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Growth Brands 2008: Backbar Stars; Cheers identifies the fastest-selling wine and spirits brands in the U.S.

Despite a modestly weakening economy during the latter half of 2007, the spirits and wine industries continue to expand their sales in the U.S. market. According to statistics just released in the Handbook Advance 2008, published by The Beverage Information Group, formerly Adams Beverage Group, based in Norwalk, Conn., U.S. distilled spirits sales volume rose for the tenth straight year in 2007, gaining almost 6 million 9-liter cases to end the year with more than 182.4 million, an increase of 3.2 percent. That gain was slightly less than the 3.7 percent increase posted in 2006. On the other hand, wine sales in the U.S. gathered even more momentum in 2007, increasing 4 percent overall, compared with a 3.6 percent gain in 2006. Wine sales volume grew from 283 million 9-liter cases to 294.4 million, a record-setting jump of more than 11 million cases. This marks the fifteenth consecutive year of wine volume sales growth in the U.S.

The major driver of the ongoing wine and spirits consumption increases is the American consumer's continued movement toward high-end products. Even in an economy that has lost a little steam, prestigious wine and spirits brands still are viewed as affordable luxuries by most consumers. Indeed, based on wholesale case prices, spirits suppliers' gross revenues grew 5.6 percent in 2007 to reach $18.2 billion, according to state of the spirits industry statistics recently released by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). The super-premium segment of all combined spirits categories grew a hefty 16.4 percent in 2007, according to DISCUS; by comparison, the value segment was down 2.7 percent. And, as one would expect, retail revenue growth once again increased substantially in 2007. Retail sales of distilled spirits, combined on- and off-premise, advanced 9.2 percent in 2007 to more than $62.6 billion, according to Handbook Advance 2008, while retail revenue from wine increased 10.6 percent to exceed $28.1 billion.

Still, several other cultural, demographic and industry-specific trends explain the continuing vitality of the wine and spirits industries: the increasing cultural acceptance of the potential health benefits of moderate consumption, a thriving cocktail culture and the American consumer's slow but steady shift from beer towards wine and spirits.

Other trends bolstering the overall market include legislative progress toward ending archaic blue laws nationwide, with particularly positive results from the growth of Sunday sales, which DISCUS tabs at an extra $212 million in new retailer revenue in 2006; a more spirits- and wine-savvy public that is responsive to increasing product education from retailers, restaurateurs, distributors, suppliers and the media; a recognition that beverage alcohol can be a flavorful enhancement to meals; a general modernization of retail outlets as they focus on making beverage alcohol shopping a more enjoyable and less intimidating experience, especially for women; and, the simple fact that the legal drinking age population in the U.S. is growing.


Most spirits categories registered increases in 2007, with flavored spirits, particularly in the fast-growing white spirits categories, once again expanding in volumes and offerings. The largest spirits category, vodka, continued to gain market share with sales of nearly 53 million 9-liter cases, a 6.7 percent gain over 2006. Rum grew 5.1 percent to reach 24 million cases, and tequila continued its upward surge with a 9.4 percent gain to end the year with almost 11 million cases.

The second-largest distilled spirits category, cordials and liqueurs, saw a modest increase of half a percent to reach 21.5 million cases in 2007, while brandy and Cognac climbed 2.2 percent to achieve 10.7 million. Gin registered a 1.5 percent increase in sales volume to end 2007 with 11.2 million cases. The prepared cocktails segment decreased 5 percent to end 2007 just shy of 6.2 million cases sold.

Among whiskies, straights grew 1 percent to finish the year at 14.7 million cases, Irish grew 17.5 percent, and Scotch eked out a 0.2 percent gain to reach just over 9.0 million. Canadian whisky showed a slight 0.6 percent decline, while American blends also were off, down 1.9 percent to end the year at 5.1 million cases.


Last year's overall increases in wine sales again were driven by table wine, which now accounts for 91.4 percent of the total U.S. wine market. Led by premium varietals, table wine grew 4.3 percent to reach 258 million 9-liter cases in 2007, this on the heels of a 3.7 percent increase in 2006. Much like it did in 2006, imported wines showed a larger percentage gain, at 7.6 percent, than the 3.1 percent gain registered by domestically produced table wine. Still, domestic table wine accounts for roughly two-thirds of the entire U.S. wine market.

Champagne and sparkling wine continued to bubble up last year, gaining 3.6 percent to end the year with more than 13.8 million cases, while the vermouth category and dessert and fortified wine sales volumes both declined slightly.


As in many other industries, brand equity is perhaps the most valuable asset a product possesses; this is especially true in the beverage alcohol industry, where a seemingly inexplicable change in consumer tastes and perceptions can propel or erase a brand's prospects. Remember California Coolers?

A combination of resources, creativity, perseverance, the right economic environment and sometimes just plain luck lead to the development of a successful brand. It's no surprise that there are beverage alcohol products in every category and at every price point that, for any number of reasons, either have lagged behind or outpaced their respective competitors. And although identifying category consumption trends is helpful, actual brand activity often can run counter to them. Crown Royal perennially outperforms the Canadian whisky category, for instance.

Tracking this brand behavior is the rationale behind Growth Brands, our annual report using the latest industry results to highlight those wine and spirits brands that have demonstrated noteworthy growth in recent years. These are the brands that in many instances provide the backbone of the wine and spirits business for retailers and on-premise operators alike. They also are the brands to watch as they grow beyond their natural competition and stake their own successful claims in the larger marketplace.

The September 2008 issue of Cheers will include our Beer Growth Brands results.

SPIRITS Fast Track Brands

To attain Fast Track status, a brand must have maintained double-digit sales growth in each of the past four years, and have sales of more than 100,000 9-liter cases.

As a brand expands volume, this clearly becomes more difficult. For example, last year's Fast Track leader, Jagermeister, saw sales increase in 2007 by an admirable 160,000 cases. However, that 5.8 percent gain was not enough to keep the brand in the Fast Track; it now is in the Established Growth Brands category. Other top-selling brands that moved from the Fast Track to the Established Growth Brands category include Ketel One Vodka and Cruzan Rum. Thus, the spirits brands that are identified here are some of the fastest selling spirits in the U.S.

