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Brown-Forman Sales Rise 6% On Whiskey Growth And Emerging Market Progress

June 4, 2014

Brown-Forman has posted a robust set of results for its fiscal year ended in April, with sales up 6% on an underlying basis to $3.9 billion and operating income up 11% to $971 million. Growth was driven by the Jack Daniel’s family of brands—whose underlying net sales rose 8%—as well as a 19% jump in sales from the company’s super- and ultra-premium whiskey stable, including Woodford Reserve, which alone saw a 26% surge.

In the U.S.—which accounts for 41% of the group’s business—Brown-Forman’s underlying sales growth registered 4%. In addition to the advances of its super- and ultra-premium whiskies, U.S. progress was led by Jack Daniel’s offshoot Tennessee Honey, which grew 22% in the market. Another whiskey contributor was Old Forester Bourbon, which enjoyed a 7% increase in depletions and a 16% boost in net sales during the year, as Brown-Forman reported “significant demand for the brand in the on-premise.”

Among Brown-Forman’s other main markets, underlying sales grew markedly in the U.K. (+8%) and Germany (+8%) but slumped in Mexico (-4%). Meanwhile, the company flagged its 9% increase in emerging markets as noteworthy, given the general industry slowdown across several key areas, as Turkey (+32%), Brazil (+44%), Russia (+23%) and Southeast Asia (+27%) were all on the upswing for the group.

Brown-Forman CEO Paul Varga hailed the company’s full-year performance, “particularly in light of the moderating growth rates of our global competitors. I believe that our leadership position in premium American whiskey, led by the one and only Jack Daniel’s trademark, and a very balanced geographic contribution, underpin the company’s differentiated performance.”

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