Technomic Identifies Top 250 Spirit Brands

The Top 250 spirits brands grew 3.1% in total volume in 2011, a rate slightly lower than the total market’s increase of 3.5%. According to data released by Technomic’s Adult Beverage Resource Group, the Top 250 brands generate 88% of the total U.S. spirits volume of 199.7 million 9-liter cases. The Top 250 brands account for 89 percent of total 2011 retail spirits sales.
“These brands are performing well overall, which points to the strength of the spirits market,” says David Henkes, vice president and head of Technomic's adult beverage practice. “Some of the more established Top 250 brands were affected by the recession and may now be experiencing a somewhat slower growth pace than prior to the recession. Others, however, are enjoying tremendous gains as they tap into various consumer trends.”

The leading spirits brands reflect dichotomies in both flavor preferences and spending among U.S. consumers. “Among the fastest-growing spirits brands, we see a definitive shift towards sweet and also spicy flavors, with flavored vodka, rum and whiskey products gaining steam. This is a change from the savory flavor profiles that had been popular in recent years,” says Donna Hood Crecca, senior director of the Adult Beverage Resource Group. “Also, the emergence of innovative value-priced products, particularly in vodka, is occurring alongside continued growth of several established premium- and ultra-premium priced brands.”

The largest brands of 2010 maintained their positions in 2011: Smirnoff, Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Jack Daniel’s and Absolut. On a category basis, vodka brands dominate the list, followed by entries in the cordials and liqueurs, rum and straight whiskey categories.

Low-calorie maverick Skinnygirl Cocktails, marketed by Beam Inc., outpaced all other Top 250 brands with a 388% gain to break the 500,000-case mark and rank as the fastest-growing brand. Familia Camarena Tequila, marketed by E&J Gallo subsidiary Alto Spirits, achieved 233% growth, making it the second-fastest growing brand. Other brands achieving triple-digit increases include Malibu Prepared Cocktails, Fireball Cinnamon Whisky and Rökk Vodka.

The Five Fastest Growing Spirits Brands
Ranked by Percentage Increase in Volume in 2011 vs. 2010
(000’s of 9-liter cases)

Rank                Brand                      Marketer/Importer           2011 Volume      Percent Change
1             Skinnygirl Cocktails                   Beam Inc.                          586                       388.3%
2       Familia Camarena Tequila     Alto Spirits/E & J Gallo Winery         250                    233.3%
3       Malibu Prepared Cocktails           Pernod Ricard USA                   150                       158.6%
4       Fireball Cinnamon Whisky                 Sazerac                            180                       157.1%
5                 Rokk Vodka                            Diageo                             200                       122.2%

Smaller brands grew swiftly in 2011, with the final 50 brands achieving 6.5% volume growth overall. “What’s more, the expansion among brands not included on the Top 250 list outpaced that of these leading brands,” says Crecca. “These include small artisanal brands, new line extensions and product launches that have ramped up following the recession.”  

The 2012 SpiritsTAB Report from Technomic's Adult Beverage Resource Group provides in-depth national volume and sales information on spirits category, brands and companies with expert analysis and forecasting.


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