Fourteen spirits brands are included this year, among them nine vodkas, two tequilas, two rums and one whiskey. There are six brands new to the Fast Track ranking--Seagram's Vodka, 1800 Tequila, Admiral Nelson Spiced Rum, Pinnacle Vodka, Sailor Jerry Spiced Navy Rum and Pearl Vodka--and the remaining eight brands carried over from last year's list.

Vodka dominates the Fast Track once again, which is consistent with its nearly 29 percent share of the entire 2007 U.S. spirits market, according to Handbook Advance 2008. The vodka brands cited here run the pricing gamut from value to premium to above-premium to super-premium, and the brand portfolios boast a line-up of flavors that has clearly helped increase sales.

At the top of the Fast Track rankings is Grey Goose Vodka, the high-end import from France that had another amazing year in 2007, growing an estimated 25 percent to reach more than 3.3 million 9-liter cases. Bacardi USA purchased the brand three years ago, and has continued managing it to phenomenal success. The brand now includes the pear-flavored Grey Goose La Poire, as well as L'Orange, Le Citron, La Vanille and the original Grey Goose.

Svedka Vodka, purchased last year by Constellation, sold almost 500,000 more cases this year for 1.5 million overall, a 47.6 percent increase from 2006. Seagram's Vodka, which was a Rising Star last year, entered the Fast Track this year for the first time. Launched in 2003 by Pernod Ricard USA as a companion to its top-selling Seagram's Gin, the brand moved to the newly formed Infinium Spirits in 2005. Also boasting a line-up of flavors, Seagram's Vodka notched 890,000 cases in 2007, a 10.3 percent gain.

Three Olives, another super-premium imported vodka with a broad portfolio of flavors, vaulted 220,000 cases last year to reach an eye-opening 850,000, experiencing 34.9 percent growth. Newly formed Proximo Spirits purchased the brand from White Rock Distilleries in the fall of 2007. For its part, White Rock is shepherding another successful vodka into the Fast Track--Pinnacle Vodka, which features a range of flavors and has had success with a blue-hued PET package. Pinnacle grew by an amazing 74.2 percent in 2007, ending the year with 263,000 cases sold.

Both UV Vodka, from Phillips Distilling, and Vincent Van Gogh Vodka, from Luctor International, include extensive flavored vodka portfolios. For its part, UV jumped an impressive 35.9 percent and eclipsed the half-million case mark for the first time, while Van Gogh gained 14.3 percent and sold a healthy 160,000 cases. Tito's Handmade Vodka, a micro-distilled spirit hailing from the Fifth Generation distillery, located in the unlikely location of Austin, Texas, grew sales by a third last year, hitting 213,000 cases. Then there is Pearl, distilled in Canada and sporting four flavors in addition to the original: pomegranate, plum, coconut and blueberry. Pearl reached sales of 135,000 cases last year, a 12.5 percent sales increase.

Continuing as one of the industry's fastest-growing brands is Patron, the line of super-premium tequilas, which increased sales by roughly 555,000 to end 2007 at 1.63 million cases, a whopping 51.6 percent gain. Another line of super-premium tequilas, 1800, earned a slot on the Fast Track for the first time. The brand notched 505,000 cases, growing more than 16 percent in 2007.

Far and away the top-selling Irish whiskey in the U.S., Jameson is a perennial member of the Fast Track. In 2007, the brand posted a 23 percent gain, representing about 100,000 cases, to achieve sales of 540,000 overall.

Both Admiral Nelson Spiced Rum and Sailor Jerry Spiced Navy Rum are first-time members of the Fast Track rankings, the latter introduced in 2003, while the former has been on the market for much longer. The success of both brands reflects the popularity of flavored rums. Admiral Nelson increased sales 20 percent last year to reach 330,000 cases, while Sailor Jerry jumped a hefty 60 percent to end 2007 at 200,000.

(thousands of 9-liter cases)

The brand must have exceeded 100,000 9-liter cases in 2007, with double-
digit growth over each of the past four years. All brands must be at
least five years old.

Brand Supplier 2003 2004

Grey Goose Bacardi USA 1,400 1,650
Patron The Patron Spirits Company 203 340
Svedka Spirits Marque One/Constellation 306 448
Seagram's Vodka Infinium Spirits 460 640
Three Olives Proximo Spirits 175 350
Jameson Pernod Ricard USA 262 304
UV Vodka Phillips Distilling 120 214
1800 Proximo Spirits 313 355
Admiral Nelson Luxco 160 200
Pinnacle White Rock Distilleries 17 33
Tito's Handmade Vodka Fifth Generation 35 58
Sailor Jerry William Grant & Sons 11 30
Vincent Van Gogh Vodka Luctor International 80 100
Pearl Luxco 40 52

Brand 2005 2006 2007p % Change '03/'07% ACGR

Grey Goose 2,075 2,660 3,325 25.0% 24.1%
Patron 615 1,075 1,630 51.6% 68.3%
Svedka 640 1,023 1,510 47.6% 49.0%
Seagram's Vodka 727 807 890 10.3% 17.9%
Three Olives 475 630 850 34.9% 48.5%
Jameson 360 439 540 23.0% 19.8%
UV Vodka 282 373 507 35.9% 43.4%
1800 395 435 505 16.1% 12.7%
Admiral Nelson 230 275 330 20.0% 19.8%
Pinnacle 58 151 263 74.2% 98.3%
Tito's Handmade Vodka 106 160 213 33.1% 57.1%
Sailor Jerry 57 125 200 60.0% ++
Vincent Van Gogh Vodka 125 140 160 14.3% 18.9%
Pearl 65 120 135 12.5% 35.5%

(p) Preliminary. ACGR = Annual Compound Growth Rate. (++) Greater than

WINE Fast Track Brands

Last year's Wine Fast Track included nine brands: three imports and six from California, with more than half priced below $10 retail. This year, the Fast Track explodes with 21 brands, 12 that are new to the ranking. The remaining nine--Foxhorn, Barefoot Cellars, Smoking Loon, Crane Lake, La Crema, Salmon Creek, Casillero del Diablo, Nobile and Wolf Blass--made the cut yet again by notching double-digit sales growth in 2007 on sales of at least 100,000 9-liter cases.

