Brown-Forman sees GTR sales soar 43% in FY23 as total sales hit US$4.2bn

By Kristiane Sherry |

Brown-Forman’s Jack Daniel’s brand saw 11% sales gains.

Louisville-based drinks group Brown-Forman saw its full-year sales climb 10% to US$4,228 billion, with its performance in the global travel retail channel soaring by 43%.

Despite the gains, reported operating income fell 6%  on a reported basis (all other change organic) to $1.1 billion as margins fell, expenses climbed, and with the acquisitions of Diplomático and Gin Mare. Earnings per share fell by 7% to $1.63. 

The strong travel retail rebound was driven by strong consumer demand and a favourable price mix, the company said.

Jack Daniel’s was a stand-out brand in the channel, although higher volumes across the Brown-Forman portfolio were noted. 

Geographic performance

Every region saw sales growth over the year, with the Emerging Markets division soaring by 24%. 

The United Arab Emirates, Brazil and Mexico all received call-outs, with the latter seeing growth driven by the New Mix RTD (ready to drink).

Brown-Forman saw net sales climb 10% over its 2023 financial year

Trends began to normalise in the US, which posted 3% growth driven by Woodford Reserve and the Jack Daniel’s family of brands. 

Developed International Markets saw sales climb 10%, with growth led by Germany, Japan, Italy and Belgium. 

Woodford Reserve stand-out brand

American whiskey brand Woodford Reserve saw “very strong” growth over the year, posting 27% gains and leading the Brown-Forman portfolio performance.

Jack Daniel’s whiskey sales climbed 8%, while the brand’s RTD formats soared by 11%. 

Elsewhere, Brown-Forman’s Tequila category grew by 10%, with El Jimador up 14% on US and Emerging Market sales, and Herradura gaining 10% on its performance in Mexico. 

Looking forward, the company said it is “optimistic” about its 2024 prospects. It forecasts 5-7% net sales growth as trends “normalise” after two years of double-digit increases. 

“In fiscal 2023, Brown-Forman continued its tradition of delivering strong organic top and bottom line growth,” said Lawson Whiting, Brown-Forman’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Brown-Forman’s CEO Lawson Whiting said he believes the business can continue to deliver growth.

“We were able to build on last year’s double-digit organic net sales growth by continuing the premiumisation of our portfolio, investing boldly in our brands, building new strategic relationships, developing and supporting our talented people, and honouring our values. 

“As we turn our focus to fiscal 2024, I believe we can grow on this elevated foundation and continue to deliver Nothing Better in the Market.”

Brown-Forman also announced this week that it plans to take its Japanese distribution business in-house from April 2024, parting ways with in-market partner Asahi.

Last month, David Rodiek, Brown-Forman’s VP, Managing Director Global Travel Retail, told TRBusiness how the company is focusing on growing its super premium whiskey portfolio in Asia and beyond.

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