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Impact’s “Blue Chip” Brands: The Stars Of The Industry

November 3, 2020

Each year, Impact recognizes the drinks industry’s best long-term performers with its “Blue Chip” Brands. To earn honors, brands must show at least 10 consecutive years of volume growth, or average annual compound growth of at least 0.5% from 2009 through 2019, with positive growth in at least eight of those 10 years. In addition, the brands must have maintained gross margins of at least $25 million last year.

A total of 27 spirits brands earned Blue Chip honors, including five new winners joining the returning awardees. Whiskies are the largest general category, with 12 honorees spread across Bourbon, Irish, Canadian, Scotch, and flavored segments. The Blue Chip whiskies range from some of the biggest brands in the U.S.—Jack Daniel’s and Fireball, for example—to rising representatives from the ascendant super-premium tier, like Knob Creek and Woodford Reserve. Tequila is the second most represented category among the Blue Chip brands with seven winners.

The Blue Chip wine list is dominated by California, along with a smattering of entrants from Italy, New Zealand, and France. E.&J. Gallo’s California-based Barefoot Cellars is the largest Blue Chip wine brand, having averaged remarkable annual growth of 11% over the past decade to reach 18.27 million cases in 2019, according to Impact Databank. The brand’s sparkling wine extension, Barefoot Bubbly, also returns to the Blue Chip list this year, with depletions of 1.2 million cases.

Blue Chip wine brands above 1 million cases also include Woodbridge, Bota Box, Black Box, Liberty Creek, Apothic, Josh Cellars, Ménage à Trois, Stella Rosa, Winking Owl, La Marca, J. Lohr Estates, Ruffino, Kim Crawford, Meiomi, La Crema, William Wycliff, Canyon Road and Joel Gott. The full list of Blue Chip wines, spirits and beers, along with data and analysis, appears in Impact’s October 15 issue. Click here to subscribe.


Impact’s “Blue Chip” Brands—The Ten Largest Spirits Honorees1
Rank Brand Marketer Type/Origin Depletions2
AACGR3 Retail Sales4
1 Tito’s Fifth Generation American Vodka 8,770 40.9% $1,736.5
2 Crown Royal5 Diageo North America Canadian Whisky 6,886 5.3% $2,086.4
3 Jack Daniel’s6 Brown-Forman Tennessee Whiskey 6,631 3.5% $1,770.5
4 Jim Beam7 Beam Suntory Bourbon 5,729 6.3% $1,048.4
5 Fireball Sazerac Co. Flavored Canadian Whisky 5,625 60.4% $1,046.3
6 Svedka5 Constellation Brands Imported Vodka 4,550 5.1% $559.7
7 Hennessy Moët Hennessy USA Cognac 3,972 6.5% $1,811.3
8 Jameson Pernod Ricard USA Irish Whiskey 3,723 16.4% $1,139.3
9 Evan Williams5 Heaven Hill Brands Bourbon 2,915 8.6% $411.0
10 Ketel One5 Diageo North America Imported Vodka 2,400 2.7% $554.4
1 Criteria:
(a) At least 500,000 9-liter case depletions.
(b) At least $25 million gross margin.
(c) Either:
(i) At least ten consecutive years of volume growth.
(ii) AACGR of at least 2% from 2009 to 2019 and at least eight annual increases the last ten years.

2 Thousands of 9-liter cases.
3 Average annual compound growth rate.
4 Understates total consumer expenditure because on-premise sales are estimated at the retail level.
5 Includes flavors.
6 Includes Single Barrel, Winter Jack, Sinatra, No. 27 Gold, Rye, and flavors; excludes Country Cocktails and Gentleman Jack
7 Includes Devil’s Cut, Red Stag Jacob’s Ghost, and flavors.

Sources: IMPACT DATABANK © 2020

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