Posted on June 22, 2021, Food Mag
By ALEXANDRA COOPER
Morris, Australian fortified wine brand, has entered the whisky market through the launch of two premium whiskies this month – Morris Australian Single Malt Signature Whisky and Australian Single Malt Muscat Barrel Whisky.
Crafted at world-renowned Morris of Rutherglen, Morris Australian Single Malt Whiskies are made from 100 per cent local ingredients then finished in Morris fortified wine barrels, producing a unique flavour. The barrels have been used for aging some of the most distinctive and celebrated fortified wines worldwide.
Awarded the International Fortified Wine Producer of the Year by the IWSC in 2020, the Morris Wine family have introduced a team of whisky experts to craft the new beverages. This includes master distiller John McDougall, as well as head distiller Darren Peck.
“We are creating a unique Morris Whisky style that speaks to our home in Rutherglen. Made with Australian barley malted at the family brewery and pure, filtered water from the Snowy Mountains, Morris Whisky reflects not only the world-class fortified barrels but also its regional Victorian provenance,” Peck said.
“As part of the process, we apply double distillation through our hybrid copper pot and column still and mature in a combination of French and American oak barrels sourced from family-owned wineries in the Barossa and Coonawarra regions.
“These barrels are all prepared by hand at our private cooperage to a specific method, which imparts the unique Morris of Rutherglen flavour profile. Coupled with the local climate of hot summer days and cool nights, these conditions are perfect for ageing and creating the unique and distinctive Morris Whisky taste,” he said.
Founded in 2016, Australian family-owned distilling company Copper & Grain Distilling Co. has been recognised for producing premium quality whisky in its inaugural bottling year, with two entries awarded gold medals at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The recent SIP Awards in the US also recognised the quality of the whiskies, with the Signature awarded Platinum and the Muscat a Double Gold.
Vanguard Luxury Brands has been appointed the exclusive Australian distributor of Morris Whisky, securing ranging in premium bars, retailers and restaurants across the country, commencing this month.
“We’re thrilled to work with the Morris team on the launch of Morris Whisky. It’s an outstanding Australian product that ties together the heritage of the world’s best fortified wine producers and the current demand for premium Australian spirits,” Vanguard Luxury Spirits founder and director James France said.
“Morris whiskies provide an unbeatable combination of provenance and quality at an affordable price – something unseen thus far in the industry here. Whisky lovers will be delighted to see whisky of this quality starting at prices under $100 for a 700ml bottle.”
The launch is timed with continued growth across both Australian and international markets. In Australia, local whisky sales more than doubled at 150 per cent CAGR from 2019 to 2020 as reported by the IWSR Drinks Market Analysis for May 2021. This is a considerably higher growth rate than seen by Scotch whisky at 13.9 per cent and US whiskey also at 13.9 per cent.
The growth of Australian whisky consumption is expected to continue with the IWSR predicting a 14.5 per cent growth rate from 2020 – 2025 for Australian produced whisky in the $80 – $149.99 price range, well above the 8.4 per cent growth rate predicted for Scotch whisky.
Data released by Dan Murphy’s in February 2021 supports this anticipated category growth, revealing a 150 per cent spike in sales of Australian whisky from August 2020 to January 2021.
The current focus is to establish Morris Whisky in the Australian market before exploring opportunities in international markets such the US and the UK, aiming to raise the profile of premium Australian spirits, particularly whisky.
Morris is making a long-term play to develop the Australian single malt whisky category with further innovation in the pipeline leveraging access to an unrivalled collection of fortified wine barrels, some of which are more than 100 years old.