Brown-Forman CEO Paul Varga said Wednesday that the company aspires to grow Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, the Herradura tequila family and other major labels into billion-dollar brands.
"Because Jack Daniel's has become so big, the bar for everything else at Brown-Forman has gone up," Varga told shareholders at the annual meeting. "These brands could become this kind of valuable."
Brown-Forman is investing about $80 million in Woodford Reserve and Old Forester to increase distilling and warehouse capacity. Despite its current dominance, Jack Daniel's has room to grow, he said.
He compared it to Diageo's Johnnie Walker, the biggest-selling major whiskey label in the world. In 2014, Johnnie Walker had 66 percent of its sales in emerging markets, while only 19 percent of Jack Daniel's sales came from countries besides Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Western Europe and the U.S. markets.
In terms of portfolio development, Varga said that line extensions accounted for 42 percent of the Johnnie Walker sales but only 14 percent of Jack Daniel's, which has developed Tennessee Honey into a major stand-alone brand.