Beam Suntory Battles Tough Conditions In First HalfJuly 30, 2020
Beam Suntory saw sales dip 3% in the first half of 2020, as the company encountered Covid-related headwinds in a number of global markets. The decline came after a robust year in 2019, when Beam Suntory’s global sales topped $4.6 billion, and volume neared 62 million cases, according to Impact Databank.
U.S. sales slipped by 3% in the first half, as the off-premise surge failed to fully offset the broad shutdown of the on-premise. Still, Beam Suntory president and CEO Albert Baladi tells SND that the company has seen its portfolio perform better than anticipated since the earliest days of the pandemic. “We’re far away from where we want it to be,” he says. “But the spirits industry has once again proven to be resilient against recession, and within that context we’ve done well, relatively speaking.”
Despite the pandemic, Beam Suntory small-batch Bourbons Basil Hayden’s and Knob Creek were up double-digits globally in the first half, as were Toki Japanese whisky, Roku gin, and Haku vodka. “We launched Roku gin in the U.S. about a year ago, and it’s done incredibly well,” Baladi notes. Flagship Bourbon label Jim Beam, meanwhile, advanced by low single-digits, as Beam Suntory’s overall business continued to grow in markets like Japan, Germany, the U.K., Canada, and Russia in the first half.
Baladi added that the company has continued to see premiumization in the U.S. in recent months, evidenced by the strong performance of its higher-priced whiskies. But he warned that in addition to Covid, the ongoing tariff battle between the U.S. and E.U. is presenting challenges on both sides of the Atlantic. “Exports of American whiskey have declined by about one-third since the E.U. tariffs were imposed in 2018,” he noted. “and it continues to be a drag on our results.”—Daniel Marsteller
|Beam Suntory’s Key Brands in the U.S.
(thousands of 9-liter case depletions)
|Total Key Brands5||9,266||10,070||8.7%|
|1 based on unrounded data
2 includes flavors
3 includes Maker’s 46
4 includes rye
5 addition of columns may not agree due to roundingSource: IMPACT DATABANK © 2020
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