Impact Databank: Top Sellers Achieve Impressive Growth Amid Whisk(e)y BoomJanuary 13, 2016
Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, the U.S. market’s whisk(e)y boom seems to be propelling nearly all of the category’s leading brands to impressive gains.
Six whisk(e)y entries can be found among the market’s top 25 spirits brands, and all but one made significant progress in 2015, according to Impact Databank estimates.
Jack Daniel’s leads the way. The Tennessee whiskey line saw about a half-million-case advance in 2015, with Impact Databank estimating 8.5% growth to 6.1 million cases. While Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey has been a key growth engine for the franchise over the past few years on the strength of annual double-digit progress, its pace has slowed, and is estimated at around 4% in 2015. However, another flavored whisk(e)y offshoot—Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire—has picked up the slack, and, after a promising start following its 2014 launch, is now a major category player, with sales projected to approach 400,000 cases.
Flavors have also been instrumental in the growth of Crown Royal—which was up by an estimated 24% in 2015—as well as Jim Beam (+7.4%) and Evan Williams (+11%). However, in all cases—including Jack Daniel’s—the core offerings are also performing relatively well.
Pernod Ricard’s Jameson shares the eye-catching growth trend with its whisk(e)y brethren. The Irish whiskey leader enjoyed another double-digit bump this year, and its U.S. volume is now more than twice as big as it was as recently as 2010.
While Jameson doesn’t offer any flavor extensions, Pernod has embraced whisk(e)y’s innovative spirit to bolster the brand in recent years. Jameson, whose core offering is priced around $25 a 750-ml., has been extended with a number of higher-end offerings, and they’re gaining traction. The recent success of Jameson’s Black Barrel entry ($34.99) is especially notable. The extension has found early promise in part by attracting Bourbon consumers, due largely to its versatility in classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned.
More recently, Jameson added to its stable with its late summer 2015 launch of Jameson Caskmates, an Irish whiskey finished in craft beer barrels sourced from Ireland’s Franciscan Well micro-brewery. Caskmates is currently available nationwide, retailing at $29.99, and Pernod says the early response from consumers, the trade and social media has been overwhelmingly positive.
A comprehensive report on the U.S. market’s top 25 spirits brands appears in the January 1&15, 2016 issue of Impact.Subscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning.