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Impact’s “Hot Brands” List Salutes 79 Standouts From The Wine, Spirits and Beer Business

March 22, 2012

Shanken’s Impact Newsletter has revealed its annual list of “Hot Brands,” recognizing the U.S. drinks market’s fastest-growing brands. A total of 79 honorees from across the beverage alcohol sector met the criteria this year, including 22 from the spirits category, 21 and 12 from the domestic and imported wine segments respectively, and 24 from beer, RTDs and cider.

To make the grade, brands must achieve double-digit percentage growth in each of the past three years; be an established brand with at least 15% growth in 2011; be a top-10 brand with at least 5% growth in 2011 and at least 15% growth since 2008; or be a significant new product. For spirits, the minimum volume requirement is 200,000 cases; for wine it’s 250,000 cases; for beer it’s 3 million cases for major brewers and 1 million cases for other brewers; for RTDs the threshold is 300,000 cases, while cider’s minimum is 200,000 cases.

E&J Gallo, with eight brands represented (including six wine and two spirits entries), garnered the largest Hot Brand tally of any company, followed by rival Constellation with seven. In beer, A-B InBev scored with six Hot Brands, while The Wine Group placed four winners. Beam Inc. and DFV Wines both had three Hot Brand entries for the year.

The latest group of Hot Brand winners is nothing if not diverse. A number of accessibly priced vodkas made the honor roll, but so too did Tito’s, one of the category’s more upscale domestic offerings, and Cîroc. At 10 million cases, sub-premium wine brand Barefoot is far bigger than the rest of the Hot Brand wine competition, but super-premium wines like La Crema and Franciscan Estates have persevered through the economic downturn to churn out impressive progress. Mainstream beers like Pabst Blue Ribbon and Busch Ice are surging, but craft brews such as Samuel Adams Noble Pils and Sierra Nevada Torpedo are as well. Of course, all of the above do share one common trait coveted by the entire beverage alcohol industry: outstanding growth.

For the complete list and a full report on the 2011 Hot Brand roster, see the March 1&15, 2012, edition of Shanken’s Impact Newsletter.

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