Diageo's renewed focus on its Don Julio Tequila brand in the US is producing solid growth in the on-trade, with opportunities to expand further, according to latest figures.

The group's sole Tequila brand has seen volumes in US bars and restauants rise 8% in the calendar year-to-date, tracking firm GuestMetrics said earlier this week. In Q3, sales volumes rose by 15% on the corresponding period a year earlier, off the back of 8% growth in Q2 and 2% growth in the first quarter.

During Q2, Don Julio registered the fifth-largest share gain across the whole spirits category in the US, behind Sazerac's Fireball, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Pernod Ricard's Jameson and Beam Inc's Makers Mark, the figures reveal.

The brand is also seeing mid-teen growth in the US off-trade.

Diageo gave up the sales, marketing and distrbution rights to Jose Cuervo in July after talks with its owners, the Beckmann family, collapsed late last year. Proximo Spirits now handles Jose Cuervo in North America

“Diageo has stated Tequila remains a strategic priority since the departure of Jose Cuervo from its portfolio a few months back, and the strong performance of Don Julio indicates the renewed focus on the category is yielding results,” said Bill Pecoriello, GuestMetrics' CEO. 

The company's data shows that Don Julio is being stocked by 51% of fine dining restaurants, 42% of bars and clubs, and 34% of casual dining restaurants in the US. 

“Given casual dining restaurants make up nearly 70% of the on-premise universe, this would seem to be further evidence that Don Julio could have a long runway for future growth,” added Brian Barrett, president of GuestMetrics. 

In August, Diageo said its Tequila brand is well-placed to take advantage of the lifting of China's ban on high-methanol Tequila