Home' National Liquor News : NLN FEB 2018 Contents 60 | FEBRUARY 2018 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS
MARK SATTERTHWAITE, MANAGING DIRECTOR
WHAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS FOR
BROWN-FORMAN IN 2017?
2017 was an important year for the company
as we were able to increase our existing
brands’ footprints while broadening the
portfolio with new whisky additions such as
Glendronach, BenRiach, and Glenglassaugh
single malt scotches, Slane Irish Whiskey,
and Collingwood Canadian. Our Bourbons,
Woodford Reserve and Old Forester, also
grew with double digit gains fuelled by the
on- and off-premise segments.
Jack Daniel’s and our messaging via the
‘Postcards’ advertising campaign helped
to reinforce the specialness of the brand
while conveying the message that every
drop continues to be made in Lynchburg,
Tennessee. We also drove greater visibility
within the music and event space. In the
highly competitive RTD category, Jack
Daniel’s American Serve lapped the previous
year’s launch with YOY gains. Double Jack
also posted another year of sales increases as
consumers gravitated to higher proof RTDs.
HOW HAS SLANE IRISH WHISKEY
PERFORMED SINCE LAUNCH?
Glass Irish Whiskey is four per cent of Total
Glass Whisk(e)y sales, having the highest
growth rate which has accelerated for three
years and at this point we see no slowing
down for the category. Brown-Forman is well
placed on Slane according to the strategy
that was outlined for the brand. We’re very
pleased and encouraged by our performance
to date. During the seeding stage, it has
been adopted extremely well by trade and
consumers. We continue to receive positive
feedback on the disruptive nature of the
packaging as well as complexity and more
robust flavour of the whiskey itself, owing to
our triple cask maturation.
WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE
CHALLENGES YOU FACED IN 2017?
In addition to the key challenge of an
increasing number of brands and innovations
competing in the Australian market for the
same shelf space and back bar visibility, some
of the specific challenges that the we faced
in 2017 were: i) an overall decline in alcohol
consumption, ii) declining trends for the
mid-strength segment of RTDs (4.5 to five per
cent ABV) and, iii) competitive pricing within
RTD’s and full strength products.
WHAT ARE THE THE MAJOR OP-
PORTUNITIES FOR BROWN-FOR-
MAN OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?
I believe that we need to continue to improve
our abilities in informing the trade and our
consumers of how and why our brands are
different. The worldwide increased interest in
premium spirits plays well into our strong suit
and I would expect us to be able to capitalise
upon this for quite some time into the future.
Jack Daniel was a real man who created a
Tennessee Whiskey that has been made in the
same town using the same charcoal mellowing
process for more than 150 years. This is
fascinating – and is simply not known by as
many we would like within our target audience.
We also think that the Australian market has
a long runway and is still largely discovering
some categories and brands. And with each
discovery, comes another opportunity for
industry. Innovation has been extremely
important within RTDs and I would expect that
we will need to continue to find ways to reach
consumers’ changing tastes and occasions.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIG
SPIRITS TRENDS FOR 2018?
There is a continued emergence and
fragmentation of the total whisk(e)y market,
as consumers look to discover new tastes and
brands as well as trade up to more premium and
different expressions within a reasonably mature
category. Within the RTD segment, there seems
to be some degree of polarisation where growth
is delivered by either low-proof easy drinking
‘refreshing’ options or higher ABV variants.
Finally, innovation in new flavours and formats
continue to see positive trends. Brown-Forman
has been consistent in utilising consumer-centric
innovations to address trends – whether it is in
product or activation without compromising the
values of the respective brands in its portfolio.
HOW WILL YOU ENGAGE THE
TRADE TO DRIVE SALES IN 2018?
Brown-Forman has and will continue to
evolve in how we engage our customers
to deliver mutually beneficial growth. We
will continue to invest in the capability and
channel understanding of our expanded
on-premise team and are increasing our
resources behind brand advocacy. We have
also expanded our key account team and will
put more resources and energy into category
development this year.
WHAT KEY FACTORS DO YOU THINK
THE INDUSTRY SHOULD BE
DISCUSSING IN 2018?
As always, the industry as a whole must
continue to have a proactive conversation
with all stakeholders to ensure that people
are serving and consuming our products in a
In addition, the industry must also be
open to communicating positive stories of
consumer education, improved training
and career opportunities for bartenders and
our contribution to night time and tourism
economies. This will help improve our
collective reputation among regulators and
IN PREMIUM SPIRITS
PLAYS WELL INTO OUR
STRONG SUIT AND I
WOULD EXPECT US TO
BE ABLE TO CAPITALISE
UPON THIS FOR QUITE
SOME TIME INTO
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