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Brown-Forman’s U.S. Sales Rise 5%, Despite Cooling Of Tennessee Fire

August 31, 2016

Brown-Forman’s Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey portfolios drove a 5% underlying net sales increase in the U.S. for the company in its fiscal first quarter ended in July. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey, Tennessee Honey and Gentleman Jack all posted positive U.S. growth during the period, but Tennessee Fire fell by double-digits due to “very challenging conditions against last year’s U.S. activation off-premise.” (Tennessee Fire had more than quintupled in calendar 2015 to above 400,000 cases, according to Impact Databank.)

On the Bourbon side, Impact “Hot Brand” Woodford Reserve continued to show strong growth, and results were also boosted by Old Forester and the launch of new label Cooper’s Craft. Meanwhile, Brown-Forman’s Herradura and El Jimador Tequila labels were up by double-digits, as were Sonoma-Cutrer wines.

Globally, Brown-Forman’s first quarter results suffered from foreign exchange fluctuations and the disposal of the Southern Comfort and Tuaca brands to Sazerac earlier this year for $544 million. Consequently, its reported net sales were down 5% to $661 million overall, with operating income falling 6% to $213 million. However, net sales (+2%) and operating income (+6%) were both in positive territory on an underlying basis. —Daniel Marsteller

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