As the list has grown, so has the range of price points. While several value wines appear on the Wine Fast Track, so do several brands priced between $10 and $20, along with some reserve collections priced above $20. This trend could very well reflect the impressive 4.3 percent sales volume increase in table wine in 2007 and the 10.6 percent increase in total retail wine revenue. This demonstrates that while premium pricing is a notable dynamic, value pricing still plays a major role.

Of the 21 Wine Fast Track brands, 13 are from California. Three are imported from Italy and one each comes from Washington State, Chile, New Zealand, Australia and Spain.

Leader Barefoot Cellars enjoyed a phenomenal 2007, posting a 66.7 percent sales increase to end the year at 4 million cases. Amazingly, just three years ago, the brand sold a mere 475,000 cases. Meanwhile, Foxhorn continued its growth, gaining 350,000 cases to end the year at 2.95 million. Smoking Loon jumped 175,000 cases in 2007 to reach 1.22 million, while Crane Lake improved sales by more than a third, breaking the 1 million mark.

In its fifth year on the market, Constellation's Black Box bag-in-box wines grew 37.1 percent to end 2007 just shy of 800,000 9-liter cases. Depending on the market, the 3-liter premium wine packages sell from just under $20 to the mid-$20 range, offering four varietals sourced in California and one Australian shiraz. Kendall-Jackson's premium-priced La Crema gained 16.7 percent, reaching sales of 650,000 cases.

The Wine Group's Concannon brand graduated from the Rising Star category to the Fast Track this year. The brand vaulted 16.7 percent to reach 420,000 cases in 2007 on the strength of its two lines: Selected Vineyards, which retails between $10 and $11 per 750 ml bottle and includes five varietals sourced from California's Central Coast, and the Reserve line, priced higher and featuring six varietals sourced from its Livermore Valley Estate.

The value-priced Salmon Creek, from Bronco Wine, grew 12.9 percent, selling just shy of 400,000 cases. New to the Fast Track is Simi, another above-premium--and in some cases super-premium--California wine brand that increased sales 14.3 percent to also knock at the 400,000 case door.

Another wine new to the Fast Track is the tenth on the list and the first import to appear: Castello di Gabbiano, an Italian brand imported from Tuscany by Foster Wine Estates Americas. The brand gained 19.9 percent to reach 361,000 cases last year.

Another Rising Star graduate, Red Diamond, a Washington State wine in the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates portfolio, skyrocketed 38.9 percent last year, hitting 300,000 cases. Casillero del Diablo, a label of the Concha y Toro line imported from Chile by Banfi Vintners, increased sales 25 percent last year to achieve 295,000 cases. Nobilo, a New Zealand wine brought in by Pacific Wine Partners, jumped more than 12 percent to reach 251,000 cases.

E. & J. Gallo's Frei Brothers label reached 250,000 cases in 2007, a 19 percent gain. Red Truck is maintaining its initial success under new owners 585 Wine Partners, growing 11.5 percent in 2007 to achieve sales of 243,000 cases. The well-known Wolf Blass, a super-premium Australian imported by Foster's Wine Estates Americas, gained 12.2 percent to end 2007 at 230,000 cases, while Kris, imported from Italy by Winebow, gained 30.7 percent to move 200,000 cases. Made in the Trentino-Alto Adige region, the brand's U.S. popularity rests largely on its pinot grigio. Liberty Creek, a successful entry-level line from E. & J. Gallo, reached 160,000 cases last year, a 28 percent increase. New to the Fast Track is the cleverly named 7 Deadly Zins, made by the Michael David Winery. The brand reached sales of 160,000 cases in 2007, a gain of 45.5 percent.

Finally, there are two sparklers on the Fast Track: Segura Viudas, the line of Spanish cavas imported by Freixenet USA, which increased sales 15.6 percent to reach 150,000 cases, and Mionetto, the effervescent, affordable prosecco from Italy. The brand gained 18.3 percent in 2007 to finish at 142,000 cases.

(thousands of 9-liter cases)

The brand must have exceeded 100,000 9-liter cases in 2007, with double-
digit growth over each of the past four years. All brands must be at
least five years old.

Brand Supplier 2003 2004

Barefoot Cellars E. & J. Gallo Winery 360 475
Foxhorn The Wine Group 1,580 1,880
Smoking Loon Don Sebastiani & Sons 330 630
Crane Lake Bronco Wine Co. 207 454
Black Box Pacific Wine Partners/Constellation 4 216
La Crema Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates 307 338
Concannon The Wine Group 100 240
Salmon Creek Bronco Wine Co. 185 225
Simi Icon Estates/Constellation 220 264
Castello di Gabbiano Foster's Wine Estates Americas 190 219
Red Diamond Ste. Michelle Wine Estates 26 129
Casillero del Diablo Banfi Vintners 83 131
Nobilo Pacific Wine Partners/Constellation 76 123
Frei Brothers E. & J. Gallo Winery 115 150
Red Truck 585 Wine Partners 5 100
Wolf Blass Foster's Wine Estates Americas 120 142
Kris Winebow 55 72
7 Deadly Zins Michael David Winery 20 40
Liberty Creek E. & J. Gallo Winery 20 70
Segura Viudas Freixenet USA 70 86
Mionetto Mionetto USA 46 61

Brand 2005 2006 2007p % Change '03/'07 ACGR

Barefoot Cellars 1,000 2,400 4,000 66.7% 82.6%
Foxhorn 2,300 2,600 2,950 13.5% 16.9%
Smoking Loon 900 1,050 1,220 16.2% 38.7%
Crane Lake 651 875 1,200 37.1% 55.2%
Black Box 376 575 794 38.1% ++
La Crema 489 560 650 16.1% 20.6%
Concannon 300 360 420 16.7% 43.2%
Salmon Creek 300 350 395 12.9% 20.9%
Simi 292 342 391 14.3% 15.5%
Castello di Gabbiano 249 301 361 19.9% 17.4%
Red Diamond 188 216 300 38.9% 83.6%
Casillero del Diablo 196 236 295 25.0% 37.3%
Nobilo 161 224 251 12.1% 34.8%
Frei Brothers 190 210 250 19.0% 21.4%
Red Truck 156 218 243 11.5% ++
Wolf Blass 161 205 230 12.2% 17.7%
Kris 120 153 200 30.7% 38.1%
7 Deadly Zins 65 110 160 45.5% 68.2%
Liberty Creek 100 125 160 28.0% 68.2%
Segura Viudas 102 130 150 15.6% 20.9%
Mionetto 88 120 142 18.3% 32.6%

(p) Preliminary. ACGR = Annual Compound Growth Rate. (++) Greater than

SPIRITS Rising Star Brands

Twelve brands met the criteria for a Spirits Rising Star this year. Only two of them are returning Rising Stars--Pama Pomegranate Liqueur and 10 Cane Rum--and, interestingly, there are as many liqueurs on the list, four, as there are vodkas. There also are two rums, a gin and a tequila.

