Business

Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark boost parent Suntory’s year-to-date sales growth

Suntory on Thursday reported mid-single digit sales increases for its alcoholic beverages division for the first nine months of the year. Strong growth for Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and other super-premium brands drove growth in the U.S. and overseas.
Suntory on Thursday reported mid-single digit sales increases for its alcoholic beverages division for the first nine months of the year. Strong growth for Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and other super-premium brands drove growth in the U.S. and overseas. Photo provided

Suntory, parent company of Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark, released third-quarter financial results Thursday indicating broad-based growth internationally for its alcoholic beverages segment, the company said.

Despite mid-single digit gains for the year-to-date, the overall Suntory alcoholic beverages segment saw sales decline about 3.5 percent in the first nine months, the company said. But operating income for the segment rose 26.1 percent as premium brands showed gains.

Premium and super-premium spirits had the strongest sales growth, led by Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Basil Hayden’s bourbons, Laphroaig Scotch, Courvoisier cognac, Hornitos tequila and Effen vodka, the company said.

Suntory said that core brand Jim Beam and offshoot Jim Beam Apple have seen sustained gains while Maker’s Mark and other super-premium brands also fueled growth in the U.S. There also were strong international gains, too, in Australia, Spain, Russia and India.

To accommodate further growth, Beam Suntory on Friday opened its first new barrel warehouse in Frankfort since 1968. The seven-story warehouse will be the largest of the company’s 112 in Kentucky, with room for more than 59,000 barrels.

Suntory highlighted growth in Japan, where the company has seen 3 percent year-over-year sales growth. Japan is now the fastest-growing market for Jim Beam products, which has seen 44 percent growth year to date.

However, the company reported that foreign exchange rates hurt overall wine sales and beer sales were down slightly, pulling down net sales for its alcoholic beverages segment 3.5 percent year over year, to $6.9 billion. Operating income rose 26.1 percent to $580 billion year over year.

Suntory reported company-wide net sales for the first nine months of $19 billion, essentially flat year over year compared to the same period of 2015. Suntory forecast full-year company-wide net sales of $30 billion, up 1.6 percent over 2015.

Janet Patton: 859-231-3264, @janetpattonhl.

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