Gruppo Campari, the Italian parent of Kentucky-based Wild Turkey bourbon, reported this week that first-quarter profits fell by 47.4 percent, to about $28.3 million, with sales dropping 8.4 percent to about $394.3 million.
CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz blamed the slump on weak sales in March after two strong months.
"Specifically, the end of the quarter was affected by a slowdown in Russia due to a less dynamic market and tightened credit control, shipment phasing in the U.S., and the late Easter, which resulted in shifting key promotional programs, and thus shipments, into the second quarter in most European markets," he said in a news release announcing the results Tuesday. He highlighted better performance in sales of aperitifs and Skyy vodka, which is bottled in Kentucky. Sales of Wild Turkey dropped 6.5 percent because of weaker sales in Australia.
"Going forward, whilst the political and macroeconomic context and (foreign exchange) outlook remain challenging for the remainder of the year, we expect our marketing initiatives to bear their fruits and continue to gradually strengthen the underlying business," Kunze-Concewitz said.
During the quarter, Campari celebrated the opening of Wild Turkey's new visitor center in Lawrenceburg. The company also bought Forty Creek Distillery in Ontario for $167 million.
Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl.