Westward moves to boost travel retail presence with SipWell partnership

By Simon Warburton |

Oregon whisky distiller Westward has appointed SipWell Brands as its exclusive global travel retail distribution partner to boost the former’s presence across international markets. 

SipWell will focus on Westward Whiskey Original, the Gold Medal award-winning (San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2020) whiskey.

The agreement is now in place and aims to boost Westward availability across key global hub and top-tier destination airports.

SipWell Director Calum Lawrie declined to reveal the contract length or expected volumes.

However, he told TRBusiness that discussions were continuing about which duty free outlets Westward Original will be available in.

Created from locally malted barley, double pot distilled and matured, the whiskey is heavily toasted in lightly charred American Oak and bottled at 45% ABV.

Inspired by American northwest

SipWell adds the US brand to its growing whisky portfolio which includes Kilchoman, Stauning, The Glenturret, Finn Thomson Private Single Cask Collection, Port Askaig, Fable and Japanese single malt, Karuizawa from Elixir Distillers.

The drinks agency also represents ultra-premium rum Dictador, Mexican tequila, Casa Dragones, Caribbean rum, Black Tot and Scotland’s Lind & Lime Gin.

“We are excited to partner with SipWell to introduce our award-winning whiskey to new and discerning drinkers around the world,” said Westward Whiskey Founder and CEO Thomas Mooney. “While we hope someday to host these travel enthusiasts at our distillery in the Northwest, we look forward to sharing a taste of our home through our rich and robust whiskey.”

There is growing interest in US single malts in travel retail.

The distiller says it blends the best of craft ale and whiskey traditions, “to create the pinnacle of American whiskey, brewing like a craft ale, distilling like a single malt and aging like a Bourbon”.

Westward started in 2004 with the aim to make a distinctive American whiskey inspired by the American Northwest.

For his part, SipWell Brands Co-founder Andrew Torrance added: “We are seeing a real growing interest in US single malts across the travel retail world and what Westward brings is a range of whiskies wonderfully balanced, but at the same time deep, rich and interesting.

“We know they will generate real standout across global travel retail. We also know the team will keep pushing at the boundaries with excellent innovations, so the future looks very healthy.”

Westward also operates an exclusive Single Barrel Programme where, with the guidance of master blender, Miles Munroe, hand-picked casks can be custom-bottled and personalised at a variety of different proofs.

SipWell Brands was founded in 2019 by whisky sector veterans Andrew Torrance and Calum Lawrie and is a Scotland-based sales, marketing and distribution drinks agency designed to help build global premium alcohol brands.

Torrance previously worked with Beam Suntory as well as William Grant & Sons and as Managing Director of The Whisky Shop and whisky brand, Copper Dog.

Lawrie held numerous roles at drinks giant Diageo and was Marketing Director at Copper Dog alongside Torrance.

SipWell Brands now represents major premium and luxury drinks brands across global travel retail.

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