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Impact’s Spirits “Hot Brands” Show Ongoing Momentum In 2020

August 24, 2020

It’s safe to say that 2020 has unfolded in a way few would have predicted at the start of the year. Yet many of the consumer trends that have animated the spirits market in recent years are holding true to form or even accelerating, including premiumization and the robust growth of key categories like whisk(e)y and Tequila.

Earlier this year, Impact recognized more than 30 spirits labels as “Hot Brands” based on their 2019 performances. Each member of that esteemed list demonstrated ongoing volume growth in control states in the first half of this year—at double- or in some cases triple-digit rates. Among the largest spirits “Hot Brands,” top performers like Tito’s, Crown Royal, Jim Beam, and Fireball were all up by more than 10% in control states in the first half, with Tito’s leading the way with an 18% increase.

While growth is widespread across the honor roll, the Tequila category continues to be a standout. Among the Hot Brand Tequilas showing rapid volume gains in control states this year are Jose Cuervo Especial Silver (+27%), Don Julio (+22%), Espolon (+42%), Cazadores (+19%), Casamigos (+66%), Lunazul (+33%), Altos (+32%), and Jose Cuervo Tradicional (+45%).

The story is similar in the whisk(e)y category, with all of the Hot Brand list’s members continuing to gain volume in control states through the first half of the year. In addition to Crown Royal, Jim Beam, and Fireball, whisk(e)y Hot Brands including Woodford Reserve (+24%), Ole Smoky (+69%), Pendleton (+13%), Basil Hayden’s (+23%), Ezra Brooks (+13%), Four Roses (+49%), Old Forester (+36%), Buffalo Trace (+17%), and Elijah Craig (+40%) all remain in growth mode. According to Impact Databank, control states account for about 23% of the U.S. spirits market in volume terms.—Daniel Marsteller

Mid-Year Update: Impact’s 10 Largest Spirits “Hot Brands”
(thousands of actual/mixed cases in control states, year-to-date through June)
Rank Brand Company 2019 2020 Percent
1 Tito’s Fifth Generation 981 1,159 18.1%
2 Crown Royal2 Diageo North America 699 773 10.5%
3 Fireball Sazerac Co. 652 728 11.6%
4 Jim Beam2 Beam Suntory 528 589 11.6%
5 Jose Cuervo Especial Silver Proximo Spirits 318 404 26.9%
6 Platinum 7X Sazerac Co. 254 282 10.9%
7 Woodford Reserve Brown-Forman 81 100 23.5%
8 Deep Eddy2 Heaven Hill Brands 66 76 15.5%
9 1800 Ultimate Margarita Proximo Spirits 42 63 49.9%
10 Don Julio Diageo North America 39 48 22.3%
Total Top 103 3,660 4,222 15.4%
1 based on unrounded data
2 includes flavors
3 addition of columns may not agree due to roundingSource: IMPACT DATABANK © 2020
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