Five Trail is going international.
The award-winning whiskey from Coors Whiskey Co. is set to enter its first international markets in December, when it launches in Panama and in Canada, at Ontario LCBO stores and select on-premise accounts.
“There is a huge level of interest for American whiskey in international markets right now,” says David Coors, vice president of next generation beverages for Molson Coors. Exports of American whiskey increased 22% in the first seven months of 2021 versus the prior year, according to Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS), a trade group representing spirits interests.
And Canada is among the top importers of American whiskey, holding the No. 6 spot, according to DISCUS. Panama also ranks among the top-20 importers of American whiskey, DISCUS data show.
Distilled with the same Coors barley that makes Coors Light, Five Trail will be sold as a super-premium brand, retailing for CA$79.95. It will sell as an ultra-premium whiskey in Panama.
Launched last year in the U.S., Five Trail has quickly gained a reputation as a quality whiskey. It won double gold at the prestigious San Francisco Spirits Competition in April, and has taken home other awards from industry competitions like the SIP Awards and ASCOT Awards.
Meanwhile, strong consumer demand has paved the way for its expansion into 11 states, with more on the way.
Five Trail arrives as the whiskey market in Canada continues to grow, increasing to 49.45 million liters in 2021, up nearly 7% since 2018, according to Statistics Canada. American whiskey, in particular, has become a favorite of Canadian drinkers, says Dan Lundberg, senior director of Molson Coors Beverage Company’s Canadian craft beer division, Six Pints Collective.
“Five Trail is an absolutely delicious whiskey, and there’s a huge interest in whiskey in Canada,” he says. “There’s a real connoisseurship here and interest in new blends from new places and producers. We’re tapping into that consumer desire, and I think Canadians are going to love Five Trail.”
The whiskey is Molson Coors’ first foray into full-strength spirits in Canada since the 1800s, further cementing its transformation into a beverage company, Lundberg says.
“The story behind the brand is incredibly strong. The whiskey itself is fantastic. We have a strong belief it’s going to be a winner in this market,” he says. “Given our success over the last 230 years, I think consumers will be excited to see us introduce something like Five Trail.”
Five Trail’s expansion into Panama is also Molson Coors’ first advance into full-strength spirits in Latin America, where it imports brands such as Blue Moon, Coors Light and Miller Genuine Draft.
Coors sees parallels with in Five Trail’s southward expansion with that of Blue Moon, which opened its first Panamanian location in 2019. It now has two taprooms in Panama, one in Panama City’s Costa del Este neighborhood and another in Panama City’s historic Casco Viejo area.
“There’s a great affinity for American brands (in Panama),” Coors says. “It’s a strong whiskey market as well. Our beer portfolio has resonated well with consumers there, and we’re hopeful the Five Trail whiskey brand does, as well.”