A Winning Formula: The 2015 Growth Brand Wine and Spirit Awards

Each year, dozens (if not hundreds) of new brands join the wine and spirit industries – fighting for market share and consumers’ attention. What propels some brands on a path to growth, while others are destined to be forgotten? Quality product, brand awareness, consumer perception, advertising, promotions, merchandising, event marketing and countless other factors come into play (not to mention luck). Only the most successful brands strike the right balance at the right time, rising above the competition.

Since growth comes in many forms, the awards for both wines and spirits are split into four categories: Rising Star, Fast Track, Established Growth and Comeback Brand. Rising Stars are new brands that show great potential. Fast Track brands have grown steadily and are on the way to becoming category leaders. Established Growth winners are top-selling brands with a proven track record. And lastly, comeback brands are past winners that saw a temporary decrease in sales, but have since rebounded to at least their prior level.

We asked the 163 Growth Brand winners what it took to build their brand, how they grew sales in 2014 and what they’re planning to sustain the momentum in 2015. Their answers provide insight into the resolve it takes to become a category leader in the beverage alcohol industry, and the determination required to stay on top year after year.

StateWays congratulates this year’s Growth Brand winners for their achievement. These 90 wine brands and 73 spirit brands are lighting the way, leading the industry to continued growth and success.

“Although the growth brands accounted for roughly one-third of wine and spirit industry sales last year, they accounted for more than three-quarters of the industries’ growth,” says Adam Rogers, Manager of Information Services for the Beverage Information & Insights Group. “The Growth Brands are what propels these industries forward. Recognizing them as winners is essential and they deserve to be honored.”


Selecting the Winners


The Beverage Information & Insights Group used the following criteria to select this year’s Growth Brand winners, based on brands’ projected case sales for the 2014 calendar year:

  • Fast Track Brands must have exceeded 100,000 nine-liter cases, with double-digit growth in each of the last four years. All Fast Track Brands must also be at least five years old.
  • Rising Star Brands must be less than five full years old and have exhibited notable growth in the past few years, reaching at least 20,000 nine-liter cases in 2014.
  • Established Growth Brands must be a top seller in their category, moving a minimum of 400,000 nine-liter cases annually. They must also have grown moderately or substantially in each of the past four years.
  • Comeback Growth Brands include previous winners that have rebounded in sales to at least their previous level, following a recent decline.


Class of 2015


The winners of this year’s Growth Brand Awards include 90 wine brands and 73 spirit brands, representing more than 60 different suppliers. Among the highlights from this year’s class:

Top-selling spirit winners

  • Svedka, 4.08m cases
  • Jim Beam, 4.07m cases
  • Fireball, 3.90m cases

Top-selling wine winners

  • Barefoot Cellars, 16.42m cases
  • Woodbridge, 9.15m cases
  • Black Box, 4.02m cases

Suppliers with the most winning brands

  • E. & J. Gallo Winery, 17
  • Constellation Brands, 15
  • Diageo, 9
  • Heaven Hill, 8

A dozen winning brands didn’t register any sales in 2013, rising to more than 20,000 cases sold in less than a full year.


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