Southern Comfort, Tabasco Launch Spicy Spirit

Southern Comfort is adding a splash of Tabasco sauce in hopes of stirring some sizzle for the struggling brand.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Southern Comfort is adding a splash of Tabasco sauce in hopes of stirring some sizzle for the struggling brand.

The result is Southern Comfort Fiery Pepper, a spicy spirit reaching bars and liquor stores this month. The brand's parent company expects the concoction infused with original Tabasco brand pepper sauce to especially make a splash with young adult men.

"It's not going to blaze your tongue off, but it is a pretty intense combination of Tabasco chilies as well as some natural pepper flavors that really dial up the burn," said Lena DerOhannessian, the U.S. marketing director for Southern Comfort.

The partnership with Tabasco is the latest spinoff for Southern Comfort, the second-largest brand at Brown-Forman Corp.

Last year, the company released Southern Comfort Lime, part of a larger trend toward infusing new flavors into spirits. Brown-Forman recently rolled out a Jack Daniel's honey-flavored whiskey, which helped spur U.S. growth in the flagship brand's overall lineup.

The chili-pepper-flavored rendition of Southern Comfort comes amid a sales slump. The overall Southern Comfort brand had an 11 percent drop in revenue during Brown-Forman's first quarter that ended July 31.

Brown-Forman expects the new peppery Southern Comfort to especially hook bar-going, shot-drinking young men in their 20s. But the company says the product is also ideal for spicy cocktails.

The Louisville-based company is soaking plenty of money into the product launch, with a 10-week television ad blitz this fall on such networks as ESPN, TBS and TNT along with an online campaign.

The new spirit fuses two products with deep roots in Louisiana. Southern Comfort, a fruit, spice and whiskey flavored liqueur, was created by a New Orleans bartender in 1874. Tabasco sauce is produced on Avery Island, La.

It's not the first time Tabasco sauce has mixed with alcohol; it's a regular in Bloody Marys.

Paul McIlhenny, president and CEO of McIlhenny Co., the maker of Tabasco brand pepper sauce, said the new Southern Comfort product offers "a good opportunity for us to reach some new users."

The Tabasco logo is displayed on the Southern Comfort Fiery Pepper bottle.

Southern Comfort Fiery Pepper will be available only in the U.S. initially, with a global expansion expected later. The product will carry a suggested retail price of $16.99 for a 750ml bottle.

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