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Brown-Forman’s U.S. Sales Up 6% In Fiscal First Half

December 5, 2019

Upscale whiskies and Tequilas continue to drive gains for Brown-Forman in the U.S., with the company’s net sales up 6% in its largest market for the six months through October. Overall, Brown-Forman posted net sales up 3% on an underlying basis to $1.8 billion for its fiscal first half, but underlying operating income fell 5% to $600 million as the company continues to absorb the cost of tariffs on American whiskies in the European Union.

In the U.S., premium-and-above Brown-Forman Bourbon labels like Woodford Reserve and Old Forester are rising by double-digits, as is the company’s Tequila portfolio, led by the Herradura and El Jimador brands. Globally, the premium Bourbon stable surged 22% during the period, while the Tequila range grew by 11%. The core Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey slipped by 1% in the fiscal year-to-date, mostly due to shipment timing, while the recently launched Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple and Jack Daniel’s RTDs drove mid-single-digit growth in the U.S. for the brand family overall.

“Our takeaway trends remain healthy in many major markets as we continue to invest in consumer momentum by absorbing most tariff-related costs,” said Brown-Forman president and CEO Lawson Whiting. “We believe this, coupled with increased investments in advertising and route-to-consumer changes in certain markets, position us well for the next generation of growth.”—Daniel Marsteller

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