The popularity of Jack Daniel's whiskey is rising. According to new YouGov polling data, one-quarter of U.S. men have it on their consideration list for the next time they buy liquor. That puts it at the top of the heap.
That's not surprising, as the Brown-Forman (NYSE:BF.A) (NYSE:BF.B) Tennessee whiskey is by far the most popular spirit and whiskey on the market, but it is also a big leap from last year, when only 20% of men said they would consider buying a bottle.
The whiskey market has seen eight straight years of market share gains and 2018 is likely to be the ninth consecutive year of growth. Beer may still be the all-around most popular alcoholic beverage, but the Distilled Spirits Council says whiskey, and in particular American whiskey like Jack Daniel's, has been enjoying some of the strongest growth rates of any spirit. Last year over 23 million 9-liter cases of American whiskey were sold in the U.S., generating some $3.4 billion in revenue for distillers.
Much of the growth has been fed by the premiumization trend, with high-end premium brands seeing 46% revenue growth over the past five years (through 2017) and super-premium brands witnessing a gain of 148%.
Brown-Forman reported its fiscal 2019 second-quarter earnings last week and noted that while the Jack Daniel's family of American whiskey grew underlying net sales by 5% globally for the period, its super-premium brands, including Jack Daniel's Single Barrel and Gentleman Jack, saw underlying net sales surge 19% from last year.
The YouGov survey also reported higher interest in Diageo's (NYSE:DEO) blended Canadian whisky, Crown Royal, reporting that 19% of men were considering purchasing a bottle.
Diageo, the world's largest distiller, reported Crown Royal's organic net sales rose 5% in fiscal 2018, and in line with premiumization, its Bulleit bourbon continued to notch double-digit growth, with sales up 10% from the prior year.
Jim Beam bourbon is another American whiskey men are willing to consider this holiday season, as 14% of those surveyed by YouGov said it would be on their consideration list. It also happens to be the eighth-most-popular spirit and the third-most-popular whiskey behind Jack Daniel's and Crown Royal.
A feminine touch
Although the YouGov poll asked men what they thought, women are the fastest-growing demographic pushing whiskey sales higher. Earlier this year, Diageo launched its Jane Walker brand, an offshoot of the world's best-selling Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky. Beam Suntory has also prominently featured actress Mila Kunis in its Jim Beam advertising. Beer and wine might still be the preferred adult beverages for women, but whiskey was the drink of choice for more than a quarter of them.
This latest polling data suggest that distillers such as Brown-Forman and Diageo may be having an especially merry Christmas this year.