The ongoing changing bourbon market is an exciting view of the brands, all of us see, and then based on our personal preferences, purchase. The market not only has boomed, but it has also changed significantly. Brands that were not even available in 1994 are now widespread and have achieved significant market share. We include Tennessee Whiskey in this review to get a thorough knowledge of the marketplace. To analyze the marketplace, we first looked at the sales twenty-six years ago.
In 1994, Jim Beam was the dominant American whiskey, even outselling Jack Daniels by a little less than a full percentage point. Early Times, Ancient Age, Old Crow, and even Ten High had a substantial market share. Here is a view of sales by brand:
|All other brands||27.7%|
Fast forward to 2019, and you see a dramatically different picture. The most notable change is that the other brand’s percentage has increased to 29.3%. The percentage change is an immediate acknowledgment of the increase in the number of brands that have entered the market. Jack Daniels’s percentage has stayed steady at 22.2%, while Jim Beam has dropped to 17.6%. However, the most meaningful differences are the brand changes that have occurred within the list. Here is a review of the 2019 sales percentages.
|All other brands||29.3%|
Bulleit bourbon first began to be widely distributed in 1991. It had made a surprisingly rapid market impact in a short time.
In 1996, Woodford Reserve was introduced and has made an impact and continues to grow.
Bourbons that were large sellers but considered low cost are mostly absent from the list. They include Ten High, Ancient Age, Early Times, and Old Crow. While each of these brands is still top 25 in sales, they have been trending down in popularity and, subsequently, sales.
As of 2019, here is a rundown of the top 25 sales leaders by brand and the company that owns them.
|1||Jack Daniels||Brown Forman|
|2||Jim Beam||Beam Suntory|
|3||Evan Williams||Heaven Hill|
|4||Maker’s Mark||Beam Suntory|
|6||Woodford Reserve||Brown Forman|
|7||Wild Turkey||Campari America|
|8||Knob Creek||Beam Suntory|
|9||Early Times||Brown Forman|
|10||Gentleman Jack||Brown Forman|
|12||Basil Hayden’s||Beam Suntory|
|14||Old Crow||Beam Suntory|
|16||Old Forester||Brown Forman|
|18||Heaven Hill||Haven Hill Brands|
|20||Elijah Craig||Heaven Hill Brands|
|21||George Dickel||Diageo N.A.|
|25||Larceny||Heaven Hill Brands|
Effect of Covid 19
Despite the ongoing pandemic, whiskey sales have continued to grow. There has been a popular trend to purchase established brands such as Jack Daniels and Jim Beam. However, there are also meaningful sales in the premium category. Bottles that retail for more than forty dollars are seeing substantial sales numbers. Please note that the brand Early Times has been sold by Brown Forman to the Sazerac Company.
The changing bourbon market will continue to evolve as new brands enter the market and historic brands such as Old Tub by Beam Suntory return. It will be interesting to watch for the next 20 years!