Brown-Forman’s partnership with The Coca-Cola Company to distribute Jack & Coke RTDs globally is proving to be a sales winner for the two drinks companies.
They took a “test-and-learn approach” for the initial launch, applying lessons from a single-country rollout in Mexico to a global scaling strategy that will bring the product to 13 countries in 12 months.
“This launch in the US is a milestone moment for both Coca‑Cola and Jack Daniel’s – it follows how people have enjoyed the pairing of these two iconic brands for generations and demonstrates our commitment to innovation from the simple to the complex,” said Dan White, Chief of New Revenue Streams for The Coca‑Cola Company.
“We are really excited about this classic cocktail being offered in a new way through our relationship with Jack Daniel’s.”
In FY23 the Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola RTD launched in nine markets: Mexico, the United States, Japan, the Philippines, the UK, Poland, Hungary, the Netherlands and Ireland.
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Leanne Cunningham told analysts last week: “Innovation contributed significantly to US growth [during FY23] with the launch of Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola RTD, which was the second largest growth driver.
“While consumer demand for our brands begins to reflect a normalization back to our more historic trends, we expect to continue to benefit from our long-term pricing and revenue growth management strategies partially offset by a portfolio mix shift to RTDs, largely related to the launch of Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola RTD.”
President and CEO Lawson Whiting said early results from the markets were very positive regarding Jack & Coke.
“In the US, Jack & Coke is taking share across the category,” he said. “Our distributors are meeting distribution expectations and we are seeing stronger-than-expected reorder rates. Jack & Coke Zero has also outperformed our initial plans.
“In our European markets, we are exceeding our launch expectations. Specifically in the UK, the rate of sale for Jack & Coke is already matching Jack & Cola. And just a couple of weeks ago, the Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola RTD begin appearing on the biggest advertising site in Europe at Piccadilly Circus.
“The buzz and enthusiasm for the product is certainly high and growing. Globally, we exceeded one billion consumer impressions before any paid media ever aired.
“The potential growth of this product is exciting, but RTDs also serve as a consumer recruitment vehicle. They bring new consumers of legal drinking age into the Jack Daniel’s family, which we believe we have a positive impact on the full strength family of brands. We will continue the product launch in additional markets around the globe throughout the 2023 calendar year and I look forward to continuing to provide updates on the growth of this iconic product.”
While Whiting didn’t give specifics on when Jack & Coke would be launching in other markets, the Jack Daniel’s website has announced Jack & Coke is officially arriving in Australia in 2024.
Jack Daniel’s a juggernaut for Brown-Forman
Last week, Brown-Forman reported its financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended April 30, 2023. For the fourth quarter, reported net sales increased 5% to $1 billion.
Whiting said the result was driven by higher prices across much of the portfolio, but was led by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, partially offset by a portfolio shift toward ready-to-drink brands.
“The brand had another remarkable year and increased organic net sales by 8%,” he said. “This growth is particularly impressive given that the brand is over 15 million 9-litre cases and delivered a 23% organic net sales increase in the last fiscal year. It’s often easy to lose sight of the size and scale of this brand when speaking in quarterly results, but it is indeed an impressive brand with massive appeal around the globe.
Whiting said premiumisation was reaping benefits for the brand.
“We were very excited this year when our Jack Daniel’s bonded Tennessee Whiskey was named the 2022 Whiskey of the Year by Whiskey Advocate Magazine,” he said.
“It’s a great complement when Jack Daniel’s authenticity, craftsmanship and quality is recognised with such a coveted award. These brands, along with our specialty launches such as Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel special release heritage barrel and Jack Daniel’s 10 and now 12-year-old Tennessee Whiskey enable us to premiumise the Jack Daniel’s family of brands, continue to highlight our whiskey credentials and give both long time and new friends of Jack Daniel’s the opportunity to explore and discover within the Jack Daniel’s family.
“While we are always happy to add whiskey accolades to our trophy case, Jack Daniel’s is now part of the race for another type of trophy, the FIA Formula One World Driver’s Championship Trophy. As you may recall, in September, Jack Daniel’s became an official global sponsor of McLaren Racing, a British Formula One racing team, counting more than 1 billion fans worldwide, viewership for Formula One racing is growing at the fastest rate of any major global sport. The majority of the sports growth comes from the next generation of fans providing a powerful opportunity to reach legal drinking age consumers and expand Jack Daniel’s relevance and pop culture. With races on most continents, this relationship provides a powerful opportunity to engage a truly global fan base.”
Another one of the strongest performers in the Brown-Forman portfolio was Woodford Reserve.
“Since its founding more than a quarter century ago, Woodford Reserve has grown volume at a double-digit compound annual growth rate,” Whiting said.
“This trend continued in fiscal 2023 as consumer demand remained very strong and organic net sales grew 27%, making Woodford Reserve our second largest contributor to the company’s growth. The brand continues to grow in the US and is being discovered internationally as we continue to position this brand for future growth.
Whiting said he also wanted to acknowledge the continued strength of tequila, which remains one of the fastest-growing spirits categories, particularly at the premium plus price points.