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Whiskey Surge Drives Brown-Forman To 6% U.S. Growth In Fiscal First Half

December 6, 2017

Brown-Forman has reported underlying net sales up 7% to $1.6 billion for its fiscal first half ended in October, thanks to the strength of the Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester and Herradura portfolios. Operating income rose 14% to $590 million. The company’s U.S. business grew by 6% during the first half, spurred by balanced growth across the Jack Daniel’s family of brands, including the successful launch of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye during the second quarter.

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey (+6%), Tennessee Honey (+8%), Tennessee Fire (+14%), and the brand’s RTD offerings (+15%) were all up strongly in the first half of the year. Tennessee Fire is making progress in the U.S. on-premise, and Old Forester is up by strong double digits, “helped by the combination of higher prices, favorable product mix and volumetric gains,” the company noted.

Meanwhile, Brown-Forman’s super- and ultra-premium whiskey offerings, including Woodford Reserve, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel and Gentleman Jack, grew by a collective 15%. The company’s Tequila brands also remain on the rise, with Herradura’s sales up 19% and El Jimador up 10% in the first half.

Given the strong start to the year, Brown-Forman now expects that its underlying operating income will grow by 8% or 9% for its full fiscal 2018, up slightly from its previous forecast. Globally, the company’s portfolio in developed markets was up double-digits in the U.K. and Germany in the first half. In emerging markets, sales rose by 15%, driven double-digit growth in Mexico and Poland.—Shane English

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