Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey has teamed with Sydney-based tour promoter Michael Chugg Entertainment (MCE) to launch a series of metropolitan and regional concerts, entitled The JD Sets.

Logistics are still being worked out. But Jack Daniel's senior brand manager Jonny Croft tells Billboard.biz there will be at least six multiple-act shows through 2008, in venues of 800 to 1,000 capacity.

The acts will represent a wide array of genres but concentrate on acts that have just been signed. Broadcast partners will come from live-to-air, pay-TV and the Internet.

Music makes up about 20% of Jack Daniel's total advertising and sponsorship spend in Australia, Croft says. Much of it spend goes on car and motorbike racing sports, aimed at its core consumer of males aged 18 to 24. The company declined to provide figures, but Croft says its music spend is "considerable - and we're increasing that over the next five years."

This year, the brand ended its 10-year involvement with music festival Big Day Out, which draws 250,000 people over six shows nationally, and its association with the 20,000-capacity New South Wales events Homebake and Splendour In The Grass. The reason, Croft explains, is down to the growing brand clutter at these festivals, and rising fees for sponsorship. The drinks giant is looking at striking deals with other festivals.

Jack Daniel's has also parted ways with ad and event agency Peermedia, which produced the Jack Awards in Sydney on its behalf for four years. The awards, with categories aimed at the live music sector, was broadcast in June 2006 for the first time on the free to air Seven Network. It drew an "encouraging" 110,000 viewers during its midnight timeslot. The 2007 Jack Awards ceremony was held May 15 at Luna Park in Sydney.

According to Croft, running the Jack Awards allowed Jack Daniel's to develop relationships with promoters and record labels. The company is now looking at a way to revive the awards with a format which is more consumer-orientated and less industry-orientated.

"Our main priority at the moment are the JD Sets, because they are national and go into regional areas," Croft says. "Jack Daniel's has always been about the live experience."

MCE's managing director Michael Chugg says, "It's always been tough for young bands out there but initiatives such as this will give them great opportunities to be heard and play to an audience bigger than those they're used to playing in pubs around Australia. In this day and age, having partners like Jack Daniel's make the tough realities that up and coming bands face much easier."

Australia is the largest market for Jack Daniel's outside the United States, according to its parent company Brown-Forman.