Majority of Craft Distillers Report 10%-20% Growth in 2015

FILED OCTOBER 19, 2015

If you know where to look, it is fairly easy to find data on how the craft spirits category as a whole has grown and gained shared over the last couple of years [see WSD 03-24-2015]. But WSD is taking things a few steps further in initiating our first craft distiller survey to gain insight into the strategies they are relying on for growth, the average amount spent on expansion this year and how quickly they are increasing their national footprints, among other things.

So far we've surveyed more than 20 craft distilleries, with 70% of distilleries surveyed in the 0-10,000 case range and the rest in the 10,000-20,000 case range. And yes, we measured by 12-pack cases.

Not one craft distiller reported a decrease in sales and the vast majority of craft distillers are growing in the double digit range, with only one participant claiming less than 10% growth.

--33% claimed 10%-20% growth in 2015
--28% claimed 80%-100%
--17% claimed 20%-40%
--11% claimed 40%-60%
--5.5% claimed 60%-80%
-- 5.5% claimed 0%-10%

When asked to share their view of the 2015 year, a few of the examples we got included:

"Interesting year so far, our growth overall has been based on one brand's growth even though our portfolio is fairly large and comprehensive."

"It has been a very good year. Trying to produce enough and keep my head above water level without running short of product."

"Extreme growth for us. Well established craft distilleries are seeing a big growth curve now. Ones starting out are not."

The surveys collected thus far have been very informative, but we would still like to have a larger sample group. We will keep the survey open until the end of the month, so those of you who fit the craft description, please take a few minutes to fill it out or pass it on.

BALLAST POINT TAKES FIRST STEP TO FILE IPO

San Diego-based Ballast Point brewery and distillery has filed an S-1 -- the first step in filing an IPO -- with the Securities and Exchange Commission today, per our sister publication Craft Business Daily.

The company is reportedly pursuing the IPO to provide greater financial flexibility in the future, though the filing has been structured to make sure founder Jack White stays in control.

Filing an S-1 doesn't ensure they'll go public, it's just the first step, now the SEC has to review the filing and respond. If everything proceeds as planned, they could go public in November.

Ballast Point's spirits lineup include: Three Sheets rum, Old Grove gin, Fugu vodka, Devil's Share single malt whiskey and Opah herbal liqueur.

WSD BRIEFS:

STOLI GETS PACKAGE REVAMP. Stoli Group has unveiled a new bottle design for its flagship Stolichnaya vodka. The new design will be applied across the assortment and include: a slightly taller and "more elegant" bottle shape, a capsule with anti-counterfeit and anti-refill technology, a revised front and back label, and an upgrade of the main Stolichnaya logo.

TWO NEW DISTILLERIES ADDED TO KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL. The Kentucky Distiller's Association has added the Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. in Louisville and Hartfield & Co. Distillery in Paris to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, making a total of 10 on the tour. These two distilleries join Bulleit and Evan Williams in Louisville, Four Roses and Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg, Heaven Hill in Bardstown, Jim Beam in Clermont, Maker's Mark in Loretto, Town Branch in Lexington and Woodford Reserve in Versailles. The tour was founded in 2012 as an educational experience for patrons. "Craft distilleries are a thriving part of our signature industry and are increasingly vital to the future of our iconic spirit," says KDA president Eric Gregory.

CATOCTIN CREEK RELEASES RABBLE ROUSER STRAIGHT RYE WHISKY. Rabble Rouser is 100% rye, single barrel, aged in Minnesota white oak barrel for four years, making it Catoctin Creek's oldest whisky yet. The whisky is bottled at 50% abv and will be released at the Purcellville distillery on November 1 for the general public. It will then be released into the Virginia, Maryland, DC and New York markets at a suggested retail price of $62 a 750 ml.

Until tomorrow,
Emily

"What worries you, masters you." -- John Locke

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