The liqueurs include Pama, from Heaven Hill Distilleries, which notched sales of 60,000 9-liter cases in its second year on the market. The pomegranate-flavored liqueur was the first widely available spirit to use the flavor, and pomegranate now appears in other liqueur brand line extensions and a number of vodkas.

Three additional liqueurs that made our list debuted in the U.S. in 2007. Wide Eye, an energy drink liqueur, is a prepared cocktail schnapps with extra caffeine available in three flavors: Pomegranate Spice, Mango Chill and Cherry Bomb. Wide Eye, from Barton Brands, retails for about $20 and enjoyed sales of 27,000 cases in 2007. Kajmir, from Constellation, is a 40 proof vanilla-flavored liqueur made from a blend of brandy, vodka and vanilla. Priced at approximately $19 retail for a 750 ml bottle, Kajmir sold 20,000 cases since its debut last year. St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, imported from France by Cooper Spirits International, is made from elderflower blossoms macerated in eau-de-vie. The 40 proof liqueur has a suggested retail price of $32.

The four vodkas qualifying as Rising Stars have each been on the market barely a year, with the exception of p.i.n.k., which debuted the second half of 2006. Imported from Holland, p.i.n.k. Vodka is an energy spirit that features a blend of caffeine and guarana. The brand retails for $38 to $40 for a 750 ml bottle and sold 16,000 cases last year. Sobieski Vodka, from Imperial Brands, boasts a Polish heritage and is quadruple-distilled there. Priced at $12 retail for a 750 ml bottle, Sobieski sold a handsome 50,000 cases its first year on the U.S. market.

Equally successful was Russian Standard Vodka, fairly new to the U.S. but the top-selling vodka in Russia. Imported by Remy Cointreau USA, the super-premium vodka has sponsored a Russian film festival and other lifestyle events in its prime markets. The brand sold 42,000 cases in 2007.

Finally, McCormick Distilling debuted 360 Vodka, the "green," eco-friendly super-premium vodka that comes in a green bottle. The brand is quadruple-distilled and filtered five times. Its positioning emphasizes that the bottle is made from 80 percent recycled glass, all label materials come from recycled paper and the production process is said to reduce a variety of pollutants. The brand experienced sales of 16,000 cases last year.

E. & J. Gallo is behind the leading Rising Star, New Amsterdam Gin. The 80 proof, domestically produced gin, retailing for $13 for a 750 ml bottle, hit 100,000 cases in its first year on the market. Tommy Bahama Rum, from Sidney Frank Importing, also had a stellar initial year, reaching sales of 50,000 cases in 2007, as did the upscale tequila El Diamante del Cielo from Blavod Extreme Spirits, which hit 32,000 cases in 2007.

Finally, 10 Cane, from Moet Hennessy USA, a super-premium rum that uses the juice from freshly pressed sugar cane, returns as a Rising Star. The Trinidadian rum reached 30,000 cases last year, a 50 percent gain over 2006 sales.

(thousands of 9-liter cases)

The brand must be less than five full years old, and must have exhibited
notable growth over the past few years.

Brand Supplier 2003 2004 2005

New Amsterdam E. & J. Gallo Winery - - -
Pama Heaven Hill Distilleries - - -
Sobieski Imperial Brands - - -
Tommy Bahama Sidney Frank Importing - - -
Russian Standard Remy Cointreau USA - - -
EI Diamante del Cielo Blavod Extreme Spirits - - -
10 Cane Moet Hennessy USA - - 11
Wide Eye Barton Brands - - -
Kajmir Centerra Wine/Constellation - - -
360 Vodka McCormick Distilling - - -
p.i.n.k. The p.i.n.k. Spirits Company - - -
St-Germain Cooper Spirits International - - -

Brand 2006 2007p '06/'07 % Change

New Amsterdam - 100 -
Pama 50 60 20.0%
Sobieski - 50 -
Tommy Bahama - 50 -
Russian Standard 9 42 ++
EI Diamante del Cielo 6 32 ++
10 Cane 20 30 50.0%
Wide Eye - 27 -
Kajmir - 20 -
360 Vodka - 16 -
p.i.n.k. 5 16 ++
St-Germain - 12 -

(p) Preliminary. (++) Greater than 100%.

WINE Rising Star Brands

The Wine Rising Stars category clearly is a reflection of the trends in the overall wine industry. Consolidation is intensifying, with the major wine conglomerates increasingly purchasing midsize and sometimes larger wineries as well as reaching around the globe to initiate and expand U.S. distribution of new and established international brands. The marketing and distribution muscle of the large wine companies dramatically drives the growing recognition and sales of these brands. In addition, the evolving approach to wine marketing and label design appears effective in making wine more accessible to a broader base of consumers, those who apparently are drawn to wacky, cute and quirky bottle presentations.

Penguins, fish, moose, monkeys, horses, owls, koalas and cats grace wine bottles once again this year, with one wine showcasing a different label/critter for each varietal. There also are guitars, hangers and high heels, as well as plenty of fun and puns. And these only are the wines on our Rising Stars list.

Indeed, it appears as though the entire wine industry is intent on expanding its appeal to American consumers by softening the oft-criticized intimidation factor of wine and wine labels. A case in point is the many Old World wines simplifying labels by emphasizing varietal names. This is not a dumbing down, per se, but a change in emphasis. Even so, the wine itself must appeal to consumer tastes, and this year's Rising Stars include wines with depth and character, as well as a number of easy-drinking, fruit-forward wines made to please the mainstream American palate.

