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Beam Suntory results boosted by US and Japan

Maker’s Mark and Yamazaki producer Beam Suntory posted mid-single-digit growth in 2017, driven by market share gains in the US and Japan.

Beam Suntory’s 2017 fiscal year saw mid-single-digit growth, boosted by the US and Japan markets

In the year to 31 December 2017, Suntory Holdings’ wider alcoholic beverages segment, including wine and beer, saw its revenues (excluding excise taxes) rise 4.8% to ¥722.5 billion (about US$6.8bn). Operating income was down by 0.5% from the previous year to ¥126.9bn (about US$1.19bn).

Beam Suntory benefited from the double-digit growth of Bourbon brands Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek and Basil Hayden’s. Tequila brands Hornitos and Sauza, Spanish gin Larios and English brand Sipsmith, which was acquired by Beam Suntory at the end of 2016, also boosted sales.

Geographically, year-on-year revenue grew at a mid-single-digit rate in the US, a high-single-digit rate in Europe, and a double-digit rate in Southeast Asia and China.

Suntory Spirits Limited, the division’s Japan business, posted 6% gains, with Kakubin, Jim Beam, Torys Classic and Maker’s Mark delivering “strong” growth.

In July last year, the company launched its first Japanese gin brand Roku “in an effort to create new demand”.

The ready-to-drink (RTD) business also shone with volumes increasing by 10% – 196ºC Strong Zero benefitted from the consumer trend of food pairings. Kokushibori Premium and canned highball products also grew “significantly”.

Looking forward to fiscal 2018, the company said it “aims to outperform its global market by building its premium brands, leveraging strong routes to market, and further fuelling its growth through organisational efficiency and effectiveness”.

In Japan, Beam Suntory plans to push marketing activities for Jim Beam, Torys Classic and Maker’s Mark, as well as RTD brands including -196ºC Strong Zero and canned highball products.

Beam Suntory’s full-year results are in line with Q3 figures when mid-single-digit gains were reported for the business.

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