Knob Creek bourbon has reverted back to the nine-year age statement on its bottles, updated its label design, and started selling 12- and 15-year-old versions of its whiskey in the past three years. With the changes to the bottle, prices have increased from $25-$50 to almost $200 depending on what year.
Beam Suntory’s shifted its strategy to move into premium spirits. The move has paid off for the company, which has seen sales increase by 11% in 2021. And because customers are paying more for their spirits, they are less sensitive to price increases to offset inflation.
In the United States, the company’s sales in 2021 grew at high digits, fueled by demand for its premium spirits. The company also said wholesale-to-retail sales, which indicates real-time consumer demand, grew by double digits during the year.
Worldwide, Beam Suntory sales increased 11% in 2021 over the prior-year period and on a two-year basis. Because the company is privately held, it is not required to disclose its financial results like many of its publicly traded competitors.
By comparison, rival Diageo reported organic sales growth of 20% for the first half of its fiscal year 2022 compared to the year-ago period.
Despite its strong business performance, Beam Suntory has not been immune to many of the challenges facing the broader spirits industry. Sales in Japan increased by an average figure, but government restrictions weighed on demand. Glass supply constraints have adversely affected the supply of certain sizes of Jim Beam bottles. And inflation reduces profits.
Last year, industry-wide, sales of pre-mixed cocktails grew the fastest of any spirits category, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.