The U.S. spirits market’s top 25 brands enjoyed solid overall growth in 2011, advancing by 2.5%—or more than 2 million cases—to 86.9 million cases, according to Impact Databank. However, that progress was almost totally driven by just two brands—Pinnacle and Svedka, which together added 1.8 million cases last year. Both Pinnacle and Svedka retail for around $13-$14 a 750-ml., putting them near the low end of imported vodka’s pricing spectrum. Low-priced domestic players Barton and Skol were also among the growth standouts in the top 25—advancing by 4% and 8%, respectively, and adding further evidence that competitively priced vodka remains the U.S. spirits market’s most dynamic segment.
Growth was sluggish for the market’s biggest brands. The top five—Smirnoff, Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Jack Daniel’s and Absolut—achieved aggregate growth of just 0.6%. Further down the list, there were some promising performances. Hennessy (+2.8%), Ketel One (+5.3%) and Malibu (+5.6%) experienced their biggest growth in at least five years. Meanwhile, Jim Beam’s 3.9% bump was its largest gain since 2000. (That growth didn’t include Beam extension Red Stag, which is estimated to have advanced by around 30% in 2011.)
While the top 25 brands comprise roughly 45% of total U.S. spirits volume, some of the best performers of 2011 didn’t crack the list. Two examples are Diageo’s Cîroc vodka and Pernod Ricard’s Jameson Irish whiskey. After doubling its sales to 685,000 cases in 2010, Cîroc is projected to have doubled again in 2011 as it surged past the million-case mark. Jameson jumped past the million-case threshold in 2010 when it advanced by 27%, and it accelerated its growth in 2011, with sales up 29% during the first half of the year. Both brands are poised to enter the top 25 rankings by year-end.
For a full report on the Top 25 Spirits Brands of 2011, see Impact’s January 1&15 issue.
Source: Shanken News Daily