columbia, Tennessee, aims to be the first mixable whiskey.
“We are trying to make American spirits – whiskey being our core –super smooth, easy to drink, and more innovative, disruptive, and different than any other spirit,” says Beckerman. “There isn’t another clear whiskey on the market that even remotely tastes or has the smoothness that Stillhouse does.”
“We are tapping into a generation that actually wants something different. I think we have a very young, energetic brand that resonates to different people. Our charcoal-filtered clear whiskey has more character than vodka, but it has the mixability of vodka. It acts like a whiskey, but plays like a vodka,” he says.
Multi-platinum rapper and producer Gerald “G-Eazy” Gillum was named Partner and Co‑Creative Director of Stillhouse this summer. The G-Eazy partnership is another way that Stillhouse is resonating with its core consumer, says Beckerman.
On the market in the U.S. only since February 2016, Stillhouse is already in 23 states. The Original 80-proof whiskey does about 25% of the company’s total business, with flavors making up the remaining 75%. The family of all-natural, gluten-free infused expressions includes Apple Crisp, Peach Tea, Coconut, Mint Chip and Red Hot.
“We sit on the shelf next to whiskeys, in between the brown whiskeys and the flavored whiskeys, exactly where we want to be positioned.”
Stillhouse has been doing especially well with female consumers.
“We estimate that right now roughly 40% of our drinkers are females. We believe that is primarily because of the flavors. Our top two flavors are Apple Crisp and Peach Tea,” says Beckerman.
Beckerman believes that his brand appeals to people on more than one level.
“Stillhouse is not just a one-dimensional spirit. There are a lot of ways to enjoy it. And there is no question that the 100% stainless steel can draws people. It is a conversation starter.”
The stainless steel also allows Stillhouse into venues where glass bottles are not permitted.
“People love that they can take our product with them. You see these music festivals and sporting events that have signs that say ‘No Glass.’ Well, guess what? No problem. I see us building a much stronger on-premise presence also where people are going camping, fishing, snowboarding.”
With the announcement that Stillhouse is partnering with Chase International, Inc to distribute the brand in U.S. Travel Retail and Caribbean markets, Beckerman says the time is right to grow into new markets.
“Duty free is a great opportunity to get exposure outside the U.S. We feel really confident in our packaging; it is not going to break on an airplane when you travel. Duty free is step one before we expand internationally. As well as Stillhouse is starting to perform domestically, I think it will be a massive hit internationally because we are American, a whiskey, in a red steel can that differentiates from anything else in the market. I think duty free gives us an opportunity to tee up the rest of the world.”
“The whiskey category in the U.S. and Travel Retail is the second largest after vodka and growing rapidly. Stillhouse is a perfect fit in our growing premium portfolio of spirit brands, experiencing double-digit growth in the U.S. Stillhouse is cutting-edge and disruptive, and that is what we look for in new brands to break through the clutter of traditional whiskey brands on the Travel Retail market today,” commented Chase Donaldson, President of Chase International.
“We’ve partnered with Chase to help accelerate growth and awareness of Stillhouse and look forward to introducing our smooth whiskey in these new markets,” said Beckerman. “Chase has great placement and relationships on cruise ships and duty free shops. They were bullish on the brand and believed in it. It felt like a good fit.”
In early 2018, Stillhouse will be introducing its first aged goods: bourbon.
“We’ll have a really nice, smooth bourbon that will be in a different colored can,” says Beckerman. “I think the bourbon will create a halo effect, because our bourbon will be priced higher. I think that those more sophisticated palettes or bourbon drinkers who would not have ever looked at our clear might try it now.”