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The top 10 fastest declining spirits brands

As a million case-selling brand, navigating turbulent market conditions, consumer trends, and geopolitical and economic headwinds is no mean feat. Here, The Spirits Business rounds up the world’s fastest declining spirits brands.

The Spirits Business rounds up the world’s fastest declining spirits brands

While the idea of The Brand Champions report is to celebrate excellence in each category, it is always an informative exercise to examine those brands that, for any number of reasons, have shed volumes over the past year.

It is also important to note that steep declines in volumes don’t necessarily reflect a slump in values – with premiumisation a compelling trend, it may be that some of the brands on our fastest declining list have upped their game in other areas.

While Indian brands, or players in the market, dominate the list, the losses are far from across the board – as our Indian Brand Champion, and fellow Radico Khaitan brand, 8PM will attest.

Two vodkas on the fastest declining list show the category is still feeling the pinch – while growth is slowly returning, the Eastern European/Russian homeland is still in negative territory. Onwards and upwards for 2017.

Click through the following pages to discover the world’s top 10 fastest declining spirits brands.

10. Passport

2016: 1.74m
2015: 1.94m
% change: -10.31%

Once the world’s fastest growing spirit, Pernod Ricard-owned Passport enjoyed a phenomenal year in 2015, posting +19.01% growth – so to see the brand enter the fastest declining arena leaves more of a bitter taste than most other brands. Despite the impact of its above the line millennial-focussed campaign ‘Your Passport to a new world’ and the introduction of The Urban Art Project in Brazil, Mexico, Angola and Central Europe, the brand lost 200,000 cases in 2016 due to turbulent market conditions in  Latin America, particularly Brazil.

9. Talka

2016: 1.60m
2015: 1.80m
% change: -11.11%

While the wider vodka category is starting to show glimpses of stability, a number of brands continue to struggle against the social, economic and political hurdles it has faced in recent years. The Eastern European/Russian homeland in particular is still in negative territory, which perhaps explains why Roust’s Talka suffered significant losses over the year.

8. Old Port Rum

2016: 1.92m
2015: 1.76m
% change: -11.98%

It was a mixed market for rum in 2016, and unfortunately, Bangalore-based Amrut Distillery’s Old Port Rum was not one of the lucky ones. The demonetisation of 86% of the India’s banknotes during November 2016, and more recently, the highway ban on alcohol sales would certainly not have helped matters, along with a lack of market interest in the category – as such, the brand lost 160,00 sales last year.

7. White Horse

2016: 1.30m
2015: 1.50m
% change: -13.33%

While Diageo’s other lower-priced Scotch whisky brands saw success in the emerging markets – Black & White even features in our rundown of fastest growing spirits brands – it would seem that White Horse didn’t get the memo, and instead lost 200,000 cases in 2016. An historic brand that boasts Lagavulin as one of its key components, White Horse offers consumers an accessible price-point – will it claw back growth next year?

6. Daigoro

2016: 1.30m
2015: 1.50m
% change: -13.33%

Shochu as a category reported stagnant or declining volumes due to unsettled market conditions throughout Asia and the lure of international spirit brands for emerging middle-­class consumers. Asahi Breweries’ standard offering Diagoro was hit the hardest, losing 200,000 cases in 2016.

5. Green Mark

2016: 2.20m
2015: 2.54m
% change: -13.39%

Roust-owned Green Mark joins the company’s Talka brand on our list of fastest declining –  once again due to substantial headwinds seen in Eastern European and Russia in recent years and also a surge in illicit moonshine. As the region continues on a more stable trajectory and authorities’ crack down on illicit factories continues, domestic brands may start to put the brakes on their harsh volume declines.

4. Amarula

2016: 1.10m
2015: 1.30m
% change: -15.38%

While it has seen slow losses since a flattening in 2014, Amarula is another unexpected addition to the fastest declining leaderboard. Cream liqueurs aren’t the flashiest of categories, yet the brand’s strides in travel retail, and the awareness that comes with it, should set it in good stead.

3. McDowell’s No.1 Brandy

2016: 2.20m
2015: 2.70m
% change: -18.52%

McDowell’s No.1 Celebration, last year’s biggest brand by volume, took a 8.02% tumble in 2016 – equivalent to a whopping 500,000 cases. Owned by Diageo-controlled Indian drinks group United Spirits, the brand struggled against a “subdued” economic environment due to demonitisation, India’s roadside alcohol ban, and the impact of prohibition in the Bihar state.

2. Contessa

2016: 1.98m
2015: 2.70m
% change: -26.67%

Radico Khaitan-owned rum brand Contessa, perhaps similarly hit by demonetisation in India, collapsed by more than 26% – dropping below the 2m cases marker for the first time in more than five years.

1. Crown

2016: 0.58m
2015: 1.00m
% change: -42.00%

The brand heading the list is one of the most surprising. After hitting the magic million mark in 2013 and holding on for two years, Radico Khaitan’s Crown Indian Whisky – pictured back left – shed almost half of its volume sales in what has no doubt been a challenging year for the spirits sector in the market.

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