For 145 years, the Jack Daniel's brand has been synonymous with one thing: Tennessee whiskey.
Brown and 90 proof, the Old No. 7 brand hasn't changed much over the years, and that's a big part of the company's sales pitch.
But Jack Daniel might be rolling in his grave this summer as the company rolls out Tennessee Honey, its first new liquor in nearly a generation.
The new beverage is Old No. 7 whiskey, the brown sour-mash liquor that's been around forever, mixed with a blend of Jack's own honey liqueur. It has a sweeter taste that's meant to appeal to a different audience.
"It's a whole lot of Jack and a little bit of honey," said Casey Nelson, the Tennessee Honey brand manager. "The honey liqueur adds a unique texture, a sweeter profile."
The new concoction is all about grabbing new consumers, Nelson said.
"Jack Daniel's has been around a very long time, but the introduction of Tennessee Honey is about allowing our existing drinkers to find a new way to consume Jack's whiskey and to find new drinkers who aspire to the values of Jack Daniel," he said.
Jack Daniel's is one of the most recognizable brands in the adult beverage industry, but a lot of people just don't like brown liquor. That genre, in general, has seen U.S. sales decline in recent years.
In 2010, Jack Daniel's saw strong international growth in markets such as Mexico and Poland, but domestically sales fell by 1 percent, according to The Associated Press.
This new drink, Nelson said, is 70 proof, and the distillery is hoping its sweeter taste is a blend that could be enjoyed by a range of audiences.
"The target is the millennial generation, men and women ages 21 to 29," Nelson said.
To spread the word, Nelson said, the company is turning to online social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to reach out to younger consumers.
Without getting into specifics about its sales numbers, Nelson said Tennessee Honey is held out as a game changer.
"It's a big deal for Jack," he said. "Jack doesn't do new things very often. It's been more than a generation since we introduced Jack Daniel's Single Barre. That was our last new brand."
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