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Impact’s “Blue Chip Brands” Stand Atop Industry After Years Of Impressive Growth

October 2, 2013

The latest edition of Impact “Blue Chip Brands” has been released, with 51 of the drinks industry’s biggest names across the spirits, wine and beer categories recognized for not only standing the test of time but also achieving outstanding long-term progress—both in volume and value.

To earn Blue Chip status, brands must post 10 consecutive years of U.S. volume growth, or achieve average annual compound growth of at least 1% from 2002-2012 with increases in eight of those 10 years. In addition, brands must have had gross margins of at least $25 million in 2012.

Most of the honorees have had Blue Chip status for sustained periods, even amid the challenging conditions that have characterized the U.S. drinks market over much of the past half-decade. Indeed, all but three Blue Chip Brands are return winners. The three newcomers are Pinnacle, Ruffino and Kim Crawford.

Pinnacle, which created the dessert-flavored vodka segment on the strength of its whipped cream franchise, saw volumes break the 3-million-case mark last year—just three years after it crossed the 1-million-case threshold. Pinnacle has shown little sign of slowing down since Beam Inc. acquired it from White Rock Distilleries last year. Its net sales rose by 13% in the first half of 2013.

New Zealand wine brand Kim Crawford, meanwhile, has established itself as the anchor in one of the U.S. market’s hottest wine categories. New Zealand’s wine shipments to the U.S. rose by 13% in the 12 months ended June 30, and Kim Crawford has led the way. The Constellation brand sold more than 550,000 cases in the market in 2012, when it grew by nearly 25%. It’s now roughly 30% larger than any other New Zealand wine brand in the U.S.

Ruffino, meanwhile, isn’t growing as quickly as Kim Crawford, but it has quietly advanced by more than a third since 2009. At 825,000 cases, Ruffino is now among the top-selling Italian wines in the U.S. market.

For complete coverage of Impact’s Blue Chip Brands, see the October 1 issue.

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