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Exclusive: Impact’s “Blue Chip Brands” Highlight The Market’s Most Valuable Players

October 26, 2022

Each year, Impact honors the best performing wine, spirits, and beer brands in the U.S. market over the long term with its “Blue Chip Brands” honor roll. Amid changing conditions, shifting trends, and the arrival of new generations of consumers, these standout franchises have continued not only to hold their own, but to climb to even greater heights in the U.S. drinks market.

To meet Impact’s Blue Chip criteria, brands must show at least 10 consecutive years of volume growth, or average annual compound growth of at least 0.5% from 2011 through 2021 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. This year’s Blue Chip roster features a total of 63 brands across the wine, spirits, and beer/FMB categories.

While the Blue Chip spirits list leans on heavy hitters in established categories—like Jack Daniel’s, Crown Royal, and Tito’s, for example—as American spirits consumers reach for more diverse drinks, historically strong categories like vodka have receded some as more recently explosive categories like Tequila become the new establishment. Upscale Tequilas, especially, made a strong showing, with Patrón and Don Julio heading up the agave contingent. Spirits Blue Chips above 2 million cases include Tito’s, Crown Royal, Jack Daniel’s, Fireball, Jim Beam, New Amsterdam, Hennessy, Jameson, Evan Williams, Malibu, Patrón, Ketel One, and Maker’s Mark.

In wine, 21 brands met Blue Chip criteria this year, with the winning franchises split nearly evenly among domestic and imported labels. California remains dominant with 10 table wine brands earning honors along with one sparkler, while Italy has fielded four winners, and France accounts for another three awardees. Wine Blue Chips above 1 million cases include Bota Box, Stella Rosa, Josh Cellars, Menage a Trois, La Marca, Kim Crawford, Meiomi, J Lohr Estates, La Crema, Decoy by Duckhorn, Roscato, Oyster Bay, Diamond Collection, and Joel Gott.

The Blue Chip beer and FMB roster numbers 10 brands, with imports and flavored malt beverages making up the majority of the list. Among the winners are top sellers like Modelo Especial, Michelob Ultra, Stella Artois, Smirnoff FMBs, and Twisted Tea.

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
2021
10-Year
AACGR3
1 Tito’s Fifth Generation American Vodka 11,000 34.2%
2 Crown Royal4 Diageo North America Canadian Whisky 7,475 6.0%
3 Jack Daniel’s5 Brown-Forman Tennessee Whiskey 6,983 3.3%
4 Fireball Sazerac Co. Flavored Whisky 6,775 31.2%
5 Jim Beam6 Beam Suntory Bourbon 6,275 6.3%
6 New Amsterdam4 Spirit of Gallo American Vodka 6,150 63.5%
7 Hennessy Moët Hennessy USA Cognac 5,085 9.0%
8 Jameson Pernod Ricard USA Irish Whiskey 4,059 11.8%
9 Evan Williams4 Heaven Hill Brands Bourbon 3,417 9.5%
10 Malibu4 Pernod Ricard USA Imported Rum 2,979 5.5%
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 2011 to 2021 and at least eight annual increases the last ten years.

2 Thousands of 9-liter cases.
3 Average annual compound growth rate.
4 Includes flavors.
5 Includes Single Barrel, Winter Jack, Sinatra, No. 27 Gold, Rye, and flavors; excludes Country Cocktails and Gentleman Jack
6 Includes Devil’s Cut, Red Stag, Jacob’s Ghost, and flavors.Source: IMPACT DATABANK © 2022
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