Business

First half of year dips for Beam Suntory despite some strong sales

Beam Suntory reported sales were knocked by adverse exchange rates in the first six months of 2016.
Beam Suntory reported sales were knocked by adverse exchange rates in the first six months of 2016. Beam Suntory

Beam Suntory reported mid-year figures with sales for the alcoholic beverages division down almost two percent to $4.55 billion, despite mid-single-digit growth for top brands in the U.S. including Kentucky-made Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Basil Hayden’s and more.

Results benefited from broad-based geographic growth, sustained premiumization, and strong gains for brands including Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Teacher’s, Courvoisier and Hornitos, the company said Friday. Sales growth in Beam Suntory’s Americas region was led by mid-single-digit growth in the U.S. Results were driven by growth for the company’s leading bourbon brands, Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark. Trends were also favorable for the Jim Beam Apple line extension, the company said.

Senior managing director Shinichiro Hizuka attributed the dip in overall sales to the impact of foreign currency exchanges. Without that, sales were up 1.4 percent, he said, and organic net sales were up with strong performance overall.

According to the company, global sales of the core product Jim Beam had mid-single-digit growth while sales of premium bourbons such as Maker’s Mark were “strong.” Sales in Japan of whiskey were up 6 percent and ready-to-drink cocktail products were up 14 percent, the company said, with canned highballs hitting 30 percent sales growth.

“We aggressively expanded sales of Jim Beam Highball, and the number of outlets handling the product grew by 10,000 from the end of the previous fiscal year to 35,000 outlets (as of the end of June),” Hizuka said in a news statement.

For the full year, Suntory reiterated a forecast that company-wide net sales will be up 1.6 percent.

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