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WhistlePig ‘High’Jacks Dry January With Terpene Cocktail

WhistlePig, a cult favorite whiskey out of Vermont, continues to put its unique stamp on Dry January by developing a terpene-based cocktail that leans into two trends at once—the explosion of nonalcoholic beverages and the American cannabis boom.

The brand has dubbed its 2024 effort “Dank January,” saying it aims to highjack the month-long temperance challenge with “a salad bowl of superior ingredients” for a “chronic” booze-free experience. Fair warning: more stoner puns ahead.

The limited-edition cocktail—a version of the classic old fashioned—dropped on New Year’s Day with a “one hitter,” a single 750-milliliter bottle, and a “hot box bundle,” which added a pig-shaped cocktail smoker and a “dime bag” of smoking chips.

The initial run sold out in four days, and WhistlePig has decided to release another batch, possibly available by next week, according to Eliza McClure, vp of marketing, who said execs have been “blown away” by the response.

“It’s the fastest sellout we’ve had” for a Dry January stunt, she said. “And there has been a lot of demand for our previous limited editions.”

WhistlePig’s new product, though co-opting cannabis slang and imagery, contains no THC, is non-psychoactive and is fully legal nationwide. Its cheeky packaging borrows heavily from Reefer Madness, featuring a vintage version of brand mascot Winston the pig, who might be smoking a blunt, or it could be a cigar—it’s open to interpretation.

Cali sober

The brand is targeting fans who are drawn to the craft origins of its flagship whiskeys, with the limited-run NA product reflecting its small-batch approach and nodding to curated weed strains, McClure said. The terpenes for the old fashioned cocktail, created with partner Satori Premium Cannabis, come from cannabis cultivated in whiskey barrels. 

The booze-free old fashioned may also appeal to the Cali sober, a term for those who swap out booze for weed, which McClure cited as a factor in developing the particular blend. She noted a 2023 report from CivicScience that found 21% of Dry January participants replaced alcohol with cannabis, a number that jumped to 34% for the 21- to 24-year-old demo.

The mix of weed and beverages is becoming more mainstream, via bespoke invite-only dining experiences and media exposure like TV cooking shows.

“We’ve seen in the bar space that mixologists are playing with terpenes and derivatives,” McClure told Adweek. “And we know how much interest there is in cannabis” as legalization continues to spread across the country.  

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