BY THE WAY

Getting Into Growth Mode

There’s a certain amount of uncertainty in the air about war and terrorism, about the stock market, about the economy in general. There’s also some good economic news, at least when it comes to the beverage alcohol business.

According to Adams Handbook Advance 2003, last year there were consumption gains made for spirits (+1.8% in fifth consecutive year of growth), wine (+3.3% in ninth consecutive year of growth) and beer (+1.8% in seventh consecutive year of growth).

Growth is what drives the industry forward and it’s always gratifying to see expansion of the different beverage alcohol segments or different categories. But the excitement in this business has always been more about brands than categories. With that in mind, more than a decade ago we created the Growth Brand Awards, designed to recognize the performance of those brands of spirits, wine and beer that were keeping the business moving in the right direction. When we first started the program, it was a little more difficult to identify brands that showed significant and continued growth.

In this issue we identify 2003 distilled spirits and wine brands meeting the various criteria to be awarded 2003 Growth Brand status. Complete details on what objective benchmarks the brands had to reach to qualify for this honor can be found in the Growth Brand cover story, which begins on page 14. The point I want to make here is that this is the largest group of spirits and wine brands that have ever made the grade. There are eight distilled spirits listed on the Fast Track and eight more identified as Rising Stars while the respective numbers for wine in these two categories are 14 and 13. The brands in these two growth categories are in the early stages of development or, with a few exceptions, have been on the market for less than 10 years.

Equally impressive has been the number of brands that qualified as Established Growth Brands (35 spirits and 40 wines) and Comeback Brands (16 spirits and 40 wines). Seeing growth develop not just among what’s new and trendy but also among some of the industry’s oldest and most respected brands is an important indicator that the beverage alcohol industry is in relatively good health.

Beer Growth Brands will be identified later in the year and highlighted in the September/October issue of this magazine.

Cheers,

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