Chicago-based Technomic’s Adult Beverage Resource Group reported that the Top 250 spirits brands grew 3.1 percent in total volume in 2011, which is slightly lower than the total market’s 3.5 percent increase. Deerfield, Ill.-based Beam Inc.’s Skinnygirl Cocktails outpaced all other brands with a 388 percent gain to break the 500,000 case mark and rank as the fastest-growing brand, according to Technomic.
Reporting 233 percent growth, Familia Camarena Tequila, which is marketed by Modesto, Calif.-based E&J Gallo subsidiary Alto Spirits, ranked as the second fastest-growing brand. Rounding out the Top 5 fastest-growing brands were Paris-based Pernod Ricard’s Malibu prepared cocktails, Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey from Sazerac Co., Metairie, La., and Rokk Vodka, which is marketed by Diageo, London.
The research firm noted that the Top 250 brands generated 88 percent of the total U.S. spirits volume of 199.7 million 9-liter cases, and accounted for 89 percent of total 2011 retail spirits sales.
“These brands are performing well overall, which points to the strength of the spirits market,” says David Henkes, vice president and head of Technomic’s adult beverage practice, in a statement. “Some of the more established Top 250 brands were affected by the recession and may now be experiencing a somewhat slower pace than prior to the recession. Others, however, are enjoying tremendous gains as they tap into various consumer trends.”
The leading spirits brands reflect dichotomies in both flavor preferences and spending among U.S. consumers.
“Among the fastest-growing spirits brands, we see a definitive shift toward sweet and also spicy flavors, with flavored vodka, rum and whiskey products gaining steam,” said Donna Hood Crecca, senior director of Technomic’s Adult Beverage Resource Group, in a statement. “This is a change from the savory flavor profiles that had been popular in recent years. Also, the emergence of innovative value-priced products, particularly in vodka, is occurring alongside continued growth of several established premium- and ultra-premium priced brands.”
The largest brands of 2010, which include Smirnoff, Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Jack Daniel’s and Absolut, maintained their positions in 2011. On a category basis, vodka dominates the list followed by cordials and liqueurs, rum and whiskey.
Smaller brands grew swiftly in 2011 with the final 50 brands achieving 6.5 percent volume growth overall, according to Technomic.
“What’s more, the expansion among brands not included in the Top 250 list outpaced that of these leading brands,” Crecca said. “These include small artisanal brands, new line extensions and product launches that have ramped up following the recession.”