There are 27 Rising Stars this year, 12 hailing from California, four from Australia, two each from Italy, France, Germany and Spain, and a single wine each from Chile, New Zealand and South Africa. Nine of the brands are new, while 18 return from last year.

Once again, the top Rising Star is from Australia--Little Penguin, marketed by Foster's Wine Estates Americas. The line features six varietals, and it gained 20.8 percent in 2007, breaking the 1 million case barrier. On the market four years now, the brand will graduate to the Fast Track next year if it keeps growing at a double-digit rate. The same holds true for the FishEye, Tisdale and Menage a Trois brands. FishEye, a California wine from The Wine Group, added 300,000 cases to reach 950,000, and it offers its portfolio of varietal wines in 750 ml bottles with colorful labels as well as in bag-in-box packages. Tisdale, from E. & J. Gallo, grew more than 50 percent last year, hitting 550,000 cases. Trinchero Family Estates' Menage a Trois gained more than 70 percent last year, jumping to just shy of 500,000 cases. The brand blends three varietal grapes into its White Table, Red Table and Rose offerings, thus the name.

Other notable West Coast Wine Rising Stars include the following: 3 Blind Moose by Centerra, offering four varietals priced in the $10 sweet spot. The brand increased sales to 350,000 cases, a 59.1 percent gain. Edna Valley Vineyard by Diageo Chateau & Estates jumped 27 percent to reach 293,000 cases, and the premium line of Wild Horse from Icon Estates/Constellation eclipsed 170,000.

Cycles Gladiator, from Wimbledon Wine Co., made from California Central Coast fruit and featuring a label of a naked nymph flying through the sky while hanging onto the handlebars of a bicycle, hit 165,000 cases during its second year on the market. Winking Owl, from E. & J. Gallo, also did well, enjoyed sales of 150,000 cases last year.

From Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in Washington, 14 Hands jumped 54.7 percent to reach 147,000 cases, while Little Black Dress, targeted at female consumers and marketed by Brown-Forman, registered 66,000 cases in its second year, a 65 percent spike. Two California wines from Bronco Wine Co., Harlow Ridge and Fat Cat, also sold well and warrant watching.

Among other southern hemisphere brands, Mattie's Perch, imported from Australia and marketed by E. & J. Gallo, exploded to 300,000 cases in its second year on the market last year, while Sebeka, also from E. & J. Gallo, a new wine from South Africa with a varietal portfolio that includes blends of shiraz-pinotage and cabernet sauvignon-pinotage, achieved sales of 175,000 in its launch year. New Zealand's Monkey Bay, from Centerra, reached sales of 182,000 cases, while Five Oaks, an E. & J. Gallo wine from Australia, reached sales of 150,000 cases. Cono Sur, of Vineyard Brands, featuring 11 different varietals imported from Chile, notched sales of 92,000 cases, while Kono Baru, from Don Sebastiani & Sons, an Australian brand featuring an upside-down label and a line-up of six varietals, sold 36,000 cases in its debut year.

The top European Rising Stars include two Italian wines imported by Gallo: DaVinci, with its artist-inspired label, which increased sales to 190,000 cases, and the super-premium Maso Canelli, which hit sales of 120,000 cases last year. Two German rieslings underline the growing popularity of that varietal in the U.S.: Polka Dot Riesling, from E. & J. Gallo, priced at $8 retail, sold 60,000 cases in 2007, while Clean Slate Riesling from the Click Wine Group, reached sales of 35,000.

From Spain, Pacific Wine Partners' Red Guitar, offering old vine tempranillo and garnacha, grew 82.8 percent to reach 53,000 cases, while E. & J. Gallo's Martin Coda, with a popular albarino, hit sales of 35,000 cases its first year on the market. Finally, the French wines include Pinot Evil from The Wine Group, which had another stellar year growing by 50 percent to 120,000 cases, and Chamarre, imported from France by The Other Wine & Spirits Co., debuted with sales of 48,000 cases.

(thousands of 9-liter cases)

The brand must be less than five full years of age, and must have
exhibited notable growth over the past few years.

Brand Supplier 2004 2005

Little Penguin Foster's Wine Estates Americas 374 647
FishEye The Wine Group 40 300
Tisdale E. & J. Gallo Winery 165 275
Menage a Trois Trinchero Family Estates 29 150
3 Blind Moose Centerra Wine/Constellation - 87
Mattie's Perch E. & J. Gallo Winery - -
Edna Valley Vineyard Diageo Chateau & Estates 88 181
Da Vinci E. & J. Gallo Winery 40 120
Monkey Bay Centerra Wine/Constellation 3 149
Sebeka E. & J. Gallo Winery - -
Wild Horse Icon Estates/Constellation 136 138
Cycles Gladiator Wimbledon Wine Co. - -
Winking Owl E. & J. Gallo Winery 30 100
Five Oaks E. & J. Gallo Winery - 25
14 Hands Ste. Michelle Wine Estates - 50
Maso Canali E. & J. Gallo Winery 44 70
Pinot Evil The Wine Group - -
Cono Sur Vineyard Brands - -
Little Black Dress Brown-Forman Beverages - -
Polka Dot E. & J. Gallo Winery - -
Harlow Ridge Bronco Wine Co. - -
Red Guitar Pacific Wine Partners/Constellation - -
Chamarre The Other Wine & Spirits Company - -
Kono Baru Don Sebastiani & Sons - -
Clean Slate Click Wine Group - -
Martin Codax E. & J. Gallo Winery - -
Fat Cat Bronco Wine Co. - -

Brand 2006p 2007p '06/'07 % Change

Little Penguin 943 1,139 20.8%
FishEye 650 950 46.2%
Tisdale 360 550 52.8%
Menage a Trois 290 497 71.4%
3 Blind Moose 220 350 59.1%
Mattie's Perch 75 300 ++
Edna Valley Vineyard 231 293 27.0%
Da Vinci 175 190 8.6%
Monkey Bay 159 182 14.5%
Sebeka - 175 -
Wild Horse 150 171 14.0%
Cycles Gladiator 131 165 26.0%
Winking Owl 136 150 10.3%
Five Oaks 120 150 25.0%
14 Hands 95 147 54.7%
Maso Canali 95 120 26.3%
Pinot Evil 80 120 50.0%
Cono Sur 19 92 ++
Little Black Dress 40 66 65.0%
Polka Dot 10 65 ++
Harlow Ridge 50 60 20.0%
Red Guitar 29 53 82.8%
Chamarre - 48 -
Kono Baru - 36 -
Clean Slate 6 35 ++
Martin Codax - 35 -
Fat Cat - 30 -

(p) Preliminary. (++) Greater than 100%.

