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Blockbuster Brands Lead Impact’s “Blue Chip” List

October 3, 2012

While the vast majority of spirits, wine and beer brands come and go at a rapid pace, the 51 entries on the latest edition of Impact’s “Blue Chip Brands” roster have combined enviable stability with impressive growth. Each of the honorees has risen steadily since the start of the new millennium (at least 10 consecutive years of volume growth or a positive average annual compound growth rate of at least 1% from 2001-2011 while achieving increases in at least eight of those 10 years) while also generating big returns for its owners and marketers (all Blue Chip Brands had gross margins of at least $25 million in 2011).

Leading the way on the Blue Chip spirits list are the U.S. market’s top two spirits brands—Diageo NA’s Smirnoff and Bacardi. While the two competitors have traded off leadership of the U.S. spirits market over the years, both have consistently advanced throughout the past decade, and each now has the 10-million-case mark squarely in its sights. Having already reached that threshold in 2011 were wine’s two biggest Blue Chip Brands, Trinchero Family Estates’ Sutter Home and E.&J. Gallo’s Barefoot Cellars. While the former has advanced gradually over a long period, Barefoot’s surge has arguably been the most impressive in the entire U.S. wine market. Last year, the Gallo brand jumped by 17% to finish right at 10 million cases. On the beer side, Crown Imports’ Modelo Especial may not be the top-selling Blue Chip entry, but it bears mentioning because its upswing has been so impressive. The Mexican brand hasn’t only met the formidable requirements for Blue Chip Brand status, it has far exceeded them, registering two consecutive decades of annual volume increases. Last year, Modelo Especial posted a 14% gain.

For complete coverage and analysis of the “Blue Chip Brands,” see Impact’s October 1&15 edition.

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