Market Overview

Citi Discusses Nielsen Data For Spirits Group


There seems to be a consumer shift into American whiskey over the past five years, with growing consumer awareness around the category, Citi’s Wendy Nicholson said in a report. She added that this category continues to generate robust growth, and gain share of the total distilled spirits category.

Sales of spirits grew 5.6 percent in the 4-week period ended September 10, 2016, versus 5.1 percent growth over the last 12 weeks and 5.7 percent growth over the past 52 weeks. Price and mix added 2.2pts to dollar sales growth, while volume growth was recorded at 3.4 percent y/y.

“Interestingly, most major U.S. spirits makers continue to lag category growth (only Sazerac showed outsized sales growth) – demonstrating accelerated growth trends for the category’s ‘tail’,” Nicholson wrote.

In the brown spirits category, American whiskey grew 10 percent y/y and Irish whiskey was up 20 percent. Tequila grew 12 percent. White spirits delivered slightly softer results with rum down 1 percent y/y, gin up 3 percent and vodka sales growing 6 percent.


Sales at Brown-Forman Corporation (NYSE: BF.B) were up 5.2 percent in the 4-week period, driven by 2.8pts of price/mix and volume growth of 2.4 percent y/y.

Sales growth was led by the company’s premium American whiskey portfolio, with sales of Jack Daniel’s Black up 5.9 percent, Woodford Reserve sales growing 22.5 percent, Old Forester sales up 51.0 percent and Gentleman Jack sales growing 10.9 percent.

Sales of JD Tennessee Honey declined 5.7 percent y/y, although sales of JD Tennessee Fire grew 5.1 percent.

Constellation Brands

Sales of Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ) were up 4.4 percent in the 4-week period, backed by 3.7pts of volume growth and 0.7pts of price/mix.

Sales of Svedka grew 3.8 percent and Black Velvet sales were up 1.9 percent. “Casa Noble sales represented 0.7% of STZ’s total spirits sales (vs. 0.8% over the last 12 weeks) and contributed 5% of STZ’s total sales growth,” Nicholson mentioned.


Sales at Diageo plc (ADR) (NYSE: DEO) grew 2.7 percent in the 4-week period, driven by 1.3 percent volume growth.

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Posted-In: Citi Wendy NicholsonAnalyst Color

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