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Ultra-premium whiskey drives Brown-Forman sales

Jack Daniel’s owner Brown-Forman saw net sales increase 1% in its third quarter of the year, as the group’s super- and ultra-premium brands surpassed the one million case mark for the first time.

Brown-Forman’s super and ultra-premium whiskeys, like Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, have helped fuel a 1% sales increase this quarter

The Louisville-based drinks group saw sales of its more premium American whiskeys soar by “double-digits”, propelling the portfolio past the milestone on a 12 month basis.

They include the Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select, Jack Daniel’s No. 27 Gold, and Collingwood brands, although Woodford Reserve’s family of brands led the way with 32% growth in the year-to-date.

The results bolstered an overall reported net sales increase to US$1.09m for Brown-Forman for the three months ending 31 January 2015.

However, the strength of the US dollar against other markets negatively impacted income growth by 7% during the first nine months of the year.

Paul Varga, CEO of Brown-Forman, said: “Brown-Forman’s 7% growth in underlying operating income over the first nine months is impressive against last year’s strong comparisons. Our industry-leading results were once again driven by our portfolio skew to premium American whiskey brands and a balanced geographic approach.”

Brown-Forman’s flagship brand, Jack Daniel’s, grew net sales by 5%, with its Tennessee Honey expression soaring by 30% in the nine months.

Elsewhere in the portfolio, Finlandia Vodka saw sales dive 9% in the nine months to 31 January 2015 due to “significant” buy-ins in advance of the Polish excise tax increase on 1 January 2014.

However, Tequilas Herradura and El Jimador both performed well in the US, although the latter was down in Mexico due to a recent price increase and “highly competitive mainstream Tequila category” in the country.

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