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Impact’s “Hot Brands” Keep Up The Momentum Heading Into Critical Selling Period

September 17, 2019

The spirits market’s fastest-growing labels appear to be maintaining their strong momentum as the busiest selling period of the year gets underway. Of the 30 spirits labels to earn Impact “Hot Brand” awards earlier this year, 23 have posted double-digit growth in control states in the year-to-date through July. Control states account for around 23% of total U.S. spirits sales.

At the top of the pack, Tito’s surged 23% to 1.2 million cases in control states in the seven months through July. If the Texas-based vodka label were to match that growth in the full market for the calendar year, it would top 9 million cases in U.S. volume for 2019. Earlier this year, Tito’s became the top-selling spirits brand in control states overall, and it could potentially overtake Smirnoff for the lead spot marketwide by the end of the year. “We really don’t see a slowdown on Tito’s,” says Jim Canepa, superintendent of the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, adding, “Without Tito’s, vodka as a whole would be in the red.”

Among other vodka “Hot Brands,” Tito’s fellow Texas label Deep Eddy, part of the Heaven Hill portfolio, continues to grow at around a 10% clip in control states, while Sazerac-owned Platinum 7X is up about 16% year-to-date. Meanwhile, Diageo’s Ketel One Botanical offerings are soaring, more than tripling in control states so far this year. Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes recently called the Botanical range “one of the most impactful launches in our history.”

From a category perspective, Hot Brand Tequilas and whiskies also remain in strong form. Bulleit (+11%), Fireball (+13%), Woodford Reserve (+25%), Crown Royal (+11%), Ole Smoky (+38%), Tullamore Dew (+13%), Four Roses (+37%), Old Forester (+16%), and Basil Hayden’s (+40%) all enjoyed double-digit advances in control state channels in the year-to-date through July, as consumers continue to gravitate to the whisk(e)y category.

On the Tequila side, Don Julio (+41%), Cazadores (+15%), Espolòn (+32%), Altos (+16%), Lunazul (+32%), Casamigos (+58%), and Jose Cuervo Tradicional (+31%) are likewise continuing to show double-digit gains.—Daniel Marsteller

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