Food & Drinks

As Flavored Whiskey Continues To Grow, Pernod Ricard Acquires Peanut Butter Whiskey

Pernod Ricard USA has announced it has acquired a majority stake in Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey. The peanut butter-flavored whiskey will join the ranks of Jameson, Martell, Jameson, Glenlivet, Absolut and Monkey 47.

Skrewball Peanut Butter was launched in 2019 by Brittany and Steven Yeng. Less than two years later, the brand of peanut-distilled whiskey had sold its millionth case. By 2019, the brand had grown by 500% and by 2020, 1976%.

“Skrewball has proven its uniqueness and success with a large audience, so we are delighted to have this brand as part of our portfolio,” says Ann Mukherjee, Chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard North America. “With a product that brings an iconic American flavor to the spirits world, Steven and Brittany have found a true point of difference in the category. We are looking forward to unlocking the magic of this brand and a successful journey ahead.”

Perhaps it’s the flavor consumers are drawn to — it’s slightly sweet and highly smooth; peanut butter in influence, but whiskey through and through. Or, it’s the story. Peanut butter is highly personal for founder Steven Yeng. His family fled Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime then spent time in a Thai refugee camp, before they were able to immigrate to the United States. When he landed in San Diego after being sponsored, he was fed PB&J sandwiches to put some meat on his bones.

Skrewball was born when started serving peanut butter whiskey cocktails and shots at his own restaurant, while his wife and Skrewball co-founder Brittany Merril Yeng, a chemist, began experimenting with distilling peanuts to make a silky, peanut-ish whiskey.

The brand started with standard 750-milliliter bottles and has since expanded to four other bottle sizes (50-milliliter through 1-liter) and a smaller, 100-mL canned format.

“It’s overwhelming to see how far we’ve come with a ‘screwball’ idea and a dream,” declared Steven Yeng. “We are very excited to see what the future holds for this brand under Pernod Ricard. The engine behind the company – its strategy, global reach and brand-building expertise – will greatly support taking the brand to new heights and we are excited to see it soar.”

Skrewball has also benefited from growing consumer interest in the flavored whiskey category — the whiskey subcategory now accounts for 25% of worldwide whiskey sales. Pernod Ricard cited that as one of the biggest motivations for the purchase.

The IWSR has noted that the flavored whiskey subcategory was one of the top drivers of volume for the whiskey industry. In 2010, just 2 million cases of flavored whiskey were sold in the US. By 2020, over 16 million cases of flavored whiskey were sold within the country. In 2020, Nielsen
NLSN
reported flavored whiskies grew more than 34% by volume, a big jump comparing to the total whisk(e)y sector’s 18% growth that year.

“Partnering with one of the world’s leading spirits producers is a true testament to the Skrewball spirit,” says Brittany Yeng. “We’ve never wavered from our belief that Skrewball is a drink that can be enjoyed by anyone and that peanut butter whiskey has the power to bring people together, from seasoned whiskey drinkers to first timers. We’re so excited to see Pernod Ricard take Skrewball to new heights.”

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