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Impact Seminar Snapshot: Tim Hassett On The New Beam Suntory

March 31, 2015

When Suntory acquired Beam Inc. for $16 billion in 2014, the newly-forged Beam Suntory Inc. instantly emerged as the third-largest premium spirits company in the world, as well as a veritable whisk(e)y powerhouse. Bolstered by its core Bourbon business, the company continues to show enormous international upside, with Beam Suntory president of North America Tim Hassett detailing the group’s ambitious growth plans at the recent Impact Marketing Seminar.

“We have a very audacious agenda. Today, the new Beam Suntory is a $5 billion business, and we have an aggressive aspiration of doubling that business by 2020,” said Hassett, adding that the company’s growth strategy would likely include M&A activity, as well as increased premiumization and globalization initiatives.

Beam Suntory’s expansion will be driven by its vast whisk(e)y portfolio. Key growth brands include the group’s flagship Jim Beam Bourbon franchise—which has received a boost from its entry into flavors, including its recent launch of Jim Beam Kentucky Fire, and a partnership with actress Mila Kunis—as well as Canadian Club, which Hassett notes is Beam Suntory’s most widely-distributed whisk(e)y brand. Meanwhile, Two Gingers, the upstart Irish whiskey brand Beam acquired in 2012, is advancing quickly off its small base.

Scotch also represents a major opportunity for the company, and Beam Suntory has put notable emphasis on its Laphroaig brand of late. Likewise, the company’s Japanese whisky range—which includes its Hibiki, Yamazaki and Hakushu brands—is primed for growth, following critical acclaim and rising global demand, particularly from North American markets.

“We’re the only premium spirits company that actually participates in a meaningful way across all five of the biggest whisk(e)y segments,” said Hassett. “It’s our intent to not only thoughtfully grow all our whisk(e)y brands, but to also lead Japanese whisky development. We’ll be hearing a lot more about Japanese whisky in the next few years.”

Meanwhile, speaking at a separate presentation of the group’s Japanese whiskies in New York in recent days, Suntory Holding president Takeshi Niinami underscored the stakes his company has placed on Beam Suntory’s success. “We’ve grown Suntory every year over the past decade,” Takeshi said. “Now we’ve made a $16-billion bet on Beam, and placed management responsibility for our Japanese whiskies with Beam Suntory in Deerfield. We’ve done that because we see huge opportunities in the U.S. We consider it a core, global hub within our business.”

 

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