According to The Wall Street Journal, as Russia and China grow their middle classes, American whiskey makers are making gains in those nations via a mix of street teams and advertising.
Still, American whiskey makers face a challenge in making their products known to consumers in emerging markets. In Russia, Beam Global hires natives to be part of the Jim Beam Party Crew. They receive training on bourbon and cocktails from local bartenders, and learn to emphasize, for instance, that bourbon tastes sweeter than Scotch. When they arrive at bars on weekend outings, they often open conversations by asking patrons: “Do you know what bourbon is?”
The answer is often no. Russians tend to be more familiar with Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey, says Vladimir Pankov, an engineer in Moscow. “You can buy Johnnie Walker in virtually any store or bar in Russia, whereas you cannot say the same thing about American brands,” says Mr. Pankov, who prefers the Scotch or Irish variety but sometimes orders Jack Daniel’s with Coca-Cola on ice.
Personally, I’m partial to bourbon or American Rye.