Jim Beam highballLifestyle

How the highball became Australia’s hottest whiskey cocktail

Following the release of Jim Beam Bourbon’s new global marketing campaign, “Always Welcome”, Marketing Manager Lennart Sipsma has revealed why the highball – and hospitality – are playing a starring role in the brand’s success.

The new Jim Beam ad follows a small-town bartender (below) as he finds that the offer of a Jim Beam Highball can be a warm welcome, no matter where he goes.

“After an incredibly difficult year for the on premise channel we are so pleased to be welcoming people back with our new campaign,” Sipsma said.

“We believe it really encapsulates the Aussie spirit of coming together through hard times and can’t wait to show it to our consumers.”

Sipsma said that appreciation and awareness of whiskey highballs has been booming in Australia recently, due to a growing focus on moderation.

The highball – a mix of whisky and soda water served in a tall glass – originated in the United States in the 1800s, but was elevated to an art form in Japan about 60 years ago, with icy cold temperature and high carbonation levels being regarded as being vitally important by Japanese bartenders.

“We have seen the interest for highballs increase as Australians are looking for more refreshing, sessionable and less sugary drinks that they can share,” Sipsma said. “The Jim Beam Highball plays exactly into that need, especially in the summer months.”

There has also been a noticeable rise in at-home mixology that has continued after lockdowns, with Australians becoming more adventurous with their cocktail making.

“We have definitely seen consumers looking for new ways to entertain at home,” Sipsma said. “They are still looking for convenience and simplicity though, recipes and serves that are easy to replicate at home – probably another reason why the highball is gaining popularity, most people have the ingredients in their home.”

As for his personal favourite highball, Sipsma likes to mix Jim Beam White with 15ml of peach iced tea cordial, topped with ice and soda water garnish with peach – describing it as “delicious”.

Sipsma said Jim Beam has ambitious plans for 2021.

“It’s a big year for Jim Beam with the new campaign and getting back into the lives of consumers with on premise events and partnerships, sport sponsorships and music partnerships. We’re ncouraging consumers to be more welcoming and supportive of one another.”

Watch “Always Welcome” below:

Australian-inspired highball campaign launches in US

Beam’s huge success with its Canadian Club “Over beer” campaign in Australia has led the drinks company to put a spin on the idea for Jim Beam in the US.

As Rob Tucker, Beam Suntory Senior Brand Manager North America Marketing, noted in 2018: “‘Over Beer’ [pictured above] clearly transformed the brand and business. Not only did Australia’s RTD business grow to three million cases, but also their full spirit business grew and their draught business grew.

“Since in North America, the United States is the world’s largest beer market in retail dollar sales, and Canada is third largest per capita, the opportunity to recruit from beer is a big one. We also fell in love with the ‘Over Beer’ creative, particularly the TVC ‘The Big Question’.” 

Now Jim Beam is offering US drinkers a solution to their beer boredom: the Jim Beam Highball. The cocktail is made by mixing chilled Jim Beam Bourbon with ice and ginger ale. The marketing campaign encourages those drinkers to add the Jim Beam Highball to their repertoire and order one when they’re looking for a light and refreshing option instead of their next beer.

“With the launch of ‘Need a Break From Beer,’ we’re taking a widely enjoyed cocktail that’s been trending for years and finally shining the national spotlight on it,” said Jessica Spence, president of brands at Beam Suntory. “We know drinkers are getting bored with beer and are looking for new alternatives. The Jim Beam Highball is incredibly easy to mix and perfect for enjoyment while at home or in bars when the time is right.”

Watch the ad below:

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Categories: Lifestyle