SPIRITS Established Growth Brands

Most of this year's 27 Spirits Established Growth Brands represent a cross-section of the largest and most successful spirits brands in the U.S. These brands often are leaders in their respective categories and, in many instances, make repeat appearances as Established Growth brands. To deliver sales gains year after year is no easy task, so these brands must be commended for maintaining their positive sales momentum despite ever-changing consumer trends and evolving macroeconomic conditions. They are, for the most part, mature brands that have been on the market for years, brands that enjoy a loyal following thanks to ongoing brand-building efforts.

Established Growth Brands reflect the range of spirits Americans are consuming, from prestigious super-premiums to everyday value brands and a host of recognizable, quality spirits in between. Of the 27 brands, 17 are imports and almost every major product category is represented--there are eight vodkas, one gin, four rums, three tequilas, three brandy and Cognac brands, two liqueurs and six whiskies (one Scotch, two Canadians and three American whiskies). Prepared cocktails is the only unrepresented category.

The variety of price and product type among these top-growing brands serves to underline one tenet of the industry's conventional wisdom--that consumers approach different consumption occasions by purchasing different classes and types of spirits.

All the Established Growth brands happened to sell more than 550,000 9-liter cases in 2007, with 15 of them eclipsing 1 million cases. Once again, Bacardi, the top-selling spirit in the U.S., saw impressive gains. The brand grew 5 percent last year, adding 450,000 cases for a total annual volume of 9.45 million cases. Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum increased sales by more than 200,000 cases last year to reach 5.75 million, and Absolut gained just shy of 200,000 cases, breaking the 5-million case mark. Jack Daniel's ended the year at 4.74 million cases.

Diageo's Crown Royal increased sales 5 percent to approach 3.9 million cases, while that company's Jose Cuervo brand expanded sales to 3.85 million, a 1.7 percent gain.

Other noteworthy Established Growth Brands include Jagermeister, with sales of 2.9 million cases, up 5.8 percent. E & J Brandy reached 2.74 million cases, up 5.4 percent, while Skyy Vodka grew 5.3 percent, moving 2.39 million cases. Hennessy Cognac increased 6.6 percent, almost reaching 2.38 million cases sold, and Stolichnaya Vodka also did well, racking up 2.18 million sold, a 4.3 percent spike.

For its part, Ketel One Vodka, which gained 6 percent to end the year at 1.86 million cases, has just entered into a deal wherein Diageo agrees to pay $900 million for the global rights to sell, market and distribute the brand.

Three brands achieved double-digit growth this year, a noteworthy feat for any high-volume product. Malibu, from Pernod Ricard USA, hit sales just under 1.67 million, a 10 percent rise. Burnett's Vodka, from Heaven Hill Distilleries, gained 20 percent to move 750,000 cases. Juarez Tequila, marketed by Luxco, also hit double-digit increases in 2007 with a 22.2 percent gain, selling 550,000 cases.

Some of the other top performers include Sauza Tequila, up 5.6 percent; Johnnie Walker Black, up 5.2 percent; Maker's Mark, up 8.1 percent; Wild Turkey, up 5 percent; Bombay Sapphire, up 4 percent; Cruzan Rum, up 6.3 percent; and Grand Marnier, up 5.3 percent.

(thousands of 9-liter cases)

The brand must be a top seller, moving a minimum of 400,000 9-liter
cases annually, and must have grown moderately or substantially over
each of the past four years.

Brand Supplier 2002 2003

Bacardi Bacardi USA 7,800 8,140
Captain Morgan Diageo 3,933 4,492
Absolut Absolut Spirits 4,475 4,488
Jack Daniel's Brown-Forman Beverages 3,770 3,935
Crown Royal Diageo 3,058 3,225
Jose Cuervo Diageo 3,180 3,478
Jagermeister Sidney Frank Importing 900 1,300
E & J Brandy E. & J. Gallo Winery 2,350 2,375
Skyy Skyy Spirits USA 1,495 1,694
Hennessy Moet Hennessy USA 1,750 1,905
Stolichnaya Pernod Ricard USA 1,640 1,855
Ketel One Vodka Nolet Spirits USA 1,054 1,243
Malibu Pernod Ricard USA 940 1,040
Skol Vodka Barton Brands 1,183 1,206
Sauza Beam Global Spirits & Wine 1,010 1,110
Fleischmann's Royal Barton Brands 748 780
Bombay Sapphire Bacardi USA 605 630
Johnnie Walker Black Diageo 645 671
Burnett's Vodka Heaven Hill Distilleries 455 485
Aristocrat Vodka Heaven Hill Distilleries 650 660
Maker's Mark Beam Global Spirits & Wine 425 490
Remy Martin Remy Cointreau USA 600 620
Rich & Rare Sazerac 545 550
Wild Turkey Pernod Ricard USA 503 511
Cruzan Rum Absolut Spirits 340 380
Grand Marnier Moet Hennessy USA 474 494
Juarez Luxco 395 400

