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Nielsen Spirits: Slightly Slower May, Brown Spirits Still Strong

goldmanSpirits sales up +3.1%, two-year stack deceleration

Total spirit sales in Nielsen-tracked xAOC (food, drug, mass, WMT; ex-Washington) grew +3.1% for the four weeks ended 5/24. On a two-year stack basis, sales decelerated by -390bp from April, and similar amount from the trailing 6-mo average. Volume grew +1.4%, while price/mix decelerated slightly to +1.7%. By style, brown spirits remained strong, with bourbon up +10.6%, Canadian/Irish whiskeys up +13.8%/+17.6% respectively, while Scotch slowed slightly to +2.4%. Other notable categories: brandy/cognac +5.9%, vodka +2.2%, rum -0.2%, gin -0.4%, cordials -0.6%, tequila -2.3%, prepared cocktails -7.1%.


BF_B leads at +4.3% as Jack grows +5.1%

BF_B company sales grew +4.3% to lead the large producers, in-line with 32-wk average. Volume grew +1.6% as price/mix slowed vs. recent averages, at +2.7% this period. Core Jack Daniel’s bourbon sales grew +5.1% and have now stabilized at a MSD rate in this channel, vs. the LSD experienced towards the end of 2013. BF_B gained +8bp of sales share this period, +7bp driven by Woodford Reserve, which saw sales accelerate to +34.8% this period.


STZ spirits +2.3% as price/mix eases

STZ spirit sales increased +2.3% this period, ahead of 12-wk average of +1.3%. Volume grew +1.8% this period, vs. 6-month average of +0.4%, as this metric responded positively to less forward price/mix, up +0.4% this period. Both Black Velvet (+3.5%) and SVEDKA (+3.3%) grew LSD this period.


Beam-Suntory -0.9% as Maker’s Mark/Sauza decelerate

Beam-Suntory sales declined -0.9% this period, on -1.3% volume and +0.4% price/mix. Maker’s Mark sales were flat this period (+19% last year) and Sauza declined -8.1%. Jim Beam straight/bonded bourbon grew +12.9% this period. Beam-Suntory lost -42bp of sales share this period, driven principally by Skinny Girl cocktails (-23bp) which declined -33.4%, symptomatic of struggles in prepared cocktails.

Source: Goldman Sachs