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Brown-Forman Sales Rise 12% In First Half, With Operating Income Up 13%

December 8, 2021

Brown-Forman’s sales rose 12% to $1.9 billion on an underlying basis for its fiscal first half ended October 31, 2021, with operating income up 13% to $611 million. The company reported strong performances both in the U.S. and abroad, pointing to growth in the U.S.—especially for its Tequilas and Jack Daniel’s flagship whiskey—and in developed international markets, emerging markets, and Travel Retail. “We are pleased with the strong first half of the fiscal year and remain confident in our ability to deliver sustainable long-term growth, particularly given consumers’ increasing preference for premium spirits and our strength in the growing American whiskey and Tequila categories,” said CEO Lawson Whiting.

For the company’s second quarter, net sales were up 7% on an underlying basis to $994 million, with operating income up 10% on an underlying basis to $322 million.

In the U.S., Brown-Forman saw net sales rise 6% on on underlying basis for in the first half. For the company’s developed international markets, including the United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany, among others, net sales were up 12%. Emerging international markets and Travel Retail saw the biggest boost compared to the same period last year, up 25% and 64%, respectively.

Overall, Jack Daniel’s and its offshoots were up 11%, driven by 15% growth on an underlying basis for the brand’s core Tennessee whiskey as well as a global rebound and favorable mix in the U.S. Brown-Forman also pointed to the success of Jack Daniel’s RTDs, Tennessee Honey, and Tennessee Apple’s international launch as contributing to growth in the first half, while acknowledging that supply chain challenges hampered overall growth. The majority of the Jack Daniel’s portfolio posted growth, with only Tennessee Fire (down 4%) and Gentleman Jack (down 3%) declining.

Brown-Forman’s stable of premium Bourbons—led by Woodford Reserve and Old Forester—was up 18% on an underlying basis, with Woodford Reserve’s underlying growth up 17%. In Tequila, the company saw even stronger growth, with El Jimador up 19% on an underlying basis and Herradura surging 46%. Though growth for these two brands was strong, it was somewhat offset by a 17% decline for the rest of the company’s Tequila portfolio. “Despite the many challenges and ongoing uncertainties created by the pandemic, Brown-Forman’s business remains incredibly strong,” said Whiting.—Shane English

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