Competitively Priced Pinnacle, Upscale Cîroc Lead Potent Spirits Mix In Control StatesNovember 1, 2011
The explosive rise of brands like Pinnacle vodka, Skinnygirl premix cocktails, Fireball cinnamon schnapps and Jack Daniel’s Tennesee Honey liqueur is sparking solid spirits growth in control states across the U.S. market. For the nine months ending September 30, control states’ spirits sales rose by 3.4% to 35.3 million cases, according to NABCA, including an impressive 4.9% bump in September.
White Rock’s Pinnacle ($14 a 750-ml.) is leading the way, selling more than 625,000 cases in control states during the first nine months of 2011—nearly doubling its performance in the year-earlier period. Propelled by its high-flying Whipped extension and the whipped cream-flavored vodka’s own offshoots—Whipped Cherry, Orange and Chocolate—Pinnacle is on pace to deplete nearly 3 million cases in the total U.S. market by year-end, with the Whipped range alone selling close to 1 million cases.
Pinnacle appears to have overtaken Svedka as the U.S. market’s hottest spirits brand. Still, Svedka—priced similarly to Pinnacle—continues to rise sharply. In the first nine months of 2011, the Swedish vodka’s control state sales jumped by 18% to nearly 300,000 cases. Other established players enjoying standout performances in control states include Diageo’s ultra-premium Cîroc vodka (up 69% to 166,000 cases in control states in the nine months through September), Heaven Hill’s sub-premium Burnett’s vodka (up 7% to 765,000 cases) and Pernod Ricard USA’s Jameson Irish whiskey (up 24% to 166,000 cases), which retails for around $25. Control states account for roughly 25% of total U.S. spirits sales.
Meanwhile, Beam Inc.’s Skinnygirl line continues its rapid rise, selling 64,000 cases in control states in the nine months through September after moving just 3,000 cases in its early days in the year-earlier period. Fellow upstarts Fireball ($16)—the Sazerac Co. brand that’s making a name for itself as a popular shot among the younger LDA segment—is also thriving, as is Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey ($20). While Tennessee Honey has only been on the market for around six months, the iconic name behind it has clearly paid dividends, as it’s already sold more than 30,000 cases this year in control states.
|Fastest-Growing Spirits in Control States
(thousands of actual cases)
|Pinnacle||White Rock Distilleries||Imported Vodka||328||626||298|
|Cîroc||Diageo North America||Imported Vodka||98||166||68|
|Skinnygirl||Beam Inc.||Prepared Cocktail||3||64||61|
|Burnett’s||Heaven Hill Distilleries||Domestic Vodka||715||765||50|
|Fireball||Sazerac Co.||Whisky Specialty||31||79||48|
|Jameson||Pernod Ricard USA||Irish Whiskey||134||166||32|
2based on unrounded data