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Mid-Year Update: Impact’s Spirits “Hot Brands” Making Solid Gains In 2014

July 24, 2014

The vast majority of Impact’s 2013 spirits “Hot Brands” are continuing to enjoy significant progress in control states across the U.S. in 2014. While NABCA has reported that overall control state spirit volumes rose by just 1.9% in the first six months of 2014, nearly all of the Hot Brands were on the rise during that period, and 18 of the 26 honorees posted double-digit growth.

Fireball, New Amsterdam vodka and Tito’s—the U.S. spirits market’s three biggest case-gainers in 2013, according to Impact Databank—posted eye-catching advances in NABCA channels in the first half of 2014, with respective jumps of 116%, 57% and 80%. The exponential growth of Fireball and New Amsterdam has propelled both into the ranks of NABCA’s top 10 spirits brands.

The rise of Fireball and New Amsterdam—both in control states and the overall U.S. market—has been rapid. As recently as 2010, Fireball’s volume was a mere 125,000 cases, and New Amsterdam hadn’t yet been introduced (its rollout year was 2011). Last year, their combined total approached 4 million cases, according to Impact Databank. Considering the growth they’re enjoying in 2014, Fireball and New Amsterdam—marketed by Sazerac Co. and E. & J. Distillers, respectively—may well sell more than 7 million cases in aggregate by year-end.

Just three 2013 Hot Brands endured declines in control states in the first half of 2014—Pinnacle vodka (-2.2%), 1800 Tequila (-22.6%) and Midnight Moon moonshine (-15.9%). However, each of those brands achieved solid growth in IRI channels over the past year (Midnight Moon jumped by 156%, while Pinnacle was up by 27.8% and 1800 climbed by 5.4%), suggesting that they too may well be on pace for overall U.S. market growth this year. NABCA accounts for roughly 25% of all U.S. spirits sales, while IRI comprises approximately 15%.

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