Pernod: US gin boom shows ‘early signs of taking off’By Nicola Carruthers
The gin boom “is yet to take hold in the US”, where the category remains “considerably underdeveloped”, according to Louise Ryan, the managing director of Pernod Ricard’s stand-alone business The Gin Hub.
The Gin Hub was launched in 2017 as a standalone business, focused on the development of Pernod Ricard’s international premium gin brands.
These brands include Beefeater, Plymouth, Seagram’s (outside of the US) and Malfy, the latter of which joined The Gin Hub following Pernod Ricard’s acquisition of the super-premium brand in June 2019. Excluding Malfy, these brands grew 9% in Pernod Ricard’s fiscal 2019 year.
Speaking at a briefing in London yesterday (3 September) following the publication of the French firm’s fiscal 2019 sales, Ryan said there were “early signs of gin taking off” in the US.
“Super-premium gin is growing at more than 20% in the US market,” she said. “We firmly believe that it’s only a matter of time before gin and this gin boom starts to take hold there.”
In the US, Ryan believes that there’s “a lot of dynamism and momentum within gin”. She added: “At 4% of total spirits sales, we have a big job to do in terms of recruiting new users. It also requires investment on our part as an industry.”
She added that “acquisitions such as Malfy will help to bring excitement to the category”.
“Developments like Fever-Tree coming into the US market will help because we’re going to spend a lot of money on a super-premium gin. You’re not going to want your tonic coming from a gun, so I think there’s a collective effort there.
“I do think that with 4% of sales, there’s huge headroom for growth and we’re already seeing that there.”
Super-premium Italian gin Malfy is “already selling almost 100,000 cases worldwide”, said Ryan. “We’re really excited about the prospects for Malfy within our portfolio. We really think that Pernod Ricard is perfectly positioned with our great route-to-market capability to unlock the next phase of growth for this super brand.”
In Pernod Ricard’s 2019 fiscal year, Beefeater grew net sales by 8%, with “very strong growth across all regions”, in particular in the UK, Latin America and Africa and Middle East.
Strawberry-flavoured Beefeater Pink was unveiled in February 2018 by The Gin Hub. Ryan said the expression “has exceeded all of our expectations and sales are fast approaching the 300,000-case-mark”. A pilot test of a new Beefeater Blood Orange line extension has also had “extremely positive” initial results.
“Innovation has been a key driver of our growth in the last 12 months,” said Ryan, who added that Pernod “anticipates that it will continue over the future”.
She said: “We’re continuing to transform our portfolio through innovation and mergers and acquisitions such as Malfy.”