 '06/'07 '03/'07%
Brand 2004 2005 2006 2007p % Change ACGR

Bacardi 8,450 8,740 9,000 9,450 5.0% 3.8%
Captain Morgan 4,762 5,340 5,536 5,750 3.9% 6.4%
Absolut 4,640 4,636 4,847 5,040 4.0% 2.9%
Jack Daniel's 4,237 4,513 4,731 4,744 0.3% 4.8%
Crown Royal 3,340 3,584 3,705 3,890 5.0% 4.8%
Jose Cuervo 3,580 3,676 3,787 3,850 1.7% 2.6%
Jagermeister 1,800 2,300 2,740 2,900 5.8% 22.2%
E & J Brandy 2,485 2,500 2,600 2,740 5.4% 3.6%
Skyy 1,880 2,065 2,270 2,390 5.3% 9.0%
Hennessy 2,002 2,075 2,228 2,375 6.6% 5.7%
Stolichnaya 1,935 1,985 2,090 2,180 4.3% 4.1%
Ketel One Vodka 1,438 1,593 1,753 1,858 6.0% 10.6%
Malibu 1,300 1,460 1,515 1,667 10.0% 12.5%
Skol Vodka 1,366 1,387 1,470 1,591 8.2% 7.2%
Sauza 1,225 1,309 1,369 1,445 5.6% 6.8%
Fleischmann's Royal 842 861 864 941 8.9% 4.8%
Bombay Sapphire 663 725 750 780 4.0% 5.5%
Johnnie Walker Black 682 694 737 775 5.2% 3.7%
Burnett's Vodka 510 545 625 750 20.0% 11.5%
Aristocrat Vodka 680 700 710 725 2.1% 2.4%
Maker's Mark 538 596 666 720 8.1% 10.1%
Remy Martin 645 660 688 706 2.6% 3.3%
Rich & Rare 595 620 650 680 4.6% 5.4%
Wild Turkey 529 541 562 590 5.0% 3.7%
Cruzan Rum 435 526 555 590 6.3% 11.6%
Grand Marnier 517 547 552 581 5.3% 4.1%
Juarez 420 425 450 550 22.2% 8.3%

(p) Preliminary. ACGR = Annual Compound Growth Rate.

WINE Established Growth Brands

The Wine Established Growth Brands category is reserved for the top-selling high-volume wine brands that exhibited consistent growth during each of the past four years. These are the powerhouse brands that make up the backbone of wine sales in the U.S.

With table wine accounting for almost 92 percent of the U.S. wine market, it's not surprising that table wine dominates the Established Growth Brands list. What is surprising is that of the 30 wines making the cut this year, five are sparkling. What's more, 10 of the 20 brands listed are new to the Established Growth Brands rankings.

The newcomers to the ranks of Wine Established Growth Brands include two huge volume sellers. Sutter Home saw sales just shy of 8.15 million 9-liter cases last year. Peter Vella, the popular line of 5-liter box wines, achieved sales of 5.85 million 9-liter cases.

Other well-known newcomers are Columbia Crest, the premium brand that jumped 5.2 percent last year, achieving sales of 1.84 million cases, and Rodney Strong, a brand with wines ranging from premium to super-premium, which spiked 14.8 percent in 2007 to reach 784,000 cases. Another first-time qualifier is Mirassou; the line of $10 varietal wines experienced a sales spike last year of 25.2 percent to register 720,000 cases sold.

Two additional well-respected California wines also broke into the category. Kenwood's sales eclipsed 600,000 cases and Toasted Head broke the 500,000-case barrier with a 17 percent increase in 2007. Of the three remaining newcomers, two hail from Italy. The line of Banfi-branded wines notched 418,000 cases, while Principato's varietal line-up, best known for its pinot grigio, ended the year with sales of an even 400,000 cases. Spanish import Real Sangria, from Shaw-Ross International, hit 423,000 cases, a 15.9 percent gain.

Among top-performing California wines making repeat appearances as Established Growth Brands are category leader Beringer, from Foster's Wine Estates Americas, which added more than 330,000 cases to reach sales of 8.63 million cases, a 4 percent gain. Clos du Bois, from Vintus/Constellation, gained an impressive 10.4 percent to approach 2 million, while Robert Mondavi Private Selection, from Centerra, added almost 100,000 to end the year at more than 1.9 million cases. Blackstone, marketed by Pacific Wine Partners, increased sales 6.8 percent to reach 1.56 million.

Other Californians making the Established Growth Brands list again include Stone Cellars by Beringer, a Foster's brand, which ended 2007 with sales of 1.42 million cases. Diageo's Sterling Vineyards registered sales of 1.18 million, a gain of 12.9 percent. Bogle grew 9.3 percent, breaking the 1 million case mark. J. Lohr notched 785,000 cases in 2007, while Estancia Estates, from Icon Estates, increased sales to 748,000.

California also is the home of Korbel, the sparkling wine that sold more than 1.27 million cases last year. Other sparklers qualifying as Established Growth Brands include Martini & Rossi Asti, imported from Italy by Bacardi USA, which broke through the 800,000-case mark in 2007. Another Italian sparkler, Verdi Spumante, imported by Carriage House Imports, showed an impressive 11.7 percent growth rate last year to reach sales of 773,000. The Spanish cava, Freixenet, sold a notable 640,000, and Veuve Clicquot's La Grande Dame Champagne, from Moet Hennessy USA, reached sales of 455,000 cases last year, a 10.2 percent gain.

Two significant Australian wines are near the top of the category. Imported by W.J. Deutsch & Sons, Yellow Tail, the juggernaut brand whose growth has made headlines during the past six years, ended 2007 with sales of 8.15 million cases, a 1.2 percent gain. Lindemans, imported by Foster's, registered a 5.1 percent increase for total sales of 2.41 million.

Other notable performers include three Italian table wines: Cavit, from Palm Bay Imports, which grew 11.7 percent to 3.35 million cases, the perennial best-seller Riunite, from Banfi, with sales of 2.35 million and a gain of 3.9 percent, and Ruffino, from Icon Estates, which ended the year at 707,000, expanding its sales 12.2 percent.

Finally, the Washington powerhouse Chateau Ste. Michelle increased sales 20.6 percent, representing a 300,000-case gain, to achieve total sales of 1.75 million, and the German wines of Schmitt Sohne jumped 5 percent in 2007, registering sales of 930,000 cases.

(thousands of 9-liter cases)

The brand must be a top seller, moving a minimum of 400,000 9-liter
cases annually, and must have grown moderately or substantially over
each of the past four years.

Brand Supplier 2003 2004

Beringer Foster's Wine Estates Americas 7,350 7,720
Yellow Tail W.J. Deutsch & Sons 4,300 6,500
Sutter Home Trinchero Family Estates 7,050 7,229
Peter Vella E & J Gallo Winery 4,500 4,775
Cavit Palm Bay Imports 2,100 2,200
Lindemans Foster's Wine Estates Americas 1,941 1,991
Riunite Banfi Vintners 2,112 2,115
Clos du Bois Vintus/Constellation 1,505 1,655
Robert Mondavi Private Centerra Wine/Constellation 1,414 1,676
Columbia Crest Ste. Michelle Wine Estates 1,451 1,628
Chateau Ste. Michelle Ste. Michelle Wine Estates 1,054 1,175
Blackstone Vintus/Constellation 1,275 1,400
Stone Cellars Foster's Wine Estates Americas 1017 1130
Korbel Brown-Forman Beverages 1,116 1,154
Sterling Vineyards Diageo Chateau & Estates 880 966
Bogle Bogle Vineyards 600 661
Schmitt Sohne Schmitt Sohne 670 700
Martini & Rossi Asti Bacardi USA 750 760
J. Lohr Estates J. Lohr Winery 484 566
Rodney Strong Rodney Strong Vineyards 536 565
Verdi Spumante Carriage House Imports 499 563
Estancia Estates Icon Estates/Constellation 485 507
Mirassou E & J Gallo Winery 130 400
Ruffino Icon Estates/Constellation 550 565
Freixenet Freixenet USA 619 626
Kenwood Heck Estates 502 564
Toasted Head Centerra Wine/Constellation 332 387
Veuve Clicquot/La Moet Hennessy USA 311 356
 Grande Dame
Real Sangria (Cruz Shaw-Ross Int'l Importers 245 255
Banfi Banfi Vintners 256 290
Pricipato Palm Bay Imports 190 200

Brand 2005 2006 2007p % Change '03/'07 ACGR

Beringer 8,073 8,300 8,632 4.0% 4.1%
Yellow Tail 7,500 8,050 8,150 1.2% 17.3%
Sutter Home 7,246 7,673 8,147 6.2% 3.7%
Peter Vella 5,200 5,450 5,850 7.3% 6.8%
Cavit 2,650 3,000 3,350 11.7% 12.4%
Lindemans 2,000 2,294 2,410 5.1% 5.6%
Riunite 2,172 2,263 2,352 3.9% 2.7%
Clos du Bois 1,680 1,800 1,988 10.4% 7.2%
Robert Mondavi Private 1,717 1,803 1,910 5.9% 7.8%
Columbia Crest 1,720 1,757 1,848 5.2% 6.2%
Chateau Ste. Michelle 1,284 1,453 1,753 20.6% 13.6%
Blackstone 1,422 1,466 1,566 6.8% 5.3%
Stone Cellars 1200 1350 1420 5.2% 8.7%
Korbel 1,164 1,235 1,275 3.2% 3.4%
Sterling Vineyards 1,025 1,045 1,180 12.9% 7.6%
Bogle 777 927 1,014 9.3% 14.0%
Schmitt Sohne 765 886 930 5.0% 8.5%
Martini & Rossi Asti 765 795 803 1.0% 1.7%
J. Lohr Estates 618 779 785 0.8% 12.9%
Rodney Strong 588 683 784 14.8% 10.0%
Verdi Spumante 614 692 773 11.7% 11.6%
Estancia Estates 609 689 748 8.6% 11.4%
Mirassou 425 575 720 25.2% 53.4%
Ruffino 572 630 707 12.2% 6.5%
Freixenet 630 635 640 0.8% 0.8%
Kenwood 570 592 605 2.2% 4.8%
Toasted Head 419 429 502 17.0% 10.9%
Veuve Clicquot/La 379 413 455 10.2% 10.0%
 Grande Dame
Real Sangria (Cruz 311 365 423 15.9% 14.6%
Banfi 343 392 418 6.6% 13.0%
Pricipato 235 250 400 60.0% 20.5%

(p) Preliminary. ACGR = Annual Compound Growth Rate.

WINE Comeback Brands

Comeback brands are those that rebound after a decline--no easy task. To qualify, the brand must have regained at least as much sales volume in 2007 as it lost in 2006. There is one shining example of a Wine Comeback Brand this year.

Franzia Winetaps, marketed by The Wine Group and by far the top-selling wine brand in the U.S., increased its sales by a hefty 750,000 9-liter cases last year. In doing so, Franzia regained the 22.5 million case sales figure the brand attained in 2005. The line of bag-in-box wines clearly has struck an enduring chord with American consumers, as the huge sales rebound illustrates.

(thousands of 9-liter cases)

Recognizes brands of significant volume that saw a sales decline two
years ago but which rebounded last year. This increase, however, must
have resulted in total sales that are at least equal to or greater than
the 2005 sales total.

Brand Supplier 2005 2006 2007p % Change

Franzia Winetaps The Wine Group 22,500 21,750 22,500 3.4%

(p) Preliminary.

Richard Brandes is editor of Beverage Dynamics and StateWays, which also are published by The Beverage Information Group, formerly the Adams Beverage Group.

By Richard Brandes with Eric Schmidt, The Beverage Information Group Research Director

Photography by Lori Eanes

RELATED ARTICLE: Identifying the Growth Brands

The four categories of Growth Brands are designed to organize in a meaningful way the wine and spirits brands demonstrating notable growth so that retailers, restaurateurs and the industry at large can discern the existing and emerging trends and tap the opportunities available. Our Growth Brand criteria remain the same for distilled spirits and wine.

Fast Track Brands

The brand must have exceeded 100,000 9-liter cases in 2007, with double-digit growth in each of the past four years. All brands must be at least five years old.

Rising Stars

The brand must be less than five full years old, and must have exhibited notable growth in the past few years.

Established Growth Brands

The brand must be a top seller, moving a minimum of 400,000 9-liter cases annually. It must also have grown moderately or substantially in each of the past four years.

Comeback Brands

The brand must have significant volume and had a sales decline in 2006, but a rebound last year. This increase, however, must have resulted in total sales that are at least equal to or greater than the 2006 sales total when the decrease occurred. Note: There are no spirits Comeback Brands for 2007.
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Date:Mar 1, 2008
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