Increased sales of Ready-To-Drink (RTD) beverages, along with premium spirit brands, helped boost sales at Jack Daniel's parent Brown-Forman in its most recent fiscal year, the company has said.
Announcing its fourth quarter and full-year results, the drinks company said that reported net sales of $812 million (€667 million) in the fourth quarter were 14% higher (+19% on an underlying basis) than the prior-year period, while for the full year, reported net sales were up 3% (+6% on an underlying basis) to $3.5 billion (€2.9 billion).
This is testament to the "resilience of our strategy and our people, and the strength of our portfolio and our brands," in spite of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, chief executive Lawson Whiting commented.
The group had previously forecast an 'uncertain' year ahead, in its nine-month update.
For the full-year, the group's core Jack Daniel's portfolio of brands saw underlying net sales up 4% for the full year, with the group saying that this was primarily driven by ready-to-drink beverages, which gained in popularity due to the at-home consumption trend during the pandemic, as well as the international launch of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple.
Some 12 million nine-litre cases of Jack Daniel's RTDs were sold during the period, along with three million nine-litre cases of Jack Daniel's flavours
The group's premium bourbons also contributed to sales growth, with Woodford Reserve and Old Forester maintaining strong double-digit growth, the group said. Double-digit underlying sales growth was also seen at its el Jimador and Herradura tequila brands in the United States.
" In an unprecedented and complex environment, we delivered underlying net sales growth consistent with our long-term expectations," Whiting commented.
"I am proud of this performance, and the work we did throughout the year to advance our commitments to environmental sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and community outreach. We place great care and focus on being strong stewards of our culture, our brands, and our communities, and it is evident in this fiscal year’s results.”
In terms of the performance of the group internationally, developed international markets reported double-digit underlying net sales growth, largely driven by Australia, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, it said.
This was partially offset by on-trade declines in markets that are heavily reliant on tourism, such as Spain and Czechia, it noted.
In terms of emerging markets, underlying net sales were up by mid-single digits, boosted by volume gains in Brazil, Mexico, China and Poland, again partially offset by declines in tourism.
Looking ahead, the group said that it was 'optimistic' for the coming year, given the ongoing improvements in the operating environment.
“We remain confident in the collective strength of our markets and should benefit from the re-opening of the on-premise channel and increase in tourism. Additionally, our portfolio remains well positioned to capitalise on the continuing spirits premiumisation trend," commented Jane Morreau, chief financial officer.
"For fiscal 2022, we anticipate mid-single digit growth in underlying net sales and operating income.”
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