LCBO launches "Whisky in Focus" promotion as sales on the rise



    TORONTO, Oct. 16 /CNW/ - The LCBO is today launching Whisky in Focus, its
largest-ever whisky promotion, as sales of the popular spirit are projected to
top $520 million by year-end - more than $16 million higher than last year.
    "Whisky is re-emerging as the preferred spirits drink for many
Ontarians," says Michael Riley, Business Unit Director, Spirits Category, who
is chief whisky buyer for the LCBO. "In fact, sales of Canadian whisky alone,
which were in serious decline just over a decade ago, are now growing at a
rate of four to five per cent a year. The main reason is consumers are
rediscovering whisky's unique and distinctive characteristics."
    In addition to presenting 99 featured whiskies and more than 1,000
tastings in all 602 LCBO stores until November 10, Whisky in Focus has a
creative twist. It includes a photo competition which invites entrants to
submit photos that reflect the essence of whisky based on supplied themes. The
themes are individuality, iconic, heritage, spirit and enduring. Contest
details are available at www.lcbo.com.
    Photos will be posted on the main LCBO website www.lcbo.com until October
30. The public can then vote online for their favourite submissions from
November 1 to 8. In the third week of the promotion, an expert panel will
choose one grand winner from the top submissions from the online voting. The
grand winner will receive a digital camera package and the winning photo will
be included in an LCBO Whisky in Focus advertising piece.
    "Given the creative aspects of this contest and the interest today in
digital cameras, cell phone cameras and the Internet, we expect a good
response," says Riley.
    Whisky in Focus also highlights many premium whiskies in distinctive and
unique bottles, many of which are only available in Ontario.
    "Whisky producers are reinventing the way they present their products and
driving sales growth as a result," says Riley, noting premium whiskies are
growing by 8.1% per cent versus last year. "The new Crown Royal Cask No. 16,
Forty Creek Small Batch Reserve and J.P Wiser's Red Letter Whisky are good
examples of Canadian whisky's new, more contemporary look."
    The promotion will feature all four whisky categories: Canadian, Scotch,
American and Irish. Among the many whiskies is a unique pure malt made from
the blend of a single malt from the Linkwood Distiller in Scotland and Glen
Breton single malt from Nova Scotia.
    There are also 20 new whisky cocktails that have been created for Whisky
in Focus in conjunction with the Martini Club of Canada. These new cocktails
will be featured in displays throughout the promotion and on the LCBO website.
    The LCBO is also presenting The Ultimate Whisky Bar Chef Challenge on
October 20 at "Whisky Live", an international show taking place at the Metro
Convention Centre in Toronto. Several of the province's top bartenders will
compete for a $1,000 cash prize and to be featured in Whisky magazine. There
will also be a whisky lounge with tastings and a whisky retail store at the
show.
    "Whisky remains the world's most popular spirit because of its many
distinctive styles and its versatility," notes Riley. "It can be sipped as a
cocktail, with a little water or savoured straight up. Enjoying Canadian
whisky in moderation is also a celebration of our heritage and exceptional
products for which Canada is recognized the world over."

    For more information on Whisky in Focus, featured products, tastings and
the photo contest, call the toll-free LCBO Infoline at 1-800-ONT-LCBO
(668-5226). In Toronto, call 416 365-5900 or visit your nearest LCBO store.
The TTY number for the deaf and hearing impaired is 416 864-6898 or
1-800-361-3291. You can also access the LCBO web site at www.lcbo.com

    For more information, please visit our online media information centre,
at www.lcbo.com/aboutlcbo/media_centre




For further information:

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Layton, LCBO Media
Relations Co-ordinator, Tel. (416) 864-6772, Cell: (416) 587-3729, Fax. (416)
864-6850, e-mail: chris.layton@lcbo.com


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