U.S. Spirits Sales: Happy Days Are Here Again
Diageo PLC's 5% North American sales gain in 2011's second half reflects Americans' return to opting for expensive cocktails over beer, reports The Wall Street Journal.
While Diageo's N.A. spirits volume was flat, net sales rose 3%, to $2.97 billion -- suggesting consumers trading up and/or accepting higher liquor prices. Also, U.S. sales of "ultra premium" brands uptrending. Ciroc's up 48% in period, while Johnnie Walker's blue and gold labels drove 18% sales gain.
Diageo, world's largest liquor producer, accounts for 28% of all spirits sold in the U.S., and the U.S. represents about a third of its total sales. (Globally, Diageo's sales jumped by 8%, although net profit fell 20% due to a noncash write-down.)
Diageo upped N.A. marketing spend by 7% in the second half. to £290 million, for campaigns including Captain Morgan's "To life, love and loot" and Tanqueray's "Tonight, we Tanqueray."
In January, U.S. spirits association DISCUS reported that total 2011 U.S. liquor sales rose 4%, to $19.9 billion, and volume grew by 2.7%.