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El Jimador And Herradura Propel Tequila Growth For Brown-Forman

March 29, 2022

While Brown-Forman is synonymous with American whiskies, led by Tennessee giant Jack Daniel’s and super-premium Kentucky brands like Woodford Reserve and Old Forester, the company is an increasingly important part of the booming Tequila market in the U.S. Brown-Forman’s Tequilas—especially El Jimador and Herradura—are strong brands in a rapidly expanding market. Both labels recently earned Impact “Hot Brand” honors for their 2021 growth.

Last year, Brown-Forman’s two 100%-agave Tequilas combined for over 1.2 million cases in the U.S. El Jimador, the larger and more affordably priced spirit, was up 15.8% to 848,000 cases, and upscale franchise Herradura surged nearly 60% to 363,000 cases. “The fortunate reality today for the Tequila category is that we’re experiencing growth and great reaction from consumers everywhere from Seattle to Georgia,” said Jesús Ostos, brand director for Tequilas at Brown-Forman. Ostos also highlighted Tennessee, Arizona, and Oregon as especially strong markets for both El Jimador and Herradura.

“The beauty of our products is we have two things nicely covered that link very well to consumer trends,” said Ostos. “One is versatility and the other is authenticity. The versatility comes from vodka: quick drinks, refreshing drinks, and a clear spirit. And then you have, on the other side, the beauty of Bourbon and American whiskey with Herradura’s aging traditions. Tequila is right in the middle of both trends.”

Ostos adds that he sees increasing interest in aged expressions, especially for Herradura. He points to Ultra, Herradura’s Cristalino Tequila, retailing in the above-$50 range, as a standout among consumers trading up to higher-end releases. Ostos also sees vodka and whiskey drinkers increasingly reaching for Tequila, particularly in cocktails. Brown-Forman has looked to further raise Herradura’s profile over the past year with the brand’s first global ad campaign, which debuted last summer under the tagline “Extraordinary Awaits.”

Looking ahead, Ostos acknowledged that the growing demand for Tequila could create challenges in maintaining supply, but he said Brown-Forman has plans in place to handle short-term spikes in demand. Herradura, he added, owns most of the agave plantations farmed for the brand so they are able to properly plan for future growth. “Like everything else, it is a challenge: it’s an agricultural product,” he said. “But we have taken the right measures to maintain